Having your infant around water can be anxiety-inducing. It’s not only nerve-wracking, but can be dangerous to take your infant on a boat or in the water without the proper equipment.
When it comes to ensuring a child's safety on the water, no piece of equipment is more vital than a life jacket. A life jacket is designed to keep the wearer afloat in the water and provides you with some peace of mind when taking your little ones out.
In this article, I will cover the best infant life jackets. So, when you’re on the water with your infant, you have the reassurance that they are as safe as they can be.
Keep reading to find out more.
OUR TOP PICK
The O’Neill Wetsuits Infant Superlite USCG Life Vest is designed to fit snug for your child’s safety.
Anatomically cut lightweight polyethylene foam flotation with durable coated polyester outer shell makes the vest strong yet soft and comfortable.
This life jacket features heavy-duty 1 inch wide webbing belts with quick release buckles that allow for an adjustable fit and easy fastening.
- US Coast Guard approved - This life jacket will provide you with peace of mind when boating or enjoying watersports as its US Coast Guard approved.
- Adjustable - The adjustable fit of this life jacket is designed so that you can tighten or loosen the belts to fit your child.
- Versatile - This life jacket is perfect for a variety of water activities, including swimming and boating.
- One customer claimed that this particular life jacket was quite bulky on their infant.
The Airhead Infant's General Purpose Life Vest is designed to fit infants less than 30 pounds!
This life vest features a foam collar for additional head and neck support for your infant’s safety.
The Airhead infant vests have been designed to protect and allow your infant to float by including features such as a built-in crotch strap and head pillow.
- Grab strap - This infant life vest includes a grab strap for additional safety when your infant is in the water.
- Adjustable straps - This life vest features 3 adjustable front straps to fine-tune the fit.
- Quick-release buckles - The crotch and front straps are equipped with squeeze-style quick-release buckles, so you can easily put on and remove your child’s life vest.
- One customer noted that their infant didn’t feel comfortable wearing this particular life jacket.
The O’Brien Baby-Safe Infant Life Vest is stretchy for the perfect fit!
This life jacket is made from neoprene and soft smooth span fabric for your infant’s comfort.
Whether you’re out boating or are in the water, the O’Brien Infant Life Vest is safe for multiple water activities.
- Quick-drying - This life jacket is designed to quickly drain water, so it quickly dries when you’re out on the boat.
- Easy entry - Easy to put on and take off, this life vest is designed for your convenience.
- U. S. Coast Guard approved - Rest assured knowing that your infant is safe in a U.S. Coast Guard approved life vest!
- One customer noted that this particular infant life jacket took longer than they were anticipating to arrive in the mail.
The Gogokids Baby Life Jacket Kids Swim Vest is made with super soft, high-quality polyester and cotton-filled material for your child’s comfort!
The intimate design of this life jacket conforms to the human body, providing a tight, snug fit that is safe.
This life jacket is super buoyant, so there is no need to use other products to enhance your child’s buoyancy.
- Safety buckles - Using three safety buckle designs, this life jacket can better fit the children's body and provide them with sufficient buoyancy in the water.
- Breathable - This jacket is made out of high quality, breathable materials to keep your infant cool while you’re out on the water.
- Safe - You can rest assured knowing that this life jacket is manufactured in accordance with the US UL life jacket safety certification standards.
- One customer noted that the grab handle broke on this particular life jacket.
The Stearns PFD 2000013194 5976 Type II Infant is made with durability in mind!
This life jacket is specially fitted with an extra contoured float above the neck to encourage face-up flotation.
The Stearns Infant life jacket is made with a durable polyester and nylon construction and PE flotation foam.
- Rescue handle - A rescue handle allows adults to easily move the child from the water or the boat.
- Bright color - The bright, reflective material makes quick work of spotting the child when they are in the water.
- Adjustable straps - This life jacket has two adjustable chest straps and a Hydroprene-material-covered crotch strap ensure a tight fit
- One customer noted that this particular infant life jacket was too small for their child.
Best Infant Life Jackets Buying Guide
There are a few factors to take into consideration when purchasing an infant life jacket, but it primarily comes down to the size, material, and color & visibility.
You will also need to make sure that your infant’s life jacket is made out of durable, tear-resistant material so that it will last for as long as possible.
Read the following factors before making your purchase.
One of the most important factors when purchasing an infant life jacket, or any other life jacket for that matter, is the size.
If the life jacket is too small for your infant, it will likely be incredibly uncomfortable for them and they will struggle to keep their head above the water's surface.
On the other hand, if the life jacket is too large, the jacket shoulders may ride up over the child's face, and could potentially interfere with their vision or breathing, or even slip completely off meaning that they won’t be able to stay afloat.
To find the right size for your infant, you will need to make sure that they try the jacket on, as the sizes can vary between brands and lots of them have different size guides.
You will need to confirm that it fits your child before heading to the water. With buckles or zipper secured, a properly fitting life jacket should be snug but comfortable.
It is also worth mentioning that it is normal for a child to panic when they suddenly fall into water. Panicking can make it difficult for the child to float face up, even when wearing a PFD.
Bearing this in mind, you will need to make sure that your children get used to wearing a PFD in the water before heading out on the boat for the day.
You will want to make sure that you try a few infant life jackets on your child to make sure that you have chosen the right size.
An important factor to consider when choosing an infant life jacket is the material. Generally speaking, you’ll want to make sure that you are buying your infant a life jacket that is made out of puncture and tear-resistant material for your peace of mind.
The majority of life jackets on the market are made out of either nylon, polyester, or neoprene of varying weights. PFD construction can involve the use of buoyant materials, such as closed-cell foam, surrounded by a water-proof material.
Make sure that you’re happy and have chosen a high quality material.
Color & Visibility
Another important factor to consider when purchasing an infant’s life jack is the color and visibility.
You will need to be able to easily spot your infant should they end up in the water so you can get to them as soon as possible if there’s a problem. Bearing this in mind, you should always opt for a bright color that is easy to spot.
The same principle applies to adult life jackets. It is absolutely crucial that you are visible at all times when you’re out at sea, as this will increase the chances of you being spotted should you go overboard and need help.
Neon colors work well to attract attention as they are easy to spot, and thus, make it easier for you to be rescued should you need to be.
Another thing to consider is the intended use of the infant life jacket, as different types of life jackets are suitable for different activities.
Have a think about what you and your family intend to be doing on the water, whether it’s simply a day of boating with your family or if it's for swimming, and make sure that you make a decision in accordance with that.
If you don’t get the right kind of jacket for the intended use, you could find that your infant’s movement is limited.
U.S. Coast Guard Approved
An important factor to take into consideration is whether a life jacket is U.S. coast-guard approved.
Taking your children in the water and on the boat can be nerve-wracking, and you will want to make sure that you are investing in a quality life jacket that is sure to work as it should if they go overboard.
Coast Guard certification demonstrates successful construction and performance of a product and provides quality assurance.
Most importantly, investing in a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket for your infant provides you with peace of mind when you are out on the water with your children.
You can relax knowing that your infant is safe in a Coast Guard approved life jacket, as this is the standard that all life jackets should be striving towards.
Another factor that you will want to consider when purchasing an infant life jacket is durability.
A good indication of whether a product is durable or not is to check the product reviews section.
Here, customers can leave good or bad feedback that give you a better understanding of the brand and the product itself. This is especially important if you’ve never heard of a brand, and haven’t got a reputation to go off.
If a customer has experienced the product breaking sooner than they had anticipated, then they will make it known in their review and you can make a better, informed decision about whether you want to buy the life jacket.
The product reviews also reveal a lot about a company’s customer service. If a customer has had a bad experience with a company’s customer service team, then it is likely that they will tell you so in the product reviews section.
While problems occur that are outside of a company’s control, such as a product being damaged during transit, the way that they work to resolve this issue for the customer will reveal a lot about whether you want to invest your money into them.
Always make sure that you check the product reviews section before going ahead with your purchase.
Best Infant Life Jackets - FAQ's
What Age Can A Baby Wear A Life Jacket?
The U.S. Coast Guard's Office of Boating Safety states that an infant should not travel on a boat until they weigh at least 18 pounds and can wear a PFD.
The majority of babies weigh 18 pounds when they are between 4 and 11 months old.
How Should An Infant’s Life Jacket Fit?
Life jackets for infants and smaller children (less than 50lbs) should have a crotch strap to ensure a snug fit, as well as a large float collar for head support.
An infant’s life jacket should have a tight fit without being uncomfortable. An important test when buying a child's life jacket is to pick the child up by the shoulders of the PFD. If the life jacket fits the infant properly, then the PFD will not slip above the child's chin and ears.
Always make sure that you check the weight range for which the life jacket is approved.