Choosing the Best Infant Life Jackets for Kids

Best Infant Life Jackets for KidsA trip to the pool, a ride on a boat, or even a simple walk down the beach all carry a risk of drowning for even a seasoned adult swimmer, so when the kids come along you need more peace of mind than is provided simply by a keen eye. When packing for an aquatic outing, the goggles and noodles are usually reached for first. While they are a big part of the fun, safety can’t be neglected. You should be sure to always make room for personal flotation devices, also know as life jackets or life preservers.

Finding the right fit and style is important, but finding one with the right safety features is necessary, especially for the young ones. Here are a selection of five personal flotation devices, or PFD’s, with a few pros and cons to help get you on your way to making an informed decision on your child’s safety.

The first is one of the more solid choices. The Stohlquist Unisex Child Nemo PFD is a 2″ high 16″ wide nylon jacket with a 200 Denier oxford shell and liner. Denier is akin to a fabric thickness rating, and this one is rated rather well for a child vest. In addition to the front zipper, this vest also features a quick release buckle for a little added security, and an adjustable crotch strap for a more comfortable fit. It is hand washable with soap and water, but by far the best feature is the beaded grab loop located on the uppermost rear section. The beads float so the handle’s always open if you need to grab them quickly.

Stolquist also offers a Nemo unisex jacket for infants and toddlers with many of the same features for a smaller child. Both are type II PFD’s, which are more effective at keeping an unconscious swimmer upright than the more common type III PFD’s used by adults.

The O’Neil Infant Nylon USCG Vest is another top pick. For one, it’s US Coast Guard approved. The nylon coated shell houses closed cell PVC marine foam for a soft and comfortable fit, and features two quick release buckles over the zipper with a third on the crotch strap. Although it isn’t beaded or bouyant, a rear strap is featured.

The last two on the list are USCG approved for boat use, and are useful for learn-to-swim aids. Stearns makes the Kids Puddle Jumper in basic and deluxe forms. For children from 30 to 50 lbs, the basic model features durable nylon construction with stability and range of motion, while the deluxe is crafted with woven polyester for a softer feel and less chafing. Both offer a comfortable design with less restriction, giving your child more freedom to swim and play.

Although not a choice to make lightly, once you’ve mulled over what’s been presented, you’re job’s not done. All of the previously mentioned vests come in a variety of colors, with the Stearns featuring a choice of graphic design, so safety won’t sacrifice style this summer.


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