The Best Infant Life Jackets (Ensuring A Safe and Exciting Water Experience for Baby!)

Top 5 Best Infant Life Jackets (Ensuring A Safe and Exciting Water Experience for Baby!)

Getting your baby in the water for the first time is exciting. It’s the start of a series of water fun and adventure. Before taking your child for a swim or a boat ride, however, safety should be your number one priority, and that’s where the importance of finding the best infant life jackets comes in.


Top 5 Best Infant Life Jackets

#5 Stearns Infant Classic Series Vest

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STEARNS Infant Classic Series... STEARNS Infant Classic Series... 601 Reviews from $19.42

Stearns is a trusted name when you’re talking about infant life vests. Their classic series has a float above the neck area designed to keep the wearer’s head above the water all the time.

It’s USCG-approved and has all the necessary features an infant life jacket should have such as a rescue handle, an adjustable chest and leg straps, and a durable nylon shell construction. It’s also closed on the sides for the best fit and is designed for infants 30 pounds and below. And before we forget, yes, it’s fully capable of flipping a child back up in case of falling.

What you will love about it:

  • It’s very convenient to put on and a breeze to adjust.
  • It’s well-made and would undoubtedly stand a beating.
  • The float above the neck helps the wearer rest on his back without flipping.

What you may not like about it:

  • It’s bulkier than other models and may not be too comfortable to wear for extended periods

#4 O'Neill Wake Waterski Infant USCG Vest

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O'NEILL Superlite USCG Nylon... O'NEILL Superlite USCG Nylon... 288 Reviews from $54.95

The O’Neill Wake Infant Vest is a Type II PFD that’s perfect for small children. It has a comfortable nylon shell construction integrated with a closed cell PVC marine foam that’s designed to keep baby floating face-up. IT features adjustable safety belts that comes with Delrin quick-release buckles.

It also has grab loop located on the head cushion that lets you pull your child quickly in case of emergency. Moreover, it has a flap on the back that helps keep your baby’s head above the water. What makes it unique, though, is its less bulky design, making it a comfortable choice when you’re planning to stay out an entire day.

What you will love about it:

  • Most of the floatation materials are placed in front, forcing the wearer on his back, while the head flap keeps his head out of the water.
  • It’s the perfect size for an 18-pound baby and still offers a lot of room for growth.
  • The tightening belt between the legs makes slipping through the vest impossible.

What you may not like about it:

  • The color option is limited.

#3 Mustang Survival Lil' Legends 100 Flotation Vest

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Mustang Survival Lil' Legends... Mustang Survival Lil' Legends... 2 Reviews $150.00

If you have a baby under six months old, the Mustang Survival Vest might be a good choice. It’s also a Type II vest that’s available in infant, child, and youth sizes. The infant size, in particular, is designed for children under 20 pounds.

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It features a large collar with excellent head support, plus a cutaway neck for the ultimate comfort. It also comes with a crotch strap to hold your child in place, and an adequately sized grab handle. What makes this vest unique, though, is its cooling-channeled interior back panel and its mobility-shaped panels that allow easier and more comfortable movements.

What you will love about it:

  • It’s one of the lighter infant vests available.
  • The zipper, the waist, and the crotch buckles will give you peace of mind that the vest is going to stay on.
  • The material this vest is made of is really comfortable.

What you may not like about it:

  • The floatation material is a bit too thick, making the vest bulkier than other models.

#2 Stohlquist Unisex Nemo Infant Life Jacket

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Stohlquist Infant PFD 8-30... Stohlquist Infant PFD 8-30... 173 Reviews from $54.51

This life jacket from Stohlquist is a parent’s favorite. It’s a Type II PFD with 7 lbs. 6 oz. of sea level buoyancy. It has a V-shape cut in the front so that the vest doesn’t get in your child’s face. It also features a quick release buckle over an entry zipper, plus a grab handle and an adjustable crotch strap.

What separates this vest from other models is that it’s very comfortable, making it ideal when you have to spend extended periods in the boat or water. Most importantly, it offers a unique, wrap-aroid flotation that turns your child face up.

What you will love about it:

  • It can provide excellent support to your child’s head and neck.
  • The V-neck design does an excellent job keeping the vest from covering your child’s face.
  • The grab handle makes it easy for an adult to keep the child upright.

What you may not like about it:

  • The neck area can be a little bit tight for bigger babies.

#1 Salus Bijoux Baby Vest

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The Bijoux Baby Vest from Salus is a perfect example of a mini life jacket as it’s designed for infants as small as 9 pounds. It’s actually a winner of the Canadian Safe Boating Award for Best New Safety Product, thanks to its unorthodox design.

Instead of a miniature adult life jacket that you zip and buckle across the chest, the Bijoux is designed to go between the legs with its one-piece flotation panel in the front going on either side of the wearer’s neck. It features a three-piece collar design, too, that holds the wearer’s head in the center for added comfort and security. If you want to take infant life jackets to the next level, the Bijoux is definitely a perfect choice.

What you will love about it:

  • It comes with mesh pockets for pacifiers and other small items.
  • It maintains its buoyancy even after how many uses.
  • The snug-fit design gets rid of chin pinch.

What you may not like about it:

  • It’s not Coast Guard approved

Our Pick of Infant Life Jacket

We had a hard time deciding whether we should vote for Salus Bijoux Baby Vest as our top pick or even include it on our list since its US Coast Guard approval is still pending.

After doing some research, we found out that the reason it’s not approved by Transport Canada or even by the US Coast Guard is only that they don’t test life jackets designed for wearers under 22 pounds, not because the vest doesn’t work.

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However, despite its lack of Coast Guard approval, we would still recommend it based on several reviews we have read such as the one from Families Go Outdoors’ blog post.

Some of the features we loved about the Bijoux included the following:

  • Three-piece collar design. Keeps your child’s head in the center of the collar for security.
  • Adjustable shoulder buckles. Allows your child easy access to the vest.
  • Short front panel. Allows your child to sit more comfortably.
  • Dry-Lex Aerospacer Liner. Improves breathability and promotes temperature control.

Perhaps what we loved most about the Bijoux is how it quickly flips its wearer back face-up just as shown in the video:

And oh, before we forget, yes, the Salus Bijoux Baby Vest is officially our pick for the best infant life jacket. And yes, we also highly recommend the other four contenders on our top five list in case you’re not comfortable with the Bijoux not having a seal of approval.

Your Baby’s First Water Experience

A baby can go swimming any time from birth unless otherwise advised by a doctor. It’s also best that you as the mother wait until six weeks, especially if you’ve had a C-section because there’s a chance that you’d pick up an infection if you go sooner.

When it comes to boating, however, it’s an entirely different story. The United States Coast Guards requires that babies should be at the appropriate age and weight (usually around 7 months for boys and 9 months for girls) to wear a personal flotation device or PFD before they could be allowed to travel on a boat. This includes sailboats, motorboats, kayaks, and rowboats.

Whether you’re going swimming or are taking a boat trip with your little one, there are a few important things you need to consider before dipping in the water with your baby.


The time of the day you’re going boating or swimming is crucial. If you’re going boating, keep in mind that most boaters head out around mid morning. Just like on the land, waterways experience traffic, too, although not as intense.

If you want to avoid the rush, start your day early. You’ll experience less boat traffic, but most importantly, you and your child won’t have to deal with the scorching heat of the sun, especially if you’re going swimming. Most importantly, check the weather before you go!

Water Quality

This is more applicable when you’re swimming in a pool, especially a public one.

Check the pool and ensure that it’s clean enough for your baby.

Water Temperature

Your child experiences water temperature differently, and he might feel uncomfortable with water even though it feels fine with you. The ideal water temperature for a baby is between 27°C and 30°C. Test the water first to make sure it’s not too hot or too cold.

Keep Baby Within Arms Reach

Every day, about 10 people die from drowning, and two of these are children aged 14 and below. When you’re boating or swimming, the safest place your child can be is in your arms. Boats, in particular, do not have car seats. Putting your baby on your lap and keeping him in your arms will help make sure he doesn’t fall and injure himself when you’re cruising.

Life Jacket

Once your baby is big enough to wear a personal flotation device (at least 18 pounds as per the USCG), that’s the time you can take him with you on a boat ride. And just like any other passenger on board, he must also wear a lifejacket for the cruise. The following section will show you how to pick a life jacket for your child.

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Picking The Right Infant Life Jacket

An infant life jacket is supposed to save your baby’s life should he accidentally fall into the water or if you should abandon ship. One mistake in choosing which life jacket to purchase for your child may cost a life. For this reason, it’s crucial that you know how to pick the right PFD for your little one.

First off, you need to realize that life jackets are divided into three categories or types.

Type I PFDs are also referred to as offshore life jackets and are designed for extended survival in open water. They can turn an unconscious individual face up and have a lot of buoyancy. They’re not the one you want for your baby, though, since they are bulky and not very comfortable.

Type II PFDs, on the other hand, are also known as near shore buoyant vests. They are made for general boating activities where there’s a high chance of an immediate rescue. Some models may turn an unconscious swimmer face up, which is why they’re the one you should focus on when looking for a life jacket for your child.

Type III PFDs are regular flotation aids that are designed mainly for calm, inland water. Most of these devices are not capable of turning an unconscious individual face up and are not ideal for kids and little children at all.

Now, here are five features that are vital to any infant life jacket:

  • USCG Logo or Seal of Approval. This means the device has been thoroughly tested and has passed quality assurance.
  • Keeps persons face up. Make sure you pick one that does this, especially since infants don’t have the reflex yet to save themselves.
  • Flotation collar. This feature will keep your child’s head above the water.
  • Crotch strap. This feature will secure the PFD to your child’s body.
  • Grab loop. This feature will allow an adult to quickly pull your child out of the water in case he accidentally falls in.
  • Make sure you take your child with you when shopping for a life jacket so you can test it on him and see whether it fits properly or not. This is necessary and vital.
  • To test, raise your child’s arms while he’s wearing the jacket, and if the device touches his chin or ears, then it might be too big. Try picking him up by the shoulders, too, and if he slips through the jacket, then it’s not the proper fit for him.
  • On the other hand, it’s not that difficult to tell if the jacket is too small for him because it will look too snug on him and he’ll be struggling to breathe. If that’s the case, it’s not the right size and is therefore not safe.
  • Finally, see to it that you test the jacket first by taking your child to a pool. See whether the device would flip him back up instantly when you put him on the water face down. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to find another one.

How about you? Which infant life vest should have been our top pick from our roster? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section. Thank you!

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