Getting kids out on the water to experience the joys of being on the lake, the ocean, or the river is something they will never forget. With the joy of the experience, however, comes the overriding concern for their safety.
Life jacket use—whether in the pool, at the beach, or on a boat—is one important step families can take to help keep their kids safe. Since a child can’t help themselves in the water as much as an adult can, the best life jacket for kids will have good head support. At the same time, you don’t want something so bulky that your child can’t enjoy themselves.
In this guide, we show you the best way to give your children the freedom to play in the water with the peace of mind that they are protected from the dangers. Here are the top 5 best life vests for your children:
1. Old Town Inlet Jr. Kids’ Life Jacket
Junior kids are at the age when they love to get more involved in sports and activities.
By the time they get to the age of eight, they have better mobility and coordination, making them better at their games and sports; this encourages them to play more.
Of course, they still like to have fun and feel safe and comfortable, especially in the water.
The Old Town Inlet Jr Kid’s Life Jacket offers the perfect balance of comfort and mobility for kids. Whether it is for a sport or activity like paddling and kayaking or to keep them safe when they’re messing around, the Olde Town Inlet is unmatched.
The Old Town Inlet Lifejacket has an adjustable shoulder, side, and waist, so kids can make the lifejacket fit them correctly regardless of their size and shape. Unlike other lifejackets of its kind, this one has a zippered vest pocket for snacks and fleece-lined pockets to keep their hands warm. Both functional and practical, this lifejacket is the perfect complement to a day at the beach or lake.
If your junior kid loves the water for sport, or you take regular trips to beaches, lakes or pools, this lifejacket is for you. Give your kid their freedom at the water’s edge and eliminate the dangers with this junior lifejacket. It is so comfortable and practical they won’t need to take it off.
- Old Town's Inlet Jr. Kids' Life Jacket offers many features and unmatched comfort for kids who can't get enough of the water.
- Made from durable 200D nylon, the Inlet Jr. features adjustable shoulder, side, and waist straps.
- The Inlet Jr. is built with a zippered vest pocket for snacks, and fleece-lined pockets to keep hands warm on chilly days. Reflectve piping on the front and back increases visibility and safety.
- Perfect for young paddlers, the Inlet Jr. is a full-featured, lightweight unisex design.
- This life jacket fits a 25-inch to 29-inch chest and is a USCG certified Type III PFD for Youth weighing 50-pounds to 90-pounds.
2. Puddle Jumper Kids 2-in-1 Life Jacket and Rash Guard
This U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket is certified for use on boats. The Puddle Jumper also features a built-in rash guard with UPF 50+ sun protection, which will block 93% of UVA and UVB rays, wet or dry. The life jacket works well on kids 30-50 pounds, and allows for a full range of motion, with sleeves, and a zip in the back and a clasp, ensuring a safe and secure fit. Reviewers enthused about its wide range of uses, from paddle-boarding, to ocean-swimming, to snorkeling.
- U.S. Coast guard-approved life jacket is Certified for use on boats
- Built-in Rash guard offers UPF 50+ sun protection to block 93% of UVA and UVB rays, wet or Dry
- Comfortable, non-restricting design lets active kids enjoy a full range of motion
- Zipper and adjustable buckle in back ensure a secure fit
- Woven polyester for softer fabric with less chafing
3. O’Neill Child Reactor USCG Life Vest
This U.S. Coast Guard-approved O’Neill life vest is great for water sports. There are quick release safety buckles over the heavy duty front zipper for security. It offers a relaxed fit for swimming, water skiing or tubing. Recommended for children weighing between 30 and 50 pounds, this life jacket for kids has a grab strap on the top and a strap that runs under the legs.
- Uscg approved personal flotation device; perfect for wake sports, waterskiing, tubing, and swimming
- Segmented foam core and anatomical flex points allow unrestricted movement. Closed cell pvc marine foam
- Quick release safety buckles and heavy duty front zipper create an unparalleled sense of security
- Minimal bulk design allows full mobility, while expansion panels enable a comfortable fit
- relaxed fit for the water sports enthusiast who wants some room to move
4. Speedo Infant Life Jacket
Speedo makes a metric ton of gear for swimmers, from swimming aids for toddlers to racing goggles for Olympic-level swimmers. They also make swim vests for kids, and of course, life jackets!
The Speedo Infant Personal Life Jacket is a full support PFD that features two straps across the mid-section and two more along the bottom to keep the life jacket secure. The exterior of the PFD is made with durable nylon, while the jersey is a softer polyester that won’t chafe.
- U.S Coast guard approved and American Red Cross licensed
- Type III personal flotation device
- Special neck pillow for Infant head support in the water
- Adjustable chest and leg straps for added safety
- One size, weight capacity: less than 30 lbs. , chest size: 16- 20''
5. O’Neill Wetsuits Child Reactor USCG Life Vest
The O’Neils wetsuit lifejacket is USCG approved, meaning it has 15 ½ pounds of buoyancy and is designed to turn an unconscious wearer face-up. Unlike other bulkier USCG approved products, O’Neils Lifejacket has anatomical flex points that offer unrestricted movements. This lifejacket is big on safety in the water and gives your child quick-release safety buckles and comfortable expansion panels.
You don’t want to stand in the way of your child if they want to try out a more active or physically demanding water sport. At the same time, you worry that they might not be safe in the water when moving at speed or lacking experience. One way to overcome these issue is to invest in a USCG approved lifejacket.
- The O'Neill Child Reactor Life Vest is the perfect life vest for days out on the boat and on the beach.
- The life vest is US Coast Guard approved and is designed to fit little ones between 30 and 50 lbs.
- To ensure security, this vest also has an adjustable leg strap for a snug and safe fit.
- The closed cell PVC marine foam keeps the vest nice and buoyant, and the soft external material allows for this comfy vest to be worn all day.
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