You are probably familiar with the fact that babies have certain reflexes that deceive us into thinking that they are born swimmers. Spending time in the water is imperative for every human being. If you have arrived at the conclusion that the sooner equals, the better, then you have come to the right place.
Like any concerned parent, you would want your child to be safe in any situation. The best toddler swim vest will help your child gain confidence and enjoy the natural feeling that water provides. Moreover, you will be happy to know that your toddler is safe at all costs.
As a parent, you want the most efficient protection. This is where TheMarineMag comes to offer help in making the right decision. Check out our list of best swim floaties for toddlers that we have reviewed especially for your peace of mind.
Best Toddler Swim Vests Comparison Chart
Stearns Puddle Jumper Kids Life Jacket
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Body Glove Paddle Pals Learn to Swim Life Jacket
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AmazeFan Kids Swim Life Jacket
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Body Glove Paddle Pals Motion Hologram Learn to Swim Life Jacket
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Speedo Kids’ Begin to Swim Float Coach
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TEWENE Kid Toddler Swim Vest
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7 BEST TODDLER SWIM VESTS (EDITOR’S PICKS)
Here you will find a list of seven swim vests for toddlers. We have done our research to provide you with the finest, safest picks on the market. You will be right to choose any of them. However, variety always comes with a good reason. There are certain features you need to look for, and we will help you find them in these reviews.
1. Stearns Puddle Jumper Kids Life Jacket
Our first pick on the list comes in a variety of 15 fun patterns that will compliment your child’s personality. Since toddlers tend to be headstrong when it comes to wearing some clothes, the floaties are designed to attract their attention. Thus, your child will have fun and stay safe. The vests contain premium materials such as soft polyester. This fabric will ensure that your child’s arms will not be covered in red marks. It provides freedom of movement to promote the range of motion needed to learn how to swim. The buckle snaps at the back allow for the vest to be adjusted for toddlers who weigh a bit more than 50 or a bit less 30 pounds.
However, the part around the arms is not adjustable, because the vest comes already inflated. This might hinder storing the vest and transporting it. Maintenance is easy, on the other hand. It only requires soapy water and a sponge. It is important to note that this product is different from a standard life jacket. The reason for this is that it will not automatically keep your child afloat. This vest will require your assistance and your child’s movement to keep him/her above the water.
- Variety of patterns
- Adjustable buckle snaps
- Premium materials to prevent chafing
- Will not automatically keep your child floating
- Difficult to store
2. Body Glove Paddle Pals Learn to Swim Life Jacket
This life jacket is a safe pick as it was approved by the US Coast Guard. It is more dependable than other floaties thanks to the safety shoulder straps. They will not allow your toddler to take the vest off without your help. The vest will stay on the body without sliding off with sudden movement. The comfortable fit is enabled by the polyester fabric and the multi-panel design. Thus, your child will be protected from chafing.
The vest is designed to fit children that weigh between 30 and 50 lbs., but as we know, everybody is different. Don’t let this alarm you – the vest is equipped with a rear safety buckle which can be easily adjusted. However, while the part around the chest is snug, there is more space around the arms and shoulders. From an aquatic mermaid to a surfer turtle, the 12 styles will excite your child while you remain calm that the vest will help him/her learn how to swim.
Bear in mind that the vest cannot fully support the weight of the toddler. Therefore, assistance will be needed for your child’s head to remain above the water.
- Patented and Coast Guard-approved
- Safety shoulder straps
- Great teaching tool
- Will not fully support the weight of your child.
- The sizes of different parts do not correspond.
3. AmazeFan Kids Swim Life Jacket
The third product on our list has been tested and approved by parents for the excellent qualities it demonstrates. It is designed with the toddler’s comfort and with nature’s well-being in mind. The materials (polyester and soft nylon) are smooth and environmental-friendly. The extra buoyancy they provide will support your child’s body in the water. At the same time, this vest allows freedom of movement and serves as a great teaching tool. A significant advantage is that long-lasting vests will fit your child for a few years. The gap of 30 lbs. between minimum and maximum weight permitted provides you with a jacket that will serve your child for a more extended period. The adjustable rear strap is the only instrument you need to fit both your 1-year-old and your 6-year-old swimmer. This vest is delivered already inflated.
On the one hand, this saves you time and breath that a required to prepare the floaties for use. On the other hand, it means that you cannot deflate it. It might seem that storage will be difficult. However, the manufacturer has equipped the vest with a storage bag for easy transportation and storage. In case you are not satisfied with the product, a one-year money-back guarantee is part of the deal.
- Fits toddlers from a wide range of age
- Storage bag
- Environment-friendly and skin-friendly
- 1-year warranty
- Cannot be deflated
4. Body Glove Paddle Pals Motion Hologram Learn to Swim Life Jacket
The next product on our list is equipped with extra fabric for more stability. The safety shoulder straps will stop your child from taking the vest off without your help.
Furthermore, they will prevent the vest from slipping off when your toddler is feeling playful and energetic in the water. Paddle Pals have been patented and approved by the US Coast Guard organization as a great learning tool. Your child will have a lot of fun in the water and you will be assisted in teaching him/her how to swim. The four different patterns to choose from will make your toddler love wearing the vest. A comfortable fit is ensured by the quality polyester material and a multi-panel design. The fabric is skin-friendly and will prevent painful chafing. The vest is constructed to fit children of different ages and weigh between 30 and 50 lbs. However, the sizes of this product, in particular, vary from vest to vest. The safety buckle and adjustable straps will ensure that the fit is snug and your child is given freedom of movement.
- Adjustable straps and safety buckle
- Fun designs
- Sizes vary from vest to vest – might fit small or too big
5. Speedo Kids’ Begin to Swim Float Coach
The Speedo Begin to Swim Float Coach vest stands out for its additional adjustable straps. The jacket is equipped with them not only on the shoulders but also at the bottom. This padded leg strap will prevent the vest from slipping off and providing a secure fit.
Bear in mind that some toddlers might find it uncomfortable to have yet one more strap. However, this should not hinder your child’s freedom of movement. For further comfort, the vest consists of high-quality polyester lining. The material provides UV protection and is antibacterial for your peace of mind. This float coach is available in one size that should fit children between 2 and 4 years of age. Unfortunately, it might run small for some toddlers.
Another disadvantage that customers discover is that the vest is challenging to put on because of the bottom strap. In spite of these drawbacks, the vest will perform at high standards once your child is in it. You can rest assured that the product will help your child gain confidence in the water.
- Shoulder and leg straps
- UV protection
- High-quality materials
- Runs small
- Difficult to put on
6. TEWENE Kid Toddler Swim Vest
The last product on our list is impressive for the improvements done based on customer feedback. The most significant advantage is the double-buckle design. It has been improved by one additional button. You need to press three buttons, and your child will not be able to take the vest off him/herself. The materials are the same ones – polyester and soft nylon. They prevent the rubbing of the skin. The sleeves have been adjusted to allow more freedom of movement. Because they are not plastic, they are considered environment-friendly. The wide range of weight that the vest can support (22-66 lbs) will serve your child for a more extended time. However, the manufacturer asks that you allow a little bit of measurement error. The adjustable straps are necessary for a comfortable fit. One drawback is that the amount of foam is less than the size of the vest.
Nevertheless, this will not harness the buoyancy needed for your child to gain confidence. If you are afraid you have nowhere to store the inflated vest, don’t worry. The product comes with a storage bag. It will be easy for you to carry it to the pool, lake or sea.
- Skin and environment-friendly
- Wide range of weight allowance
- Storage bag
- Double-buckle design
- Measurement errors possible
- The foam is less than the size of the vest
7. Dark Lightning Kids Life Jacket
The Dark Lightning Floats provide your child with the buoyancy necessary to assist them as he/she learns to swim. Therefore, the first thing you need to know is that the product should be used under constant parental supervision to ensure that your child is safe.
The jacket consists of a nylon shell. This material enables efficient flotation while your toddler kicks in the water. It withstands the weight of children between the ages of 2 and 6, e.g., 30-50 lbs. However, if your child is slightly smaller, you can use the adjustable straps to make the vest snug around his/her chest. An essential feature of the vest is that its design opens space for the child’s arms to swing freely.
With the safety buckle at the back, you can easily lock and unlock the vest so that it does not slip off. Beware that the buckle might irritate the skin if the vest is worn too long. The product is on the cheaper end, which means that the materials might not be in mint condition after a prolonged period. Nevertheless, it is not less safe – it has passed CE standard for buoyancy. Your toddler will have fun gaining confidence in the pool or the lake.
- Adjustable straps and buckle
- Buoyant and safe
- Good price
- Cheaper nylon fabric
- The clasp is in direct contact with the skin
The “Whys” and the “Why Nots”
From all the various life jacket types you need to purchase on your list, a toddler swim vest should be on the top. Nothing is more important than safety, especially that of your child. Although a vest will not adequately teach your toddler how to swim, it will give them the confidence to move in the water without fear.
Here are the advantages you will most certainly be assured of once you purchase swim floaties for your toddler.
- Now that your child can walk, contact with the water is crucial for the development of the bone structure. The floaties will grant your child with partial independence to move and grow.
- Toddlers between the ages of 1 and 6 can be unstoppable and more energetic than their parents. This means that they can spend hours on end in the water. You might develop muscles, but holding the child in your arms can be exhausting. The swim vest will assist you in keeping your child’s body floating.
- If your family relishes the joy of having more than 1 toddler, with a set of swim floats, it will be easier for you to assist and keep an eye on a group of children.
- Although your constant supervision is necessary, the floats will give your children a greater sense of freedom. This will, without fail, enhance their joy and playfulness. What is more beautiful than the sight of a happy child?
- You can get an excellent deal for a reasonable price. Then, you can think about your own safety and consider what might be the most appropriate life jacket for yourself.
A life jacket has and will never be unnecessary or too much of a precaution. This is why we write the word “disadvantages” with a slightly different meaning in mind. Here we have gathered a few negative traits that you might come across in some vests.
- If the arm floaties are too snug or the material gets too hot under the sun, red marks from chafing could appear on your child’s body.
- Some children might find them uncomfortable to wear because of the impediment they could cause to natural movement. However, they are constructed in a way that they should complement rather than hinder it.
- Swimmers can become dependent on armbands. So when it comes time to change to swimming lessons, they grown toddlers might find it difficult to transition.
- Toddler swim floaties are not a replacement for your supervision. They cannot hold your child afloat without assistance. This is crucial to remember.
The Little Things in the Grand Scheme
To reduce the drawbacks of the floaties to a minimum, there are many traits you need to be looking for when choosing a product. We kindly offer you some tips so that you can make the right decision.
- Adjustable straps for a comfortable and secure fit. It will also give you more time with the same vest without the need to change it every year.
- Find a swim vest with a buckle-release system and rest assured that your toddler will not be able to unlock it. For even greater security, a dual buckle will require the three buttons at once to open the system. This is virtually impossible for a young child.
- A shoulder harness is a must, and this is what differentiates the swim vests above from the usual armbands. The shoulder straps will prevent the slipping off of the vest.
- Skin-friendly materials such as soft nylon and polyester are beneficial for a few of reasons.
- They will reduce chafing and skin redness.
- Provide comfort
- Allow freedom of movement
- Excellent addition to the product is a storage bag. Since the toddler swim vests come already inflated and many of them cannot be deflated, a storage bag will help you keep them dry and safe.
- Some extra foam around the chest and the back will add more buoyancy and support to the armbands.
All of these traits can fit in a single toddler swim vest that will satisfy your natural need for safety.
The Longer, The Better
In a perfect future, you have already purchased a swim vest for your toddler and your family is having fun in a pool, the lake, or the sea. Maybe it has been a couple of years, and your toddler is still wearing the same swim vest? This is great! That means you have found a way to take care of it properly.
No matter if it is a proper life jacket, a toddler swim vest or floaties, any type of flotation aid needs to be taken care of. Do not worry if you are still unsure what measures to make when it comes to maintaining a toddler swim vest in the optimal condition. We have some simple advice, and you will be done in no time.
- First and foremost, do not leave the floaties in the water or out in the sunlight when they are not being used. Especially in swimming pools, the chlorine can damage the material, (click to read more about pool maintenance), while sunlight exposure will make the colors fade quicker.
- Wash the swim vest with fresh, clean water and rinse any trace of mud or sand.
- If there are any stains on the floaties, you can mix baking soda with water and brush the stains. Let it sit for a few minutes and then wipe it down.
- Let it air dry naturally. Do not use a clothes dryer or a hairdryer – a quicker method will not lead to more effective maintenance.
- Store in a dry, cool place. If your child’s swim floaties do not come with a storage bag, you can simply use a box.
- For those who own a swimming pool, regular maintenance of the pool itself will extend the life of your equipment and the swim floaties of your toddler. Change the filter and do a daily cleaning up during the hot months of the year.
Know the Difference – Flotation Aids and Comparisons
While the toddler swim floaties are a great teaching tool, you should be aware of the difference between them and other toddler flotation aids. Keep in mind that we are not saying that one is better than the other – they can all be combined as your child’s assistant in learning how to swim.
We have already numbered plenty of benefits of the swim floaties: they are fun to use, buoyant, and safe under supervision. However, they have advantages that are different from those of the swimming board and the noodle flotation aids.
Floaties/Vests vs. Swimming Boards
Armbands may be used in a swim lesson to assist a child in learning independence and gaining confidence in the water by reducing the child’s reliance on the parent. They will keep your child in a vertical position, which will teach him/her how to hold the head above the water. It will develop the motor system of the legs as they need to keep on kicking when the body is not in a swimming motion.
The swimming board will also reduce the child’s reliance on the parent. However, the main feature of the board is that it is meant to be used in a horizontal position and teach the child how to move using different swimming styles. It serves to encourage the child not to be afraid of submerging their face under the water.
These differences make the swimming board an excellent tool for older or more experienced children. Therefore, the swim floaties are still the appropriate choice for when your toddler is still inexperienced and more hesitant.
Floaties/Vests vs. Noodles
The noodle type of flotation aid stands out for its versatility. The length of it can be changed for varying levels of buoyancy. The flexible material and form allow for it to be placed under the waist, around the lower back or under the armpits for different exercises.
Although it provides more independence, the noodle is more appropriate for a child who is already familiar with the water, just like the swimming board. Due to its lengthy, floppy construction, the noodle cannot provide enough support for the toddler. The child can easily slip from these aids.
Each one of these three flotation aids has been tested for its capability of serving as a teaching tool. Whichever you choose, you will not regret your decision. It is essential, however, to know the differences and to know what each one can offer you. In the end, it is all a matter of understanding your child’s experience and comfort.
When in Doubt, Ask
To finish off, we provide you with a few frequently asked questions and their answers in case you still are hesitant what swim vest to purchase for your toddler.
How Can I Be Sure That the One Size Will Fit My Child?
The swim vest comes in one size because it can withstand children of different weights. The adjustable straps are another addition that provides a comfortable and secure fit. If your child is younger than 2 years of age, however, you should look for a top infant life jacket and our article will surely help you.
Can It Be Used on a Boat?
Even if your toddler’s vest has been US Coast Guard-approved, it might not be the most convenient safety tool for when you are on a boat. As already mentioned, the floaties serve as swimming assistance, but they are not designed to be used in the case of an emergency. A proper life jacket would be more appropriate.
Will My Child Be Able to Hold His/Her Head Above the Water?
Yes, the toddler swim vests and floaties are constructed in a way that they should keep your child afloat. The buoyant materials are designed to help them stay above the water and gain confidence. However, do not forget that constant supervision is needed as this is not a life jacket.
That’s all from us, folks! We hope we have helped you choose the best toddler swim vest/floaties to bring joy to your children who are now ready to become confident, experienced swimmers. For your peace of mind, we have gathered here a few models that you can choose from. Rest assured that you have made your decision based on best toddler swim vest reviews. Go out and spend some quality time with your little ones teaching them some valuable swimming skills! Have fun, and stay safe!
We are open to any questions and/or comments you might have. Remember that safety comes first and we are here to provide any tips you will need around the water. Make sure you share this guide with family friends who could also benefit from a flotation aid for their children. Thanks so much for reading, and as always – stay put!