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Best Infant Life Jacket: Definitive Guide (2021)

The Best Infant Life Jacket

Since you love your children and will do your best to protect them, you’ll need a life jacket for their time on the water

But how do you know which of the several jackets available on the market is best for a child? 

Well, we’ve done the hard work for you and will now show you the best infant life jacket picks and how to choose one for your child. 

In this review, you’ll learn: 

  • The best life jackets for infants;
  • Unique features that make them suitable; 
  • Their safety, comfort, and durability levels; 
  • Lots more. 

Let’s get on! 

Best Safety Life Jacket For Infant

1 – Stearns Classic Series Kids Vest

Stearns Classic Series Kids Vest

Check Current Price
Value for Money
9
Comfort
9
Durability
9
Safety
9
Overall Score
90
  • Manufacturer: Coleman
  • Material: Nylon and PE flotation foam
  • Size: 16-20 inch
  • Type(PFDs): II
  • Weight: 30 lbs

Bottom Line : Versatile life jacket with features to keep a child from drowning

Pros


  • Durable nylon shell
  • It comes with a leg strap
  • It has a grab handle

Cons


  • Foam’s thick around the neck 
  • Not well-fitting for small babies

The Stearns Classic Series Vest is designed for kids weighing around 30lbs. This US Coast Guard flotation device will give your children the safety they need during water activities.  

Look at this…

The safety gear has foam padding that will keep infants’ faces up in case of an accident. It also comes with a grab strap you can use to pull a drowning child up from the water. The chest belt is easily adjustable, and the leg strap that comes with the infant life vest will give your child a snug fit.

Plus, there’s no worry about infants slipping up, thanks to the belt and zipper that give children extra safety.

This infant PFD has a durable nylon shell that will make it useful for several swim lessons and seasons.

Read Full Review: Stearns Classic Series Kids Vest

Best Affordable Life Jacket For Infant

2 – Stohlquist Coast Guard Approved Life Vest for Infants

Stohlquist Coast Guard Approved Life Vest For Infants

Check Current Price
Value for Money
9
Comfort
9
Durability
9
Safety
8
Overall Score
88
  • Manufacturer: Stohlquist
  • Material: 200 denier oxford shell and liner
  • Size: 11-20 inches
  • Type(PFDs): II
  • Weight: 8 lbs

Bottom Line : Affordable life jacket with high buoyancy level and perfect fitting

Pros


  • Comfortable neck opening
  • Padded head support
  • Visible colors
  • Large grab handle

Cons


  • Short crotch strap
  • Zipper rubs against the chin

The Stohlquist Coast Guard approved type II infant life jacket is designed with your child’s comfort and protection in mind.

This baby life jacket has foam materials that will keep your child’s face up and give them enough protection and stability while on the water.

Let’s be honest…

Your child still needs adult supervision any time they’re out on the water with family. But with this best infant life jacket, you can be sure of their safety and comfort. The life vest design is such that it gives children mobility alongside reliable head support.

Your child will also stay safe and comfortable in the snug fit safety gear that comes with an adjustable crotch strap. And there’s a buckle over the easy-to-use zipper to hold your child tight.

Read Full Review: Toddler Life Jacket Coast Guard Approved

Best Type II PFD Infant Life Jacket

3 – Airhead Treasure Life Vest

Airhead Treasure Life Vest

Check Current Price
Value for Money
8
Comfort
9
Durability
9
Safety
9
Overall Score
88
  • Manufacturer: Airhead
  • Material: Soft UV and 200-Denier Polyester
  • Type(PFDs): II
  • Weight: 15-30 lbs

Bottom Line : USCG approved Type II jacket for optimum attractiveness and safety

Pros


  • With grab handle
  • Attractive to children
  • It has a crotch strap
  • Ultra lightweight

Cons


  • Headrest can be uncomfortable 
  • Extremely long crotch strap

Children will love this PFD because of its attractive color combos.

But that’s not all…

The USCG approved Type II jacket comes with a front zipper for easy wearing and taking off. And your kids will stay safe because of the vest design.

First, there’s an adjustable waist belt at the top region of the infant life jacket. Then, there’s a crotch belt to provide your children with extra safety on the water.

Airhead Treasure life vest also provides a segmented headrest that gives infants good mobility and comfort around the head.

While these infants move freely around the waters, you can be sure that the US Coast Guard approved baby life jacket will keep your child safe. That’s because of brilliant safety features like the grab strap that allows parents to pull children right out of the water.

Read Full Review: Airhead Treasure Life Vest

Go to Analysis, Comparisons & Ratings

Best Heat Support Life Jacket For Infant

4 – Full Throttle Infant Baby-Safe Vest

Full Throttle Infant Baby-Safe Vest

Check Current Price
Value for Money
8
Comfort
9
Durability
8
Safety
9
Overall Score
85
  • Manufacturer: Full Throttle
  • Material: Nylon
  • Type(PFDs): II
  • Weight: 30 lbs

Bottom Line : Super comfortable jacket providing easy mobility and breathing space

Pros


  • Convenient buckle opening
  • Elasticized fabric leg strap
  • High-quality padding

Cons


  • Can be oversized
  • Bulky foam

What we first noticed about the Full Throttle infant baby-safe vest is the unique vest design.

This best infant life jacket has an adjustable buckle opening around the neck collar. This safety feature makes it easy for an infant to wear the USCG approved infant life jacket.

What’s more…

Your child will be safer with the buckle straps and waist belt that prevent slipping off. This type II infant life jacket has high-quality foam padding that provides more buoyancy and protection of baby life.

The USCG approved flotation device has an oversized collar serving as a neck pillow for comfortable headrest. Also, the leg strap is elasticized, making it comfortable for children to kick around waters freely.

Though bulky, this PFD will protect your child under adult supervision.

Best Durable Life Jacket For Infant

5 – Stearns PFD Type II Infant Life Jacket

Stearns PFD Type II Infant Life Jacket

Check Current Price
Value for Money
8
Comfort
8
Durability
9
Safety
8
Overall Score
83
  • Manufacturer: Coleman
  • Material: 400-denier nylon oxford
  • Size: 30-52 inches
  • Type(PFDs): III
  • Weight: 1.35 lbs

Bottom Line : Lightweight jacket protecting children for several seasons

Pros


  • Lightweight foam
  • Quick-release buckles
  • Brightly colored
  • High-quality material

Cons


  • Neck hole is quite tight
  • Limits mobility

If you want a flotation device that’s passed the testing standard of the US Coast Guard, and will last through many summers, the Stearns PFD Type II infant life jacket is your best option.

This life vest is made from polyethylene, a lightweight fabric that provides more buoyancy to children. It will keep your child’s head face up, while the foam collar keeps water away from their head.

Yet there’s more…

This personal flotation device comes with three quick-release buckles providing a security wrap around a child’s body. You’ll also find a zipper at its center to give your child stability in water.

Out of the several infant life jackets on the market, this one stands out for its durability. The construction of polyester, nylon, and PE flotation foam will remain in good condition to protect your child from water disasters for a very long time.

Best Comfortable Life Jacket For Infant

6 – O’Neill Infant Superlite USCG Life Vest

O'Neill Infant Superlite USCG Life Vest

Check Current Price
Value for Money
8
Comfort
9
Durability
8
Safety
8
Overall Score
83
  • Manufacturer: O’ Neill
  • Material: polyethylene foam
  • Size: 20-24 inches
  • Type(PFDs): II
  • Weight: 30-50 lbs

Bottom Line : Super comfy jacket for sensitive skin and better head support

Pros


  • Has neck safety loop
  • Mesh for drainage
  • Heavy-duty webbing
  • Brightly colored for quick recovery

Cons


  • Quite heavyweight
  • A little pricey

This is one of the best baby life jackets on the market. It is also the most comfortable one you’ll find for infants.

The type II US Coast Guard approved jacket is made with high-quality polyethylene foam for more buoyancy. This safety feature will protect infants that love playing in the water.

Here’s something…

There’s a head panel to keep infants’ face up in the water. The head support will hold up the neck comfortably while staying soft on their skin.

You can use the adjustable buckles to achieve a comfortable and secure fit for your child. Also, the quick-release system on the buckles makes it easy to wear and remove. And the neck is open enough to protect an infant without disturbing a free head movement.

Best Stain Resistant Infant Life Jacket

 7 – Airhead WICKED Kwik-Dry NeoLite Flex Life Jacket

Airhead WICKED Kwik-Dry NeoLite Flex Life Jacket

Check Current Price
Value for Money
8
Comfort
9
Durability
9
Safety
8
Overall Score
85
  • Manufacturer: Airhead
  • Material: Closed-cell PVC foam and polyester
  • Type(PFDs): II
  • Weight: 30 lbs

Bottom Line : Highly adjustable life jacket you can maintain easily.

Pros


  • Soft, comfortable material
  • Very lightweight
  • It gives a snug fit
  • Stain resistant

Cons


  • Zipper not so strong
  • Zipper close to the head
The Best Infant Life Jacket

The Airhead Wicked Kwik-Dry Neolite life vest is the most water-resistant of all infant life jacket options. The personal flotation device also boasts extreme durability and protection.

Look at this…

The US Coast Guard approved jacket made with closed-cell PVC foam and polyester is lightweight and softer than most baby life jackets. Its material makes it easy to keep your child’s face up as water trickles off quickly.

The baby jacket comes with a zipper, two-buckle strap, and bottom strap to hold your child in place. And the vest’s close sides and segmented design will provide your child with mobility.

Since the infant life jacket is lightweight, most infants will find it comfortable to wear. Plus, the soft material is great on sensitive skin and will minimize chafing. 

Read Full Review: Airhead WICKED Kwik-Dry NeoLite Flex Life Jacket

Best Infant Life Jacket With Head Pillow

8 – CWB Connelly Infant Nylon Life Jacket

CWB Connelly Infant Nylon Life Jacket

Check Current Price
Value for Money
8
Comfort
8
Durability
8
Safety
8
Overall Score
80
  • Manufacturer: Connelly/CWB Board Co.
  • Material: Nylon
  • Size: 12 inches
  • Type(PFDs): II
  • Weight: 30 lbs

Bottom Line : The jacket offers maximum comfort and head support

Pros


  • Adjustable vest
  • Well padded collar
  • Comes with a grab handle

Cons


  • Doesn’t fit perfectly
  • Sometimes slips off

The Connelly infant life jacket combines comfort with safety, as there’s head support for babies on board.

Your child will be safe using this unique life vest. This one is not like the common infant life jackets. All you need to do is strap the vest on their body. And it will keep babies relaxed while keeping them safe in the water.  

That’s not all…

The US Coast Guard approved life jacket has shoulder straps you can use to adjust the vest collar. That way, the jacket does not slip off. Also, the collar is well-padded and positioned high to provide proper neck support for infants.

Best Ultimate Fit Life Jacket For Infant

 9 – O’Brien Baby-Safe Infant Life Vest

O'Brien Baby-Safe Infant Life Vest

Check Current Price
Value for Money
8
Comfort
9
Durability
8
Safety
8
Overall Score
83
  • Manufacturer: O’ Brien Watersports
  • Material: Neoprene
  • Type(PFDs): III
  • Weight: 30 lbs

Bottom Line : A perfectly fitting jacket that’s both easy to wear and maintain

Pros


  • Stretches to fit
  • Super comfy and soft
  • Easy to wear
  • The fabric dries out quickly

Cons


  • Quite bulky
  • Not perfect for smaller babies

The O’Brien Baby-Safe Infant Life Vest is one of the best infant life jackets for babies you’ll find around.

Apart from being soft, comfortable, and durable, one thing that makes it stand out amongst other best infant life jackets is that you can stretch the neoprene material to fit a baby perfectly.

Here’s more…

Because of its construction style, putting it on and off a baby is super easy. Also, the foam around the neck will keep your baby stable and hold their face above water.

The U.S Coast Guard approved baby jacket comes with straps to keep the baby in place, including a grab strap for quick recovery.

Best Ultra Soft Life Jacket For Infant

 10 – Mustang Survival – Infant Foam PFD

Mustang Survival - Infant Foam PFD

Check Current Price
Value for Money
7
Comfort
9
Durability
8
Safety
8
Overall Score
80
  • Manufacturer: Mustang Survival
  • Material: Nylon, polyester
  • Size: 15-23 inches
  • Type(PFDs): II
  • Weight: 30 lbs

Bottom Line : Extra soft jacket to protect children against the water

Pros


  • Ultra-soft material
  • Sturdy grab strap
  • Adjustable belt
  • Easy-to-unclip straps

Cons


  • Quite heavy
  • Doesn’t grow with babies

You won’t need to bother about the safety of your baby on the water when they wear a mustang survival baby jacket.

Because of its weight, my thoughts were that it would be uncomfortable. But I was wrong- the foam is soft on the skin.

The US Coast Guard Approved jacket is the best ultra-soft jacket when you compare it to other infant life jackets out there.  The fabric is extra soft, and the head pillow will cradle a baby’s head to keep them out of the water.

What’s more…

Your baby will stay secure, with an adjustable waist belt and front zipper that give babies a secure fit. There’s also a crotch strap you can quickly unclip where a baby needs a diaper change.

Why Trust Us?

Most parents want their babies to learn how to swim quickly. Plus, it’s cool having the entire family on the water for a good time. But how do you keep them safe in case of water accidents, and what are the best infant life jackets?

Well…

We’ve done all the necessary research and testing for you. We looked at several life jackets on the market and checked to see which of them will be best for your baby.

After considering the safety and comfort, babies will get wearing them, and how durable and valuable they are, we narrowed the best life jackets to 10.

These puddle jumpers are what you need to keep babies on board without worry. Each one provides the necessary buoyancy and comfort for when a child falls in the water and allows you to quickly pull out an infant that falls over the board.

They’ll make sure every baby remains safe.

Skip Buyer’s Guide – Go to Analysis, Comparisons & Ratings

Buyers Guide:

How To Choose The Best Life Jacket for An Infant

1. What are the different types of infant life jackets? 

Type I Life Jackets

Type I jackets are designed for use in rough seas, remote waters, and open oceans where you’ll hardly see rescue teams. A type 1 jacket will quickly turn a user’s face upwards, keeping them afloat. They are quite bulky, so not comfortable for babies.

Type II Life Jackets

Type II jackets are the best for babies. They provide enough head support for an infant, and they are not heavy. These infant life jackets often come with leg straps and grab straps for ultra-protection and mobility.

What’s more…

You’ll find them in several sizes, and you can use them for inland or near-shore water activities.

Type III Life Jackets

These flotation devices are usually lightweight but won’t turn an infant’s face up in the water. That’s why they are not the best option for a baby or infant.

Type IV Life Jackets

These life jackets are often thrown at someone in danger. And since babies cannot swim or catch a ring, this one won’t be the best option for them.

Type V Life Jackets

Since these life jackets are designed for special water adventures like water skiing, they are not suitable for babies or toddlers. 

2. Things to consider 

Here’re a few essential things to look out for when making life jacket choices for infants. 

Head Protection

You need a jacket that will keep your child’s face upward and prevent water from entering their mouth or nose. Consider Type II infant life jackets because of the head cushions or collars they provide to support a baby’s neck and head.

Visibility

Go for brightly colored jackets that will increase your child’s visibility, allowing you to rescue them quickly.  We recommend vibrant colors like yellow, red, pink, turquoise, and orange. Colors like black and grey might not help you see them quickly.

Extra straps

Infant life jackets require more protective features like grab handles and crotch straps. The grab handle is useful for quickly pulling a child out of the water.

That’s not all…

A crotch strap will keep a child in place, preventing them from slipping off.

Snug fit

Your child needs a jacket that is neither too tight nor big. That’s because they need to be able to move freely without slipping out.

Make sure to pick up the right size of infant life jackets. Look out for weight limits and adjustability.

3. Best Infant Life Jacket Top Tips

Here’re a few tips you should consider when buying a life jacket for an infant: 

  • Only go for a jacket that the United States Coast Guard approves 
  • Get Type II jackets for babies, and Type III for infants that at least know how to swim. 
  • Check the jacket label for weight information to ensure that a jacket is an appropriate size for a child. 
  • Be on the lookout for features like the neck collar, grab strap, or crotch strap, which provide more comfort and safety. 

Remember to watch the kids. A life jacket is only a temporary rescue. An adult needs to be on standby to pull a child out of the water.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do infants need to wear life jackets?

Drowning is one of the causes of death. And since parents want to acquaint their children with swimming and other related activities, you should have them wear life jackets. 

Here’s the thing…

Alongside adult supervision, wearing a life jacket around the water will prevent your child from drowning. 

Make sure they have one on, even if they know how to swim. That’s because an emergency may occur, and a child becomes tired or loses consciousness. 

The United States Coast Guard requires that every child below 13 should wear a life jacket. So yes, infants need to wear life jackets.

At what age can a baby wear a life jacket?

Based on Coast Guard regulations, parents are not expected to travel with a child that weighs less than 18 pounds or cannot wear a life jacket. This means that any baby that is up to 18 pounds can go on a boat. 

While children vary in their weight, most children will reach the stipulated weight between 4 months and a year.

How should you size a lifejacket for a child?

To get the right size of jacket for your child, check the sizing label. Note that you’re to work with the child’s weight, not height. 

Then…

Look out for how fastened the quick-release buckles or zippers are, making sure they’ll hold well and still leave room for breathing. 

Also, check for the tightness of arm openings to determine mobility. 

Overall, make sure you go for the recommended size for your child’s age. And don’t forget to check for how adjustable and mobility-friendly a jacket is.

Round-Up

Before concluding that these are the best life jackets for infants, we conducted the necessary research, surveys and went aboard ourselves.

While there are other high-performing life jackets on the market, we all agreed that these are the best for infants. 

Look at this…

Children are delicate, and can’t take care of themselves, so we had to make sure that these jackets will hold them in place to protect them while giving them the space to move freely.

Carefully, we tried to see how tightly the buckles, loops, and straps worked. Also, we examined their buoyancy levels, how comfortable they are, and how long they’ll last. 

Eventually, they all made us proud, proving to be worth every penny. 

But…

Some of them did better than the others in terms of comfort, durability, safety, and value. 

Stearns Classic Series Kids Vest emerged as our Editor’s Choice because of the unmatchable level of protection it gives, alongside maximum comfort and quality. 

Right after it comes our Best Value Award Winner, Stohlquist Coast Guard Approved Life Vest for Infants. This jacket gives buyers a bang for their money, having packed all the necessary protective features a child needs to survive a water accident. 

Our Top Pick is the Airhead Treasure Life Vest, a jacket known for its multiple safety features and attractiveness. 

Now, dive in to see how we arrived at our conclusion.

Our Analysis, Comparisons & Test Results

1. Value For Money

Nothing is too much to spend on your child’s safety, but it will make sense to get protective gear that’s worth every penny you spend on it.

These infant life jackets are the best on the market, and you won’t need to break a bank to get one of them for your kid.

Look at this…

Each one packs all the necessary features for buoyancy, comfort, and mobility. For example, our Best Value Award Winner, The Stohlquist Coast Guard Approved Life Vest for Infants, is not only affordable but will fit your child perfectly and last long.

But remember to keep them in a safe place so that they will remain in good condition for a very long time.

Rating

Stearns Classic Series Kids Vest
9
Stohlquist Coast Guard Approved Life Vest for Infants
9
Airhead Treasure Life Vest
8
Full Throttle Infant Baby-Safe Vest
8
Stearns PFD Type II Infant Life Jacket
8
O 'Neill Infant Superlite USCG Life Vest
8
Airhead WICKED Kwik-Dry Neolite Flex Life Jacket
8
CWB Connelly Infant Nylon Life Jacket
8
O'Brien Baby-Safe Infant Life Vest
8
Mustang Survival - Infant Foam PFD
7

2. Comfort

Kids can turn an adventure into a nightmare when they experience the slightest discomfort. For everyone’s ease, you need jackets with comfort-friendly features.

Guess what?

All our recommended best infant life jackets have zippers, straps, or buckles you can easily adjust and release to fit a child even as they grow. They will hold a kid in place but will sit on the skin nicely to give enough mobility.

Also, the materials are mobile-friendly. For example, the O’Neill Infant Superlite USCG life vest has an open neck design for free head movement.

These jackets will protect your child without sacrificing their comfort. 

Rating

Stearns Classic Series Kids Vest
9
Stohlquist Coast Guard Approved Life Vest for Infants
9
Airhead Treasure Life Vest
9
Full Throttle Infant Baby-Safe Vest
9
O'Neill Infant Superlite USCG Life Vest
9
Airhead WICKED Kwik-Dry Neolite Flex Life Jacket
9
O'Brien Baby-Safe Infant Life Vest
9
Mustang Survival - Infant Foam PFD
9
Stearns PFD Type II Infant Life Jacket
8
CWB Connelly Infant Nylon Life Jacket
8

3. Durability

We had to be sure that these jackets will be around even as your kids grow. So, before we went to the field, we tested the materials in the lab. That’s after gathering customer reviews from those who’ve used them.

Eventually, we saw how each jacket handles a scorching sun, high tidal waves, and even floods.

They are mostly made with 200 denier polyester, nylon, neoprene, and polyethylene foam, all of which are somewhat durable.

Here’s the truth…

Not all features are perfectly durable. For instance, Stearns PFD comes with a zipper that’s not so strong. But the two-buckle strap and crotch strap will last long and will protect any child.

Rating

Stearns Classic Series Kids Vest
9
Stohlquist Coast Guard Approved Life Vest for Infants
9
Airhead Treasure Life Vest
9
Full Throttle Infant Baby-Safe Vest
9
O'Neill Infant Superlite USCG Life Vest
9
Airhead WICKED Kwik-Dry Neolite Flex Life Jacket
8
O'Brien Baby-Safe Infant Life Vest
8
Mustang Survival - Infant Foam PFD
8
CWB Connelly Infant Nylon Life Jacket
8
Stearns PFD Type II Infant Life Jacket
8

4. Safety 

Kids need life jackets to protect them from drowning in the water. So you need a life jacket that is designed to do this easily.

Look at this…

The life jackets that made it to our final list as the best life jackets for infants are constructed for your child’s safety. They are made with high-quality materials and come with features that will keep your child’s face up, pending when a rescue team arrives, or you pull them out of the water yourself.

These designs will flip your children’s faces up. And you can be sure that they won’t come off since there are straps, buckles and even zips to keep your child in place.

Also, the materials are either water-resistant or constructed to bounce water right off. They sure will keep your kid safe when worn correctly.

Rating

Stearns Classic Series Kids Vest
9
Airhead Treasure Life Vest
9
Full Throttle Infant Baby-Safe Vest
9
Stohlquist Coast Guard Approved Life Vest for Infants
8
Stearns PFD Type II Infant Life Jacket
8
O'Neill Infant Superlite USCG Life Vest
8
Airhead WICKED Kwik-Dry Neolite Flex Life Jacket
8
CWB Connelly Infant Nylon Life Jacket
8
O'Brien Baby-Safe Infant Life Vest
8
Mustang Survival - Infant Foam PFD
8

Our Final Verdict: Best Infant Life Jackets

For a real fun time on the water, you need to be sure of everyone’s safety. 

While each one is uniquely designed, they’ll all perform well in protecting your child and making them comfortable while on board. 

Also, you’ll get value for every buck spent, especially since the materials used are of high quality and will last for years with good maintenance. 

Here’s the truth…

These are not perfect jackets without flaws, but your child will remain safe in them, thanks to their unique protective features. 

Now, see where each one of them sits on the list.

Stearns Classic Series Kids Vest
90%
Stohlquist Coast Guard Approved Life Vest for Infants
88%
Airhead Treasure Life Vest
88%
Full Throttle Infant Baby-Safe Vest
85%
Airhead WICKED Kwik-Dry Neolite Flex Life Jacket
85%
Stearns PFD Type II Infant Life Jacket
83%
O'Neill Infant Superlite USCG Life Vest
83%
O'Brien Baby-Safe Infant Life Vest
83%
CWB Connelly Infant Nylon Life Jacket
80%
Mustang Survival - Infant Foam PFD
80%

Conclusion: The Best Infant Life Jacket

Thanks to our rigorous research and testing, you now know the best infant life jackets available on the market today. 

These jackets remain the best in terms of comfort, durability, value, and of course, safety. 

Which one will you go for? Is it our Editor’s Choice, Stearns Classic Series Kids Vest, or another life jacket on our list of Best life jackets for Infants? 

You won’t go wrong with any of them. 

So, get on and have some safe fun on the water!

You can also refer to our article for best life jackets in general

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