6 Best Infant Life Jackets – (Reviews & Buying Guide 2019)

Summers’s here but the difference this year is that your family is bigger with the presence of one little child. You have come to the conclusion that early contact with the water and with nature will grant your infant with confidence before or as soon as he/she starts walking.

It is every parent’s concern to protect their children from their vulnerabilities and endless curiosity. The most important measure, in this case, is to find the best infant life jacket. On your quest to safety, your path has taken you to the right place. TheMarineMag is here to help you choose from a list of infant life jacket reviews and rest assured that your child will be comfortable and safe during your aquatic adventures. Enjoy reading, and we hope you find what you have been looking for!

PRODUCT DETAILS
Stohlquist Life Vest for Infants

Stohlquist Life Vest for Infants

  • Price : $$$$
  • Color : 10 Options
  • Made : 200D Nylon outer shell. 200D Nylon liner
  • Weight Capacity : 20-31 lbs
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O'Neill Wake Waterski Infant USCG Vest

O’Neill Wake Waterski Infant USCG Vest

  • Price : $$$
  • Color : 6 Options
  • Made : Nylon shell over closed cell PVC marine foam
  • Weight Capacity : up to 30 lbs
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Full Throttle Infant Baby-Safe Vest

Full Throttle Infant Baby-Safe Vest

  • Price : $
  • Color : Orange / Pink
  • Made : 200 denier nylon and 150 denier poly-twill
  • Weight Capacity : Less than 30 pounds
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Stearns Infant Classic Series Vest

Stearns Infant Classic Series Vest

  • Price : $
  • Color : Blue / Red
  • Made : Durable nylon construction and PE flotation foam
  • Weight Capacity : Less than 30 pounds
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O'Neill Infant Superlite USCG Life Vest

O’Neill Infant Superlite USCG Life Vest

  • Price: $$
  • Color : 2 Options
  • Made : Polyethylene Foam
  • Weight Capacity : Up to 30lbs
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Airhead Infant Nylon Life Jacket

Airhead Infant Nylon Life Jacket

  • Price: $$
  • Color : Red
  • Made : Durable polyester fabric
  • Weight Capacity : Less than 30 pounds
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BEST INFANT LIFE JACKETS (UPDATE LIST)

We have chosen 6 picks that we find most appropriate for the safety and comfort of children up to 2 years of age. Here you will find the most essential features that you should be looking for in an infant life jacket, as well as the disadvantages that come with certain products.

1. Stohlquist Life Vest for Infants

Stohlquist Life Vest for InfantsThe first product on our list is designed by US Coast Guard standards of safety. The foam materials are buoyant enough to provide your child with stability and flotation. However, this should not give you a false sense of security – the jacket needs to be used under constant supervision. A comfortable and snug fit is secured by an adjustable crotch strap that will fit children up to 30 lbs. The life jacket is more open around the neck so that your child can quickly move his/her head. However, some children might need time to adapt to wearing a life jacket. The upper part of the zipper might touch and irritate the chin of the youngest infants. To prevent more chafing, the jacket is constructed with enough space around the arms. This feature provides freedom of movement for the upper body. The double collard supports the infant’s head and provides stability. The back of the jacket allows for breathability. For a complete sense of security, the jacket comes with a single buckle over the zipper.

Pros

  • Enough space for arm and neck movement.
  • Adjustable crotch strap
  • Security buckle
  • Breathable material

Cons

  • Time for adaptability is required.
  • The zipper might rub against the chin.
  • Provides parents with a false sense of absolute security.

2. O’Neill Wake Waterski Infant USCG Vest

O'Neill Wake Waterski Infant USCG VestThe O’Neill Wake Waterski Vest is a Type II PFD for infants of different height and up to 30 lbs. The vest is made of high-quality soft materials. The nylon shell prevents chafing of the skin and provides a comfortable, secure fit around the body. On the inside, the jacket consists of PVC marine foam for high buoyancy. It is designed to keep your child afloat and face up so that no water could enter the mouth. However, the foam at the front might push up toward the face and make it difficult for younger infants to adapt to it. An inflated cushion supports the head and the neck. For your peace of mind, the life jacket is equipped with an adjustable safety buckle that is placed above the entry zipper.  In addition to this, there is a sturdy handle in case you need to pull your baby out of the water. In general, the jacket might seem a bit too bulky for walking, but it will serve its most important purpose – provide security.

Pros

  • High-quality buoyant materials
  • US Coast Guard Approved
  • Adjustable safety buckle
  • Keeps child afloat

Cons

  • Takes time for adaptability
  • A bit too bulky and trying to walk in

3. Full Throttle Infant Baby-Safe Vest

Full Throttle Infant Baby-Safe VestThe next product on our list impressed us because it looks different and innovative. The first thing you notice is the adjustable buckle opening at the collar. This new improvement makes it easier to slide the infant’s head in the opening. The buckle, together with the encircling waist belt, provides extra security and prevents the slipping off of babies up to 30 lbs. The elasticized leg strap is comfortable enough for the infant to kick around freely. Another feature that this life jacket has is the strong grab strap at the back. You can use it for easy recovery or for drying and storage. High-quality padding on the inside of the jacket ensures a buoyant and safe flotation. This way, the infant will be kept face up to prevent water swallowing. The oversized collar serves as a comfortable neck pillow. It supports your child’s head and protects the neck. Bear in mind that because of the bulkiness of the padding, the youngest infants might feel uncomfortable at first. However, being US Coast Guard approved, the jacket will indeed provide safety for your baby under your supervision.

Pros

  • Waist and collar buckles for easy installation
  • US Coast Guard approved
  • Strong grab strap
  • High-quality foam and padding

Cons

  • Bulky form pushes up towards the head
  • Might irritate younger infants

4. Stearns Infant Classic Series Vest

Stearns Infant Classic Series VestThis life jacket has been designed especially for little children up to 30 lbs. It has been approved by the US Coast Guard for its safety features. The buoyancy characteristics are ensured by the PE flotation foam. It will keep your infant on his/her back and face up so that no water could enter the mouth. A durable nylon shell will allow you to use the life jacket for more than just one summer. With this jacket, you can safely familiarize your infant with the water. However, bear in mind that the life jacket needs to be used under constant supervision as it is not a swimming vest. Its primary purpose is to serve as a safety measure when you find yourself on a boat. There is a grab handle at the back for easy recovery from the water. The adjustable chest belt and leg strap will provide a secure and snug fit. Under the belt, there is a zipper for extra safety. It will allow you to put the jacket on quickly. A disadvantage of this vest, as with other vests of this type, is that the flotation material might rise up to the chin and frustrate younger infants. Otherwise, it is a good pick for your peace of mind.

Pros

  • Adjustable chest belt and leg strap
  • PE flotation foam
  • US Coast Guard-approved
  • Durable materials

Cons

  • Uncomfortable for little infants at first

5. O’Neill Infant Superlite USCG Life Vest

O'Neill Infant Superlite USCG Life VestThis life jacket is soft and comfortable thanks to the high-quality materials. The foam for the padding is made out of polyethylene. This type of lightweight fabric will enable the buoyant characteristic of the life jacket. This way, your infant will float with his/her face up. At the same time, the high collar will keep water away from the head. Three quick-release Delrin buckles will securely wrap and hold the jacket around your baby’s body. The zipper at the center of the jacket will keep the jacket stable. Keep in mind that the foam makes the jacket a bit bulkier. This feature might make the vest uncomfortable and challenging to get used to for the smaller infants.

Nevertheless, it will not hinder the safety that the jacket provides. A crotch strap will adjust the jacket secure around the legs. This life jacket will not allow your infant to move the whole body freely as it is not a swimming vest. However, durable materials and foam will do everything that a life jacket needs to provide safety.

Pros

  • Lightweight foam
  • Three quick-release buckles
  • Soft materials
  • Good price

Cons

  • Bulky and pushes up underneath the chin
  • Does not provide enough freedom of movement.

6. Airhead Infant Nylon Life Jacket

Airhead Infant Nylon Life JackeLast, but not least comes the Airhead Life Jacket. Like other infant life vests, it fits children who weigh less than 30 pounds so that your little ones can be safe around the water. The materials are UV-resistant soft polyester for the outer shell of the jacket and lightweight foam. The foam will enable enough buoyancy for your child to float face up should he/she be in the water. However, make sure that you are always there to supervise. There is a sturdy grab handle on top of the vest in case you need to retrieve your infant from the water. The materials are durable for more extended and more efficient use. An ultimately secure fit is ensured by three adjustable quick-release buckles around the waist. Another crotch strap is added for further safety around the bottom part of the body. The oversized headrest holds the head in the vest and protects the neck. However, the main disadvantage of the jacket is that the foam makes it too bulky compared to an infant’s size. This might intervene with your child’s head movements. Overall, it will serve you well when you need to make sure your child is safe.

Pros

  • Three quick-release buckles
  • Adjustable leg strap
  • Sturdy grab handle
  • High-quality, durable materials

Cons

  • Intervenes with the natural movement of the head
  • Too big for an entirely comfortable usage

Safety First – Advantages & Disadvantages of Infant Life Jackets

Advantages

Best Infant Life JacketsOnce your child is born, you undertake to keep him/her safe at all costs. A bruise here and there on the legs is not scary, but when you are near the water, the need for protection is a lot stronger. Just like an adult can see the benefits of having a quality life jacket, so the advantages of an infant life jacket are evident. Here are some of them:

  • The life jacket will allow you to rely both on your hands and an additional safety tool. This way, you can afford yourself peace of mind.

 

  • From crawling to walking to swimming (not necessarily in this order), infancy is crucial for the development of the motor system. Close contact with nature will increase the speed and efficiency of this development. Do not let insecurities stop you – a life jacket will prevent any dangers from happening.

 

  • Little children and babies don’t know how to float face-up. Therefore, they need assistance to be able to achieve such flotation. The life jacket will do it all for them.

 

  • In case of an emergency, you will be able to pull your infant out of the water the quickest way possible.

Disadvantages

It sounds funny to say that a life jacket, especially one for infants, can have any obstacles whatsoever. However, there are some drawbacks that you need to know to prepare yourself for what the life jacket offers.

  • A false sense of security – The infant life jacket will provide enough protection, but that does not mean that a pair of eyes will not be necessary. If your child is to use a life jacket, your constant supervision is a must.

 

  • Adaptability – An infant life jacket contains a lot of foam to keep a child afloat. This makes the construction quite bulky and uncomfortable to use for the smallest infants. Allow your child some time to get used to the jacket.

 

  • Limited head movement – This, again, is caused by the amount of foam used for the headrest. It might frustrate your infant that he/she is not allowed a great deal of head movement. Keep in mind that this is all for a reason – the headrest provides neck support.

The Essentials of an Infant Life Jacket

Infant Life Jackets

Before making a purchase, there are first some crucial facts about infant life jackets to know. Those things are the elements that constitute the life jacket, and that makes it appropriate for the youngest water adventurers. We have created a list of the accessories that come with the perfect infant life vest:

  • Adjustable quick-release buckle – one, or two, or three, the clasp is a necessity as it provides a secure and snug fit. This wat the life jacket cannot be open without an adult’s assistance.

 

  • Zipper – placed under the buckles, a sturdy zipper is most undoubtedly safe and out of reach. It will keep the jacket stable. At the same time, a life vest with a zipper is a lot easier to put on and take off than one that needs to go through the baby’s head.

 

  • Crotch strap – an adjustable strap that goes between the legs enhances the level of stability. Make sure you get a life jacket made of well-stitched, high-quality materials. It is not a luxury as it will ensure that the straps will not break and that they won’t tangle around an infant’s legs.

 

  • Grab handle – the infant life jacket is equipped with a sturdy handle so that you can pull your child out of the water. Accidents can happen even on a safe boat trip or on a towable tube. Therefore, you need to be prepared. Stitching is essential when it comes to the handle, so make sure everything is intact.

 

  • Double overhead rest – although the headrest might not provide enough freedom of movement, it will protect the neck. This part of the life jacket will support the head and hold it in a position higher than the rest of the body. The bigger the headrest, the more the water is away from the mouth.

Usually, every infant life jacket has these essential features, but knowing their purpose is another thing we make sure you are informed of.

The Ins and Outs – Materials

Part of choosing the most appropriate life jacket for kids and infants, no matter the age, is considering what materials partake in the construction of the vest. It might seem like there is no difference, but the fabrics have qualities that improve the various purposes of the life jacket.

  • The Ins

The inside of the vest is maybe the most significant aspect of a life jacket. The product aims to keep the body afloat in the water. High-quality foams are responsible for the provision of enough buoyancy and flotation in any situation.

    • PE foam – lightweight
    • Neoprene – buoyant
  • The Outs

Other qualities are sought after from the cover of the life jacket. The softer the material is, the more comfortable it will be for your baby. It is vital that the fabric is skin-friendly and breathable because the infant’s skin is sensitive. Most common materials are nylon and polyethylene. The recyclable plastics are even environment-friendly. These qualities are also typical of top dog life jackets as well. This means that you can have your whole family with you on a boat. Just get informed!

    • Nylon
    • Polyethylene

Types of Life Jackets and Legal Issues

Infant Life Jacket ReviewsThe US Coast Guard is the coastal defense of the United States, and as such it has individual requirements regarding the nature of the type life jackets you take with you on a boat. The life jacket, whether it will be an adult or an infant one, is no exception.

The life jackets approved by the US Coast Guard service are five types. However, here comes the difference – only 3 of these types are approved for children to use. Here are the differences.

  • Type I

  • Offshore Life Jacket used for extended survival in rough seas, open ocean, or remote water where quick rescue is unlikely. This jacket is designed almost immediately to turn a person face-up and has excellent buoyancy, but it is significantly bulky and challenging to wear.
  • Type II

  • Near-Shore Buoyant Vest appropriate for calm, inland water and most general boating activities where there is a good chance of a quick rescue. It is less bulky than Type I, but it will not grant security in extreme conditions.
  • Type III

  • Flotation aid for calm, inland waters only. It is not designed to be used in rough weather and waters. This type is the most lightweight and comfortable to wear for a prolonged time on a boat.

Most infant life jackets are Type II because this it combines both a relatively comfortable fit and enough security for your daily boat trip in the summer. Always check if the life jacket has been approved by the US Coast Guard before purchasing it. This is the first measure of security that you will take.  Among other tips that can save your child’s life on the water, the seal of approval is the most basic.

The Right Fit

There are a few simple steps you need to take to make sure that your infant will remain in the life jacket and that the latter won’t slip off. The secure fit is not just that extra effort to ensure comfort – it is necessary for the safety of your child. Do not worry – it is easy, and it takes a couple of minutes to make sure that the jacket is the right fit.

  1. Check the label and the sizing chart that the manufacturer has offered for the particular product. Infant life jackets are measured by the child’s weight and not by his/her height.
  2. Check if the quick-release buckles can be fastened well and that they let your baby space for breathing.
  3. Make sure that the arm openings are not too snug by gently pulling them up from the top.
  4. Have the child hold his arms straight up over his/her head (or gently extend them yourself).
  5. The jacket might ride up to the chin and cause chafing. If this happens, that means that the jacket is slightly too big for your infant.

No matter if a life jacket has a side collar buckle or a front zipper, you would want it to be put on the most natural way possible. It will be quicker for you and less confusing for your baby as well. As already mentioned, the life jacket will require some time for adaptation. The right fit will make this process quicker.

Clean Me Up!

If your infant’s life jacket is screaming for a clean-up, do not freak out! The materials are designed in a way that maintenance will be the last thing you will need to worry about. Here are several tips for keeping the life jacket in good shape for a longer lifespan.

  • Once you come back to the land, wash the jacket with clean water.
  • If there are any stains, you can clean them with a little bit of vinegar and clothing detergent. Take a bucket, fill it with water and the washing mixture and brush it over the stained area with a sponge. Rinse it with clean water.
  • Let it air dry. Do not use a drying rack or a hairdryer.
  • Do not leave it under the sunlight for too long. The colors will fade, and the material will wear out quicker.
  • Store in a dry, cool place. You can put it in a box or hang it by the grab handle.

FAQs

In this section, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions. It will serve to alleviate any natural worries you might have as a parent.

Will It Keep My Child Face-Up?

Yes, every infant life jacket is designed to turn the child face-up in case he/she falls into the water. Type I and Type II jackets are capable of turning up an unconscious person in almost any situation so you can rest assured that this function is part of the jacket’s qualities.

Can the Jacket Be Used as a Teaching Tool?

The life jacket is constructed to provide ultimate safety for your infant. They are not created as a swimming teaching tool, because of the bulkiness of the construction.

Can an Infant Life Jacket Be Used for a Baby?

Usually, infant life jackets are made to fit children up to 30 lbs. Logically, it could be used for any baby that is under this weight. However, keep in mind that it might ride up to your child’s chin, which means it is too big and uncomfortable for your baby to use.

Best Infant Life Jackets Comparison Chart

PRODUCTPRICECOLORMADEWEIGHT CAPACITY
Stohlquist Life Vest for Infants

$$$$10 Options200D Nylon outer shell. 200D Nylon liner20-31 lbs
O’Neill Wake Waterski Infant USCG Vest

$$$6 OptionsNylon shell over closed cell PVC marine foamup to 30 lbs
Full Throttle Infant Baby-Safe Vest

$Orange / Pink200 denier nylon and 150 denier poly-twillLess than 30 pounds
Stearns Infant Classic Series Vest

$Blue / RedDurable nylon construction and PE flotation foamLess than 30 pounds
O’Neill Infant Superlite USCG Life Vest

$$2 OptionsPolyethylene FoamUp to 30lbs
Airhead Infant Nylon Life Jacket

$$RedDurable polyester fabricLess than 30 pounds

Wrap Up

We hope you enjoyed reading our best infant life jacket reviews and that you have found the information gathered here helpful. It has been our pleasure to provide you with the details necessary to find the most appropriate pick for your little one. Make sure you follow our tips, and they will lead you to the right choice. With the best infant life jacket, you can spend some fantastic time outside with your family and even introduce your child to the wonders of the water.

Do not hesitate to contact us for more information. We will be happy to answer any of your questions and concerns! We will be even more pleased to spread the word to more curious and caring parents, so share this information with your friends and relatives. Check out the rest of our page for other marine accessories you might be interested in. Thanks so much for reading, and as always – stay put!

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