The best infant life jacket lets your baby play and keeps you care-free! On a hot summer day, there is nothing more satisfying than finding any activity near water. If you have kids, it is even better, as they will surely love playing out near water. However, taking care of small children is also demanding because you have to make sure they’re safe.
If you look at our infant life jacket reviews, you will see some of the many models that are available for you to choose from. If you are unsure of what you should choose, our buying guide and other additional information will allow you to make the best decision for your needs.
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How Do Infant Life Jackets Protect Your Child?
There are various ways in which a life jacket protects its wearer. First of all, it provides buoyancy because they are filled with foam, usually, which displaces large amounts of water in relation to its weight and size, being able to keep the wearer afloat.
Some models are specifically designed to flip the wearer on his or her back so that the face is above water. This feature is extremely useful for infants and for those who practice dangerous water sports.
Moreover, most approved life jackets for children are equipped with a crotch strap that ensures the vest will not come off in case the baby falls in the water.
Regardless of the model you select, life jackets usually feature very bright colors. This makes the wearer more visible and easy to find in case of an accident. We recommend that you go for colors like orange, yellow, and red.
Best Infant Life Jackets Comparison Chart
Stearns Classic Series Infant Vest
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O’Neill Wake Waterski Infant USCG Vest
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Full Throttle Infant Baby-Safe Vest
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Stearns Heads-Up Infant Life Vest
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O’Neill Infant Superlite USCG Life Vest
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Salus Bijoux Baby Vest: Flotation Jacket for Infants 9-25 lbs
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Airhead Infant’s General Purpose Life Vest
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CWB Connelly Baby-Soft Infant Life Vest, Red
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Best Infant Life Jackets Reviews
1. Stearns Classic Series Infant Vest
This manufacturer is well-known for producing quality PFDs, and this model is no exception. It is a life jacket for babies up to 30 pounds. It is made of a quality nylon shell and PE flotation foam. Moreover, the Stearns Classic Series Infant Vest is equipped with secure one-inch webbed straps as well as an open-sided vest design.
For a comfortable fit, the leg strap and chest belt are fully-adjustable. At the same time, the rescue handle on the collar allows easy retrieval from the water. For small infants, this jacket might be a bit bulky but if you properly adjust it your baby will be snugged securely.
You should also know that this model is certified by the United States Coast Guard which means that it is a safe option for your child. Thanks to the red color, it is very visible, which means you can easily spot your child in the water.
- This jacket is a great option for swimming, boating, and tubing
- The buckles are easy to close and release, as well as to adjust
- This model has quite an affordable price
- It may be a bit uncomfortable for infants who wear the jacket the first few times
2. O’Neill Wake Waterski Infant USCG Vest
This is another great option for smaller infants. It is a US Coast Guard-approved Type II Personal Flotation Device. The O’Neill Wake Waterski Infant USCG Vest may be a bit bulky, but it provides great neck and head support offering a really secure fit.
For increased security, the life jacket is equipped with two waist buckles and an adjustable crotch strap. With this PFD, you can take your baby to the pool with no issues. Moreover, there are various color combination colors to choose from so you can surely find one that your child will also like.
The product is made from a comfortable nylon shell over a closed-cell PVC marine-foam shaped so that the wearer floats face-up. Furthermore, in case you need to quickly pull your child out of the water, the life jacket is also equipped with a sturdy grab handle.
- The vibrant colors of these jackets make the wearer more visible in the water
- It is suitable for various water activities
- The materials used for this model offer plenty of buoyancy
- It may take a bit of time for your child to get used to it
- The jacket is a bit too bulky to walk in
3. Full Throttle Infant Baby-Safe Vest
Another popular model is the Full Throttle Infant Baby-Safe Vest and you should check it out. It is designed for infants of up to 30 pounds and it is United States Coast Guard approved as a Type II Personal Flotation Device. The convenient buckle opening at the collar makes it extremely easy to put on.
Moreover, it is very comfortable thanks to the elasticized leg strap that prevents the jacket from riding up or coming off while in the water. The oversized collar offers increased head support as well as safety.
Furthermore, the waist belt and shoulder strap are fully-adjustable for a custom, and therefore, secure fit. For easy and fast retrieval from the water, the jacket is also equipped with a convenient grab strap. This model is slightly bulkier than other products in this line but it still is a very popular choice with parents.
- Thanks to the bright orange color, the wearer is more visible in the water
- This life jacket is made with high-quality foam as well as padding
- Compared to many other items in this line, this option is quite affordable
- The material may irritate the skin of smaller infants
4. Stearns Heads-Up Infant Life Vest
Although it is not the most comfortable life jacket on the market, this option is also one of the parents’ favorite. It is US Coast Guard-approved as Type II flotation device. The Stearns Heads-Up Infant Life Vest is designed to keep your baby face up while in the water.
This is a very important feature, especially for small children who do not know how to swim. Furthermore, the jacket is equipped with two straps that go around your child’s waist which are adjustable, and a padded crotch strap that is also adjustable. All of these allow for a custom fit for your little one.
At such a young age, a grab handle is a must, and this model has not overlooked this aspect. Moreover, the bright lime green color of this infant life jacket offers your child great visibility in the water which is an important aspect.
- This is an incredibly affordable option in this line of products
- The life jacket is made of high-quality materials and it is durable
- It has a lot of safety features that will keep your baby protected
- The jacket is rather bulky and it is hard for infants to walk in it
5. O’Neill Infant Superlite USCG Life Vest
The thing that makes this life jacket different from other similar ones is the fact that it is less heavy. This Type II PFD is designed with a coated polyester shell that is filled with lightweight polyethylene foam which provides remarkable front support.
The O’Neill Infant Superlite USCG Life Vest comes with three quick-release buckles which make the jacket extremely safe but also very easy to remove. Another great thing about this flotation device is the fact that it is designed to turn infants on their backs.
Moreover, the collar folds down when it is not in use. Thanks to the sturdy grab handle, you can pull your child out of the water fast and easy. The crotch strap is adjustable and adds extra safety to the combo. This model was designed to be both comfortable for your baby and to bring peace of mind to the parents.
- The jacket is US Coast Guard approved
- The material is skin-friendly and does not cause irritations to sensitive skin
- It is very easy to use and maintain
- The jacket is a bit bulky and pushes up under the chin
- It does not offer enough freedom of movement
6. Salus Bijoux Baby Vest: Flotation Jacket for Infants 9-25 lbs
If you are looking for a life jacket your child can use from just 9 pounds, and until he or she has 25 pounds, you should take this model into consideration. It is not the weight sizing but also the design that should interest you. The jacket is very comfortable and features an adjustable mesh and webbing harness system.
The Salus Bijoux Baby Vest: Flotation Jacket for Infants 9-25 lbs features a three-piece collar design with additional buoyancy that safely and comfortably cradles your baby’s head in the collar’s center. Moreover, the Dry-Lex Aerospacer liner provides this life jacket breathability. Thanks to this feature, your child will remain cool.
There is a mesh back that allows your little one to comfortably lie back in a carrier or a blanket. Even though this life jacket is highly appreciated by many customers, you should know that it is not US Coast Guard-approved.
- This jacket won the Canadian Safe Boating Award for Best New Safety Product
- Thanks to the shoulder adjustment buckles, the access into the jacket is easy
- The item also has an easy-to-reach grab strap
- This model is pricier compared to other products in this line that are USCG approved
7. Airhead Infant’s General Purpose Life Vest
The Airhead Infant’s General Purpose Life Vest is designed for babies of up to 30 pounds. This model is made of UV-resistant soft polyester for the shell of the item and lightweight foam. This foam provides plenty of buoyancy so that your child can stay afloat face up while in the water. The sturdy grab handle allows you to easily pull your child out of the water.
The materials are high-quality and offer this jacket a long lifespan. The floating device offers a secure fit provided by three quick-release adjustable buckles around your child’s waist. There is also a crotch strap included so that the jacket will not slip off of your child.
The product also includes an oversized headrest in its design that protects the neck as well as the head of your baby. You have two color combination options, yellow and blue, and yellow and red.
- The materials used are high-quality and offer this jacket durability
- It is US Coast Guard approved as a Type II Personal Flotation Device
- The vibrant yellow color makes the wearer extremely visible
- The design is a bit bulky and might restrict your child’s movements
8. CWB Connelly Baby-Soft Infant Life Vest, Red
The CWB Connelly Baby-Soft Infant Life Vest, Red is a PFD designed for infants of up to 30 pounds. Its construction includes a collar with grab strap as well as a crotch strap made of elasticized fabric. Your baby will feel comfortable wearing the jacket because it is made of very soft nylon that is also skin-friendly.
You will probably also like the style of this product that is quite different from your standard life vest. Still, the head is not so well-supported if you compare it to other products from this category.
What is more, the jacket is red which makes it very visible. This model is also available in blue, but we recommend staying away from these colors because they are less visible. Also, make sure that you do not leave the jacket too much in the sun, of the printing will get damaged.
- This model is US Coast Guard approved as a Type II PFD
- It is equipped with adjustable straps and quick-release buckles
- Compared to other options in this category, this life jacket is quite affordable
- Your child may feel less comfortable the first time he or she wears the life jacket
What Are Infant Life Jackets?
An infant life jacket is a Personal Flotation Device or a PDF is one of the most important pieces of equipment on a boat. It is designed to assist the person who is wearing it to keep afloat in the water, whether conscious or unconscious.
Did you know that over two-thirds of all fatalities related to boating are drowning incidents? Out of these, 90% of the drowning victims were not wearing any kind of personal flotation device. You may believe that your baby does not need to wear a life jacket since you are wearing one and holding him or her.
In that case, you would be very wrong! Accidents and boat crashes can happen and if you and your child get separated, it can result in a tragic situation. Regardless of whether the law requires it or not, if you have a baby on board, he or she should wear an infant life jacket.
Which Type Of Life Jackets Are For Infants?
A PFD is also referred to as life preserver, life jacket, Mae West, life vest, cork jacket, lifesaver, flotation suit, or buoyancy aid. Most of these are actually different kinds of Personal Flotation Devices.
When it comes to various types of PFDs, we have discussed these in a recent article of ours about the best life jackets for kayaking. If you are interested to find out more, you should check it out.
If you are looking for a flotation device for your baby, Type II is what you are most likely to come across. These PFDs are meant to be used in calmer waters and also to be used when fishing or boating. They are comfortable and offer enough buoyancy.
Puddle Jumpers vs. Infant Life Jackets
Although both are Personal Flotation Devices, they are actually two different things. They look and function differently.
1. Puddle Jumpers
This piece of equipment is actually a combination of a swim vest, swim aid, and life jacket. Their design is based on the classic arm floaties that are attached to a mini vest that straps around the child’s chest in order to keep it secure.
Puddle jumpers are usually designed for small kids, somewhere in the range of 30 and 50 pounds. They are also made of comfortable materials that are meant to prevent chafing, and they are also easy to wear. These PFDs maintain both arms and chest afloat. This helps promote a natural position for swimming.
The child can slip his or her arms through the floats and then get buckled behind the back to secure the outfit. Moreover, you should know that puddle jumpers are approved by the Coast Guard, and they are also considered a Type 3 PFD.
2. Infant Life Jackets
As you know this is another Personal Flotation Device that is made of waterproof and buoyant material. Thanks to its design, the head of the wearer is kept above water. Life jackets are available in various sizes, starting from infant, toddler, child, and going all the way to youth and adults.
Life jackets are particularly important when swimming or boating in deep, open water. Also, in most states, they are required by law for kids under the age of 13 in a watercraft. You will find this piece of equipment in department stores, sporting goods but also online.
The market is very rich in this sense, so you have to be very careful about the product you select. Make sure that the model you chose is labeled as coast guard-approved. In this sense, you can check the United States Coast Guard’s pamphlet which describes each approved life jacket with various safety details and information about how it should be worn.
Infant Life Jacket Buying Guide
No matter what type of activity you perform, no matter how much fun it is, you should never forget about safety. Your safety, the safety of the people around you, especially your children. If you are getting even the best dog life jacket, you should clearly look for the best for your infant. Let us see what you should look for when searching for such a product.
1. United States Coast Guard Approval
You may find life jackets on the market that are extremely good-looking and which may seem very well-made. However, if the one you like does not have the US Coast Guard certification, you should forget about it and look for something else.
You should never compromise safety just because an item looks better. Most manufacturers know that this is a priority, so they deliver only models that have been approved by the US Coast Guard.
It is easy to check if an item is certified or not: the ones that are, have a USCG logo. Knowing that your child is wearing the right stuff will also provide more peace of mind and allow you to have a great time each time you go to the water.
2. A Perfect Fit
Now that you’ve set your eyes on a USCG-certified life jacket, you need to make sure that you get the right size. This is an extremely important detail. You know what happens if your marine stereo is smaller than it should, right? It will bounce around and get damaged very quickly.
Your child will not bounce around in a life jacket that is too big, but he or she might slip off from it which is extremely dangerous. If the jacket is too tight, your child will not be able to move naturally, and he or she will feel very uncomfortable.
Therefore, it is important to get a product that fits just right. Most life jackets are also adjustable but make sure that when you get, it is the same size your child is wearing. You should know that the weight limit is also printed on the inside of the jacket.
Many parents are tempted to buy clothing for larger children because kids grow up so fast. You should not do this when it comes to the safety of your child. The life jacket needs to meet the current needs of your baby.
3. Head Protection
Usually, a Type II life jacket should offer good head protection. There are even some models available that turn the wearer in his or her back while in the water. For an infant, this is a great feature.
Moreover, efficient head protection will keep the child’s head out of the water at all times. This characteristic is also important in the unfortunate situation of an accident when the wearer becomes unconscious. We hope you will never have to go through such an experience but it is better to be prepared.
4. Grab Handle
A grab handle is extremely useful, and all infant life jackets should be equipped with one. These handles usually come in the form of a loop that is placed beneath the head support. Basically, they look very similar to the ones you find on a normal backpack.
If you need to maneuver the jacket into any position, the grab handle allows you an instant point of contact. In fact, this is a great safety feature that has multiple uses.
A reliable infant life jacket should not constrict movement. Therefore, it should not be bulky. Some reduction in the range of your baby’s motion is to be expected but if you notice it is too much, you should search for a slimmer model.
6. Skin-friendly material
As a parent, you know very well that a baby’s skin is more sensitive than an adult’s. You need to always be very careful with what touches his or her skin. Therefore, make sure that the materials the life jacket is made of are skin-friendly and comfortable for your baby to wear.
7. Added Security
There is another feature you should look for that is important for security reasons. Some models also come with a crotch strap. This runs between the legs and the jacket cannot slip over your kid’s head.
Of course, you can test this aspect even if there is no strap by picking your child up from the life jacket’s shoulders. If it does not come up, it should be snug enough. However, a crotch strap will surely add to your peace of mind, so you should not overlook this aspect.
8. Increased Visibility
Even though all the above-mentioned aspects are more important, this feature has its importance as well. If you are planning to use the life jacket in open water, a bright-colored jacket makes the wearer much more visible.
Should any unfortunate incident happen, finding everyone involved as fast as possible can surely make a difference between life and death. We recommend looking for warm and vibrant colors such as red, yellow, or orange, and to stay away from colors such as blue, gray, or black.
FAQ About Infant Life Jackets
1. How To Size An Infant Life Jacket?
In order to make sure that you are getting the right size, there are a few simple steps you can take. First, check the label of the jacket and the sizing chart. These products are measured by the baby’s weight, and not height.
Next, inspect the quick-release buckles and make sure that they can be fastened well. However, they also need to leave your child enough space for breathing. Also, make sure that the arm openings are not too tight by pulling them gently from the top.
The last step is having your child hold his or her arms straight over their head. If the jacket rides up to the chin causing chafing, it means that it is a bit too big for your infant and should look for a smaller one.
Moreover, regardless of the unit has a front zipper or a side collar buckle, it should be put in the most natural way possible. This will be less confusing for your child and faster for you to put the jacket on him or her.
2. How To Maintain An Infant Life Jacket?
Although a life jacket is not an item that requires a lot of maintenance, there are still a few things you can do in order to keep it in good shape and expand its lifespan. For example, each time you come back to land, you should wash the jacket using clean water.
If you notice any stains, you can simply clean them off with some vinegar and clothing detergent. To do this, fill a bucket with water and the washing mixture. Then, gently brush the stained area using a sponge. When you are done, rinse it with clean water. Always allow the jacket to air dry, and do not use a hairdryer or a drying rack.
Another thing to consider is not leaving the life jacket under the sunlight for too long because the colors will fade. Moreover, the material will start to wear out quicker. When you are not using it, store the jacket in a cool and dry place.
3. Do Infant Life Jackets Expire?
From a technical point of view, a life jacket cannot expire. However, the material within the jacket may lose its ability to maintain buoyancy in the water over time. However, how fast this can happen depends on a series of factors.
For example, how often the unit is used has a direct impact in this sense. Other factors include the type of water you are usually swimming in, how well it is maintained, as well as the quality of the materials from the jacket.
When it comes to infant life jackets, however, chances for this to happen are slight, because babies grow up incredibly fast. You might end up with a perfectly looking and functioning jacket that your child simply grew out of.
4. What Is the Minimum Weight Limit for Infant Life Jackets?
You need to know that all infant life jackets have minimum and maximum weight limits. While it is less likely that anyone would want to take their baby out on the water just after birth, some infant life jackets are made to fit babies as small as seven to ten pounds.
Still, most infant life jackets you will find on the market are suitable for larger infants and toddlers up to 30 or 35 pounds.
Is there anything more important than your child’s safety? We are certain the answer is no. The best infant life jacket helps you provide safety for your baby every time you go in the open water. Besides keeping him or her safe, you will be able to feel more relaxed and enjoy your trips knowing your child is protected. The market has a lot to offer when it comes to these products.
Therefore, you need to be very careful when choosing one for your baby. Still, if you follow our buying guide and additional information, you should know exactly what features to look for in order to find the most suitable option. We have also prepared a list with our favorite picks to inspire you in our infant life jacket reviews. Now that you are all set, enjoy your boating trip with your family!