The Top-Rated Life Vests For Kids This Summer

Life Vests For Kids

Abigail ScottByAbigail Scott
Updated on 8/13/2022

Safety should be their priority when kids have fun on the water. However, comfort is also quite important, particularly if you want to instill in your children a love of boating and swimming that will last a lifetime. Water wings and other blow-up toys are nothing more than a fun way for your children to float on boats, but they are not intended to be used as lifesaving gear in any circumstance. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) emphasize the importance of children always wearing life jackets in and around bodies of water such as rivers, lakes, and oceans, even if they are strong swimmers. Drowning claims the lives of more children aged one to four than any other cause except congenital disabilities.

Despite this, not every life vest is designed to be worn in each circumstance. Therefore, we provide a variety of life vests for kids that can be worn in different cases. It is essential to purchasing a life jacket, but if you follow our recommendations, the process won't have to be unpleasant for you. Are you looking for adult life jackets? Check out our article comparing the many life jackets available for adults participating in water sports.

Best Kids' Life Jackets

1. STEARNS' Child Classic Series Life Vest comes in the first place as the best overall product for children.

2. The Puddle Jumper Life Jacket and Rash Guard by STEARNS is our pick for the best two-in-one product.

3. Child Life Jacket, Oceans 7, Comes in a Spectacular Variety of Colors

4. The O'NEIL Youth Superlite Life Vest is our pick for the best overall product for older children.

5. THE OVERALL CHOICE THAT IS THE BEST FOR INFANTS AND TODDLERS: Infant Classic Series Vest - STEARNS

6. According to Boating Magazine, STEARNS' Heads-Up Child Vest is the Best Vest for Boating.

7. EASY ON AND OFF: Kids' Life Jacket - STOHLQUIST WATERWARE

8. KID-APPROVED: Paddle Pals Learn to Swim with a Body Glove and a Life Jacket.

9. The Original Puddle Jumper Kids' Life Jacket by STEARNS is the Best Option for Children Who Cannot Swim.

10. Puddle Jumper Original Kid's 3D Costume Life Jacket - Winner of the award for Best Costume Life Vest

STEARNS

11. Child Life Jacket with Body Glove made of the BEST NEOPRENE

Here Are A Few Things To Bear In Mind

When it comes to selecting a life jacket for your kid, the most important thing to keep in mind is, of course, their safety. If you keep these things in mind, we believe you can select the safest alternative for your kid without giving up the excitement and adventure that comes with enjoying water activities throughout the summer.

Accredited By The United States Coast Guard

The United States Coast Guard has given its stamp of approval to every one of the life jackets we have included in this pack, and this was done to ensure the children's safety while they were out on the water. The majority of the personal flotation devices (PFDs) that we cover are "USCG Type III"; however, there are five other varieties of PFDs (flotation aids). The offshore life jackets are designated as Type I, the near-shore life jackets as Type II, the throwable devices as Type IV, and the special-use life jackets as Type V.

Fit

For it to be safe and functional, a life vest has to have the right fit. It should be snug but not too tight; if it is, it is possible that your child has outgrown it, and it will no longer offer enough buoyancy. When a youngster is in the water, a vest that has been tied shouldn't ever rise over their face; if it does, the vest is probably too big for them.

Weight

Before you click "purchase," make sure you weigh your kid and measure the diameter of their chest. Most life vests are available in three weight categories, ranging from 30 to 50 pounds, 50 to 90 pounds, and less than 30 pounds.

Materials

The outside layers of life vests are often constructed from nylon, polyester, or neoprene. At the same time, the inside is typically filled with polyethylene (PE) or expanded polyethylene (EPE) foam, which is very buoyant and is also entirely recyclable.

Use

If your child is a little kid who is already an expert swimmer and wants to spend the day kayaking, they will require a different kind of life jacket than if they are a non-swimmer who is coming to the pool for the first time.

Practice

One more piece of advice from the experts, handy for children less than 5: Practice. As a means of problem-solving, you should assist your kid with putting on and removing the life jacket before you take them out on the water. The life jacket should be tested in a supervised setting, such as a public or private pool, or in water that is not turbulent, with an adult present.

How We Made Our Choices

First, we looked at the suggestions made by professionals to obtain an idea of which life jackets are the most reliable and of the best possible quality. We also looked at the recommendations made by the United States Coast Guard. We reviewed customer reviews to determine which products on the market are the most reliable, risk-free, and entertaining. All of the life jackets that we discuss are from respected manufacturers such as Stearns, O'Neil, and Body Glove and are rated very well overall, with an average rating of 4.5 stars or above on Amazon.com.

1. STEARNS' Child Classic Series Life Vest Comes In The First Place As The Best Overall Product For Children

Stearns Child Classic Series Vest
4.6/5
92%
Value for money
92%
Light weight
86%
Comfort
82%
Stretch

Pros:

  • A perfect match
  • Perfect for kids weighing 30 to 50 pounds
  • Versatile

Cons:

  • Plenty of buckles and straps to fasten and undo

Important Particulars

  • Dimensions (L x W x D): 13.7 x 12.7 x 5.3 inches
  • Nylon and PE foam make up the materials.
  • Options: 2 colors

This life jacket's price is lower than most others, and it is only available in two colors; yet, it does not skimp on safety features. This robust nylon vest, which is part of Stearns' Classic Series and is authorized by the United States Coast Guard, has PE flotation foam and is created by Stearns.

Three buckles and a leg strap can be adjusted to provide an additional safety level. It is intended for children weighing between 30 and 50 pounds. The life jacket and safety vest were designed to keep children safe as they participated in water-based activities such as boating, tubing, and other similar pursuits. Many reviewers compliment both its longevity and its versatility. A large number of straps ensures a secure and comfortable fit; however, it also means that putting it on and getting it off takes a significant amount of time.

2. The Puddle Jumper Life Jacket And Rash Guard By STEARNS Is Our Pick For The Best Two-In-One Product

Pros:

  • The adjustable buckle promotes a secure fit
  • A pliant substance
  • The high degree of mobility

Important Particulars

  • Dimensions (L x W x D): 16 x 12.9 x 4.7 inches
  • Polyester is the material.
  • Options: 4 patterns/colors

This life jacket comes from Stearns' well-known Puddle Jumper brand and has an integrated rash guard with UPF 50-plus sun protection. This means it will block 93 percent of UVA and UVB rays, regardless of whether the jacket is wet or dry. It is certified for use on boats by the United States Coast Guard, and it enables a complete range of motion for children weighing 30 to 50 pounds. Additionally, it has sleeves, a back that zips up, and a clasp to guarantee a snug fit. Reviewers were quite enthusiastic about the product's wide variety of usage, including paddleboarding, swimming in the water, and snorkeling.

3. Child Life Jacket, Oceans 7, Comes In A Spectacular Variety Of Colors

Pros:

  • Highly malleable and adaptable
  • It fits kids 30-50 pounds
  • Durable

Cons:

  • There have been reports from certain consumers that it is on the small side
  • Important Particulars
  • Dimensions (L x W x D): 13 x 12.5 x 3 inches
  • Nylon and EPE foam make up the materials.
  • Options: 6 colours / patterns

This choice from Oceans 7 is a good improvement for anybody looking for an economical life vest that is also a little more colorful and entertaining to wear. It is simple to see why more than 1,300 buyers have given it an average rating of 4.7 stars. Because it is authorized by the United States Coast Guard and available in various sizes, the vest is an excellent choice for children of all ages, including newborns, toddlers, preschoolers, and older children. It is buoyant and long-lasting, thanks to its construction combination of nylon and dense EPE foam. It is possible to wear the vest on the boat or at the beach for the whole day since it is constructed with open sides and three adjustable straps for a comfortable fit; nevertheless, some buyers have mentioned that it runs a little small.

4. The O'NEIL Youth Superlite Life Vest Is Our Pick For The Best Overall Product For Older Children

Pros:

  • Not bulky
  • Durable
  • Great for youngsters 50-90 pounds

Important Particulars

  • Dimensions (L x W x D): 15 x 13 x 5 inches
  • Nylon is the material
  • Options: 5 colours / patterns

This Type III vest from the reputable manufacturer O'Neil is a fantastic choice for older children who have outgrown more petite life jackets but aren't ready to move on to the adult department of the store. The streamlined form of the life jacket, which the United States Coast Guard has authorized, allows older children more significant movement. Additionally, the life jacket is simple to put on and take off and can be used for various water activities. However, reviewers have cautioned that it runs small, so getting a size more significant may be necessary. The product is designed for children who weigh between 50 and 90 pounds.

5. THE OVERALL CHOICE THAT IS THE BEST FOR INFANTS AND TODDLERS: Infant Classic Series Vest - STEARNS

Stearns Infant Classic Series Vest
4.7/5
90%
Support
88%
Value for money
78%
Comfort

Pros:

  • Great value
  • Durable
  • Effective

Important Particulars

  • Dimensions (L x W x D): 16.4 x 13.1 x 3.6 inches
  • Nylon is the material
  • Options: 2 colors

This life jacket from the Stearns Classic Series is an option that comes highly recommended and is suitable for children weighing less than 30 pounds. It's a tried-and-true method for keeping children safe on the water, no matter the weather or the circumstances. In addition to a leg strap, an adjustable chest belt, a zippered front closure, and a grab handle, the life jacket that has been certified by the United States Coast Guard is made of nylon and has PE flotation foam sandwiched between two layers of the foam. Customers have given this vest an average rating of 4.7 stars, and reviewers agree that it does a great job of keeping newborns safe in the water, whether in the ocean or the pool.

6. According To Boating Magazine, STEARNS' Heads-Up Child Vest Is The Best Vest For Boating

Pros:

  • Accurate sizing
  • Comfortable

Cons:

  • Bulky

Important Particulars

  • Dimensions (L x W x D): 19.4 x 15.9 x 6.1 inches
  • Nylon is the material.
  • Options include three different sizes

This Stearns life jacket is an excellent choice for non-swimmers who want to spend a significant amount of time on boats throughout the summer. Designed to keep a youngster unable to swim or unconscious on their back with their face up, the vest that the United States Coast Guard has authorized is an excellent choice for children who weigh between 30 and 50 pounds. The vest may be held in place thanks to the collar handle and the two straps around the wearer's waist. Additionally, the crotch area of the vest is cushioned. Its high visibility in the water is facilitated by the brilliant green hue, which serves as an additional safety element. The fact that the vest is somewhat cumbersome is one of its drawbacks; nonetheless, if you are sailing on the ocean, you may put your mind at ease while wearing it. More than 2,500 users have rated it an average of 4.8 stars.

7. EASY ON AND OFF: Kids' Life Jacket - STOHLQUIST WATERWARE

Stohlquist Child PFD Life Jacket
4.6/5
88%
Comfort
84%
Value for money
60%
Safety Features

Pros:

  • Great for kids 30-50 pounds
  • Exceptional precautionary measures
  • Single crotch straps with a quick release buckle

Cons:

  • Pricey

Important Particulars

  • Dimensions (L x W x D): 19 x 18.1 x 2.2 inches
  • Nylon is the material
  • One size and color option only

This life jacket is an excellent choice for parents looking for a simple coat to put on and take off and offers a high level of protection. The United States Coast Guard has authorized this life jacket for children weighing 30 to 50 pounds. It has a wrap-around foam thinner on the sides and rear to allow children more freedom of movement. In addition, the Stohlquist vest has quick-release crotch straps, adjustable shoulder straps, security buckles, and a front zipper. The only drawback is that it is more costly than the vast majority of the other choices.

8. CHILDREN ARE SATISFIED WITH Paddle Pals. Learn To Swim With A Body Glove And A Life Jacket

Pros:

  • Super comfy
  • Excellent protection mechanisms
  • Good fit for kids 30-50 pounds

Important Particulars

  • Dimensions (L x W x D): 11.9 x 10 x 5.6 inches
  • Nylon is the material
  • Options: 7 colours / patterns

This choice is perfect for families that have children who like being in the water but despise having to wear life jackets. The "learn to swim" life jacket from Body Glove is a favorite among children because of its colorful and engaging patterns (think: sharks, clams, crab, fish). The safety vest has connected armbands, a safety shoulder harness, an adjustable chest stripe, and a fast-release safety clasp. In addition, the shoulder harness and chest strpe may be adjusted. It is optimal for use in swimming pools and lakes since it was intended to keep children safe even as they gained confidence in the water.

9. The Original Puddle Jumper Kids' Life Jacket By STEARNS Is The Best Option For Children Who Cannot Swim

Stearns Original Puddle Jumper Kids Life Jacket
4.8/5
96%
Light weight
92%
Comfort
90%
Durability
90%
Range of motion
90%
Value for money
86%
Stability

Pros:

  • Babies adore it
  • Encourages independence
  • Effective and risk-free

Cons:

  • The children quickly outgrow it

Important Particulars

  • Dimensions (L x W x D): 18 x 18 x 2.7 inches
  • Nylon is the material
  • Options: 8 colours / patterns

Are you looking for the training wheels for the pool? This life jacket has been authorized by the United States Coast Guard and is meant to keep your child safe and buoyant in collections while also giving them the confidence to learn how to swim. If your child does not yet know how to swim, you should get this life jacket for them. The Stearns vest was designed to resemble inflatable water wings, but it included a more secure construction and an additional cushion wrapped across the upper chest. This is appropriate for swimming under the supervision of an adult in pools or seas when circumstances are calm. It has received the praise of the highest order, with more than 20,000 customers on Amazon giving it an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars.

10. Puddle Jumper Original Kid's 3D Costume Life Jacket - Winner Of The Award For Best Costume Life Vest

Pros:

  • Great for kids 33-55 pounds
  • Kids may be more motivated to swim if they wear costumes.
  • Fabrics that are not too stiff will not cause chaffing

Cons:

  • There are pricier variations available within the set

Important Particulars

  • Dimensions (L x W x D): 17 x 15 x 4
  • Nylon is the material
  • Options: 2 colours / styles

Children can play pretend as a variety of characters when they wear a costume life vest from this series, such as an astronaut, a ladybug, a cheerleader, or a soccer star. All of them have been authorized by the United States Coast Guard, and this particular crab has adjustable back buckles so that children may grow into it as they age. Additionally, it is intended to provide children with great movement. Additionally, the fabric is comfortable and won't be chafe even if they wear it for many hours. They are an excellent method to provide less experienced swimmers with additional confidence and incentive to take their first dip in the water, and they will also keep them safe when they are out on boats in the sea and lakes.

11. Child Life Jacket With Body Glove Made Of The BEST NEOPRENE

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • a supple fabric
  • Compatible with a wide variety of aquatic activities

Important Particulars

  • Dimensions (L x W x D): 19 x 13.5 x 2.5 inches
  • Neoprene is the material
  • Options: 2 colours / patterns

This neoprene life jacket is lightweight, sturdy, and comfortable, but it is also fade-resistant, which means that it will protect your children from the sun and the water during the summer. The vest, which the Coast Guard has authorized, provides the highest possible level of comfort. It has a YKK zipper, two heavy-duty quick-release buckles, and mesh drain pockets in key locations. In addition, there is a grab hold for further protection. It comes in two different vibrant color combinations that are sure to grab your attention and is made specifically for children who weigh between 33 and 55 pounds.

After we give you some of our recommendations for life vests for kids, please let us know if you like our recommendations for them.