Best Toddler Life Jacket 2020 – Coast Guard Approved

July 10, 2020

A good number of fun activities for the family involve water. From visiting the water park to going on vacation, there is always water involved in the form of a pool or large water body like the ocean. Most parents teach their kids to swim from a tender age. Infants from 18 pounds can learn how to swim. However, at this age, or any age where a kid is learning to swim, the use of a life jacket or vest is critical. The market is packed with a wide range of life jacket brands for kids. In this post, we will discuss the best toddler life jacket – Coast Guard approved.

Our Top Picks

ImageProducts 

Stearns Infant Classic Series Vest Product Image

Best Life Jacket for infant
Stearns Infant Vest

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Stohlquist Toddler Life Jacket Product Image

Best Head Support
Stohlquist Toddler Life Jacket

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O'Neill Wake Waterski Infant USCG Vest Product Image

Best for the Ocean
O'Neill Wake Waterski

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Stearns Original Puddle Jumper Kids Life Jacket Product Image

Best for Learning to Swim
Stearns Puddle Jumper

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Speedo Supersaurus Personal Life Jacket Product Image

Best for Calm Waters
Speedo Supersaurus

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Full Throttle Child Water Buddies Life Vest Product Image

Most Playful Patterns
Full Throttle Child Water Buddies Life Vest

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Airhead Infant Life Vest Product Image

Best for the Beach
Airhead Infant Life Vest

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Puddle Jumper Kids 2-in-1 Life Jacket and Rash Guard Product Image

Best for UV Protection
Puddle Jumper Kids

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Body Glove Paddle Pals Learn to Swim Life Jacket Product Image

Best for the Pool
Body Glove Paddle Pals

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Mustang Infant Survival PFD Lil Mate Vest Product Image

Best For Boating
Mustang Infant Survival PFD

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How Does a Life Jacket Protect My Child?

  • Buoyancy- The jackets are packed with foam (a buoyant material). The material displaces a large amount of water, hence keeping the wearer floating. The amount that is displaced depends on the size and weight of the wearer.
  • Visibility- Most life jackets are brightly colored. The bright color helps to keep your child visible, especially during an emergency.
  • Head Protection- Most brands are designed to keep the kids floating face-up. This is ideal for kids that do not have body control.
  • Security- The jackets feature security features like latches and straps that keep the jacket in place at all times.

Types of Life Jackets

Below are some of the main types of life jackets as classified by the USCG:

  • Type 1- This one is also known as an offshore life jacket. It is used for survival in rough seas, the open ocean, and remote waters. Most people use it in situations where quick rescue is unlikely as it features high levels of buoyancy. It is, however, bulky and not comfortable when worn for a long time.
  • Type II- This one is also known as the nearshore buoyant life jacket. Ideal for calm inland waters, where there is a good chance for a quick rescue. It is less bulky than the first type. However, it’s not suitable for rough seas and extended use.
  • Type III- This one is also known as flotation aid. It is ideal for calm inland waters only. This is the most comfortable type as it is lightweight. It can, therefore, be used for long periods of time.

How to Choose the Best Life Jacket for Kids

When choosing a life jacket for your kid, consider the following primary factors:

  • Best toddler life jacket – Coast guard approved – Always go for a product that is approved by the USCG because you can be sure that it is safe.
  • Size and weight- Life jackets come with recommended weights and size. For instance, most life jackets for kids are designed for kids that are less than 30 pounds. Using such a jacket on a heavier child would be hazardous. The size determines how comfortable and secure the jacket is.
  • Safety features- Consider a jacket with features like leg and crotch straps as they allow for added comfort and security. Make sure the straps come with quick-release buckles for convenience.

Top 10 Best Toddler Life Jackets – Coast Guard Approved

1. O'Neill Wake Waterski Infant USCG Vest

O'Neill Wake Waterski Infant USCG Vest Product Image

This is one of the Best toddler life jacket – Coast guard approved Type 11 PFD jacket designed for kids. The life jacket is meant for kids that do not weigh more than 30 pounds. It features a comfortable nylon shell over that is enclosed with cell PVC marine foam. The foam is shaped to float the baby face-up. It also comes with adjustable safety belts which are located between the legs to allow for additional safety. The belts are made with durable quick-release buckles. It also features a grab loop on the head cushion. The product is very soft and comfortable as well as durable because of its nylon panels.

What I Love about it

  • Comfortable and soft
  • Best toddler life jacket – Coast guard approved
  • Durable

Something to keep in mind

  • Expensive

Buy on Amazon


2. Stearns Original Puddle Jumper Kids Life Jacket

Stearns Original Puddle Jumper Kids Life Jacket Product Image

This life jacket for kids has been tested, and it is Coast Guard Approved. It is a type V and III floating device that can be worn inside and near the water. It can also be used on boats and at water parks. The jacket features a nylon shell that makes it quite durable. It is playfully designed with a colorful appearance that kids and love. It fits snugly and provides maximum protection. The life jacket comes with safety buckle snaps in the back and an adjustable strap that is suitable for kids between 30- 50 pounds.

What I Love about it

  • Fits snugly
  • Cost-efficient
  • Provides maximum security

Something to keep in mind

  • Not the best quality

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3. Stohlquist Toddler Life Jacket

Stohlquist Toddler Life Jacket Product Image

This life jacket for kids comes with a quick-release buckle over the entry zipper. This feature allows for added security. It also features an adjustable crotch strap that keeps it in place and makes the entire jacket comfortable. The convenient grab-handle also makes it convenient. It features a buoyancy level of 7lbs and is Coast Guard Approved. The jacket’s floating feature keeps the baby in a calm, face-up position. The product comes in a variety of sizes meant for kids with varying weights. It also features durable material.

What I Love about it

  • Very safe
  • Comfortable and fits well
  • Best toddler life jacket -Coast Guard Approved

Something to keep in mind

  • expensive

Buy on Amazon


4. Full Throttle Child Water Buddies Life Vest

Full Throttle Child Water Buddies Life Vest Product Image

This life jacket for babies features a fun and bright design with colorful graphics that are ideal for kids. It comes with a uniquely shaped back that is made of foam. The foam helps to keep it comfortable. The life jacket is made using imported materials that are highly durable. It comes with a flotation foam all round that helps to keep the baby above the water at all times. The flotation foam is also quite durable. The jacket features a front zipper, belts and leg straps that keep it in place at all times.

What I Love about it

  • Cost-efficient
  • Durable and comfortable

Something to keep in mind

  • It’s very colorful, which might not be agreeable to some

Buy on Amazon


5. Stearns Infant Classic Series Vest

Stearns Infant Classic Series Vest Product Image

This is the best product for introducing your baby to swimming. The life jacket is designed specifically for infants that weigh less than 30 pounds. It features a durable nylon shell and a PE floatation foam with a long life span as well. The jacket is also designed with a leg strap and a grab handle that allows for extra safety and security. It also features a secure 1-inch webbing that makes it extra comfortable. It is an open-sided vest suitable for both boys and girls.

What I Love about it

  • Durable nylon construction
  • Comfortable
  • Extremely safe

Something to keep in mind

  • Quality is wanting

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6. Speedo Supersaurus Personal Life Jacket

Speedo Supersaurus Personal Life Jacket Product Image

This is a colorful life jacket made for kids that love fun and color. It features a dino-collar that is ideal for kids and parents that are obsessed with dinosaurs. The life jacket is designed specifically for kids that are between 30 and 50 pounds. Moreover, it fits snugly and securely. It also comes with leg straps that are padded to allow for extra safety and comfort. Additionally, it is designed with side straps that allow it to fit securely and perfectly. Lastly, it is approved by both the US Coast Guard and the American Red Cross.

What I Love about it

  • Extremely safe
  • Fun and comfortable design
  • Coast Guard Approved

Something to keep in mind

  • Not quite durable

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7. Airhead Infant Life Vest

Airhead Infant Life Vest Product Image

This is a type II life jacket designed for kids that do not weigh more than 30 pounds. It is a USGC approved life jacket. It is designed with three sturdy belts. Each of the belts comes with a side release buckle that makes the jacket easy to put on and remove. The infant life jacket also comes with a crotch strap that allows for added safety. It is a closed sided vest with a segmented headrest and a grab handle for extra support. The product is made with a soft UV resistant polyester shell as well as lightweight PE for flotation.

What I Love about it

  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Comfortable

Something to keep in mind

  • Not for kids above 30 pounds

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8. Puddle Jumper Kids 2-in-1 Life Jacket and Rash Guard

Puddle Jumper Kids 2-in-1 Life Jacket and Rash Guard Product Image

This life jacket is perfect for use at the water park, in a pool, ocean, or on a boat. It is designed with a built-in rash guard that offers UPF 50+ protection against UV rays. Moreover, it blocks up to 93% of the harmful rays when it is both wet and dry. It also features a comfortable design that allows kids to enjoy being active in and outside the water. What’s mote, it comes with a zipper and an adjustable buckle that helps to ensure that it has a secure fit. Finally, it is also made using woven polyester that is soft and does not cause any form of chafing.

What I Love about it

  • Features UV protection
  • Is very comfortable

Something to keep in mind

  • Expensive

Buy on Amazon


9. Body Glove Paddle Pals Learn to Swim Life Jacket

Body Glove Paddle Pals Learn to Swim Life Jacket Product Image

This is the best product to use when teaching your baby how to swim because it comes with armbands for swimming lessons. It also comes with a shoulder harness that prevents the babies from removing the vest without parental approval. The life jacket is made with polyester material that is durable and does not cause chafing. The shoulder harness also keeps the vest in place for recreational activities. It features a multi-panel design and an adjustable chest strap with a quick-release buckle for added safety and comfort. This life jacket is designed for kids that are between 30-50 pounds.

What I Love about it

  • Coast Guard Approved
  • Very secure
  • Durable

Something to keep in mind

  • Not suitable for bigger toddlers

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10. Mustang Infant Survival PFD Lil Mate Vest

Mustang Infant Survival PFD Lil Mate Vest Product Image

This is a US Coast Guard Approved Type II life jacket. It is designed with a crotch strap that helps to keep the vest in place at all times. The crotch strap features an adjustable design that allows for extra comfort and safety. It fits perfectly and allows your child to move around while wearing it. The life jacket is designed for kids that are less than 30 pounds. It also features a colourful design that is ideal for kids of both genders.

What I Love about it

  • Safe
  • Fits snugly
  • Highly durable

Something to keep in mind

  • The model was discontinued.

Buy on Amazon


Safety Tips

  • Do not leave your child in the water alone if he has not learnt how to swim properly yet, even if he has a life jacket. The same rule should be applied when the baby is on a boat or near a water source like at the beach.
  • Make sure that your baby’s life jacket is not too tight that the baby feels extremely restricted. It also should not be too loose that the baby can wriggle out of it.
  • The jacket is in no way a substitute for teaching your baby how to swim. The baby should be taught how to swim as early as possible.

The Bottom Line

Each of the products mentioned on this post can be ranked as the best toddler life jacket – Coast guard approved. However, the choice you make should be based primarily on the weight of your child and the security of the product.

Choosing the best product could help save the life of your child in case of an accident. The jackets can also help you with swimming training for your child.

Other swimming and water products you may want to look at next are the best non-toxic kiddie pools or the best baby bath toys for babies and toddlers.

Shobita Ravichandran

Shobita Ravichandran

Editor-in-Chief

Shobita created Parenthood Guide back in 2015 after she found out the hard way about toxins in many safe looking baby products. She's an architect, researcher, writer and mum of two strong-willed little humans. Ever since she found out she was pregnant, she has been extensively researching natural, safe, organic and non-toxic products for her children. Now she wants to take you along on this non-toxic journey and share her findings of the best and safest baby products out there.

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