We completed a multi-point review and determined that the JetPilot Infant Life Vest is the best of the bunch! It’s built for infants up to 30lbs and has very high ratings.
The water may be fun for babies, but for us parents, it can cause some worry. As a mother of three, I understand the mixture of dread and eagerness parents feel when our babies approach the water. The best infant life jacket can alleviate some of that fear by ensuring your children stay safe.
Choosing the right one can be difficult, but I’ll help you learn more about these jackets as well as share my top 10 recommendations.
In this article
- In A Hurry? Here Are Our Top Picks:
- Infant Life Jackets – What You Should Know
- Best Infant Life Jackets – Top 10 Reviewed
- #1. JetPilot Infant Life Vest
- #2. Stohlquist Toddler Life Jacket
- #3. O’Neill Wake Waterski Infant Vest
- #4. Full Throttle Infant Baby Safe Vest
- #5. O’Neill Infant Superlite Life Vest
- #6. Stearns Infant Classic Series Vest
- #7. AIRHEAD Treasure Infant Life Jacket
- #8. Stearns Hydro Infant
- #9. Oceans7 Infant Life Jacket
- #10. Full Throttle Infant/Child Nylon Vest
- Final Thoughts
In A Hurry? Here Are Our Top Picks:
|Stohlquist Waterware Infant PFD 8-30 lbs, Yellow/Blue
|O'NEILL Superlite USCG Nylon Infant Life Vest Berry/Graphite/Smoke (4727)
|Full Throttle Infant Baby-Safe Life Jacket, Pink, Model Number: 104000-105-000-15
Infant Life Jackets – What You Should Know
If you want your baby in or near a body of water as in the case of boating, life jackets are vital. Even if your child has swimming lessons, a life vest ensures their safety in case anything goes wrong.
Even so, it’s not helpful to grab the first one you see and go with it. There are a few important considerations to think about first that’ll help you decide on a vest that best benefits your child.
Benefits of Life Jackets
Life jackets offer your loved one protection in different ways. First, with proper buoyancy, they’re able to keep your baby afloat so they don’t suck in water. Many vests geared toward infants also ensure your baby flips on their back.
Some have a pillow design on the top so that their heads remain above water as well even while they float on their backs. Also, the brightly colored ones provide greater visibility.
Before choosing any vest, consider its weight limit and dimensions.
We all know a newborn child has no business being in water unless it’s bath time. Even if you may find programs geared toward helping younger babies become comfortable with the water, not many vests are created with such young ones in mind.
Still, weight is factored in rather than age with most infant vests limiting use to those less than 30lbs. You can find some that are ideal for small babies around 8lbs, which is close to a newborn weight, but still, make sure the vest itself is designed to fit them without slipping or riding up.
When shopping for the right infant life jacket, examine the product for key features:
There are three main types of life vests: Type I, Type II, and Type III. Others fall closer to floatation devices and special-use styles.
Type II is best for young babies since it’s more focused on keeping them floating on their backs rather than helping them swim.
Keep an eye out for vests that have quality straps that also adjust well. This way, you can help it better fit your baby so there’s no risk of them coming out of it.
Also, grab straps work well at giving you another layer of safety. For instance, if you’re boating, the strap lets you pull them up in case they fall over.
Coast Guard Approval
Always check the inside of the vest to see if it’s approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. In addition, the labels should tell you what activities the vest is approved for as well. You can double check on more life vest rules by state, if you wish.
Ease of Use
The vest should go on easily and quickly enough, and it helps if your baby’s movements aren’t completely hindered. This way, they may feel more content wearing it. Also, strap adjustment should be straightforward.
Best Infant Life Jackets – Top 10 Reviewed
Your baby’s comfort is as important as their safety, and this U.S. Coast Guard approved JetPilot Infant Life Vest takes this to heart. This jacket features an easy zipper and buckle system so that you and baby may not fuss when putting it on.
The material seems soft and gentle against their skin. Meanwhile, the top part serves as a pillow as well for whenever your little one tuckers out after a fun time on the beach or boat and wants to just lie down.
This is made to fit infants who weigh less than 30lbs. The crotch strap helps secure them better, and the grab handle provides you with an additional means to catch them in case the unexpected happens.
As for fit, it should stay on your baby snug, but not tight enough to prevent them from freely moving around. However, some may feel that it’s a touch heavy. Still, your baby should be protected and able to still move their arms and play.
This vest is also created in a single, bright yellow color to add to the overall visibility so your baby will always be in sight.
- Soft, comfortable material
- Top doubles as a pillow
- Bright color for easy visibility
- Might feel a bit heavy
The Stohlquist Life Jacket is a Type II Coast Guard approved vest that fits infants with the weight range of 8lbs to 30lbs in addition to a smaller infant-specific size. It comes in six different bright color styles.
It has a specific design that doesn’t hinder mobility. Instead, your baby’s arms will be exposed so that they can continue to play. The double collard allows for full movement of their heads too.
Both the large armholes, V-neck front, and the open back are aimed to give your baby more comfort. This also helps prevent chafing, a helpful feature for your baby’s sensitive skin.
For some babies, this may fit a touch bulky, which can also lead to flipping them on their stomach so take caution when fitting it on your child. Adjustability is well made in this, however, so you can secure it better, more so with the built-in crotch strap. More safety is found in the grab handle on the back.
This is relatively easy to get on and off of your baby too thanks to the zippered front and the single buckle.
- V-neck design for comfort
- Good adjustability
- Doesn’t hinder mobility
- Chance for it to turn kids on their stomach
This O’Neill Wake Waterski Infant Vest is a Type II vest that’s made to grow along with your baby as long as they’re under the 30lb max weight limit. As a Coast Guard approved jacket, this should help your baby flip to their back and keep their head from getting the water, allowing them to float with ease.
You can select from multiple color styles, all bright enough so that your baby is instantly recognized if out in the water or just playing nearby. For more safety, it features a reliable grab strap.
This vest grants your baby room to grow as you can adjust the straps a good deal. However, there’s a chance that it can ride up against their face, which might make some babies uncomfortable.
Also, there doesn’t appear to be much breathability in the vest, so it may not work out if worn for a long time. Even so, there is good support around the head and neck area. Also, the vest is designed durable so that it’ll hold up for a long time.
- Room to grow
- Durable construction
- Good head and neck support
- Might ride up around the face
Made in a modern style, the Full Throttle Infant Baby Safe Vest uniquely cradles your baby. Rather than the traditional crotch straps, there’s an elastic fabric leg strap that adds another layer of security. Made in two colors, the vest is approved Type II by the Coast Guard.
With a buckle opening at the collar, it should help make the vest easier to put on and take off. The collar itself is oversized, and the buckle design helps you adjust it somewhat. This collar design also provides better support.
Made for children less than 30lbs, this vest has an encircling waist belt that fastens securely for safety. The grab strap allows for quick recovery, while the reliable floatation foam keeps them on their backs.
There’s a chance it might not be entirely comfortable though as the vest may push up against the baby’s chin too often. So, it may work better for the occasional time spent near a body of water.
- Comfortable between the legs
- Adjustable neck
- Quality, solid construction
- Can push up against baby’s chin
The O’Neill Infant Superlite Life Vest works best for infants up to 30lbs. It features a front zipper that works fast and smoothly. This comes in two colors, and both are bright enough to keep both the vest and your baby obvious to the naked eye.
With the vest, you’ll find that it has a quality head panel attached that helps ensure your baby’s head remains out of the water. The material seems gentle enough that it may not upset your baby.
Adjusting this between their legs is simple enough, and the vest should be naturally snug fitting for more safety. However, the limit may be restricted a bit. The vest is rather bulky, so this may not be the most ideal one to put on your baby if you want them to get some swimming in.
Even so, it does its job of auto-correcting your baby in the event they fall into the water or roll on their stomachs.
- Zips up and down quickly
- Quality head panel
- Snug fitting
- Might limit movement
The Stearns Infant Classic Series Vest is certified approved, and it’s stated to have a max 30lbs weight limit. It’s designed to help introduce your baby to the water, so they should have some decent mobility while wearing this.
However, this doesn’t always immediately flip babies back to their back, so if they happen to fall onto their stomachs, there’s a chance they may ingest some water.
There’s still a grab strap built-in so that you may help them out. The headrest is useful too at stopping their head from bobbing in the water. Also, the leg strap grants the vest and your baby greater security.
Made in blue or red, this vest features reliable material with an adequate amount of padding. The zipper front should assist you in putting it on your baby faster, and the straps are webbed to help them last longer for frequent swim sessions.
- Nice headrest
- Straps are long and adjust well
- A good amount of padding
- Doesn’t flip babies to their back well
The AIRHEAD Treasure Infant Life Jacket comes in two cute ocean-inspired designs for your little one, both vividly colored. Fitting infants less than 30lbs in weight, this vest provides them with great flotation.
Approved as a Type II vest, this is made with a segmented headrest for both comfort and safety. There’s also a quality grab handle for you to use.
The zipper closes well, and both the waist belt and crotch strap further secure your baby and gives you breathing room to adjust it. Some do feel the crotch strap is a bit too long though, so you may want to have them wear shorts so it won’t rub against them.
Also, although the closed sides may give them more security, it does hinder the baby’s ability to grow with this vest. So, you may have to replace it sooner rather than later. Still, they have some good mobility to try to float and bob around the water.
- Closures secure well
- Provides good mobility
- Sides are closed for extra safety
- Crotch strap seems too long
The Stearns Hydro Infant may be the best life jacket for small infant wear. It’s designed to support babies up to 30lbs, but the overall sizing allows smaller ones to fit comfortably and remain secured.
Coast Guard approved and labeled as a Type II vest, this gives your baby enough wiggle room so that they can still walk around and enjoy themselves. It’s made with a large number of safeguards such as adjustable straps, a padded headrest, and the grab handle.
Putting it on may prove difficult for some because of the back zipper and strap system. However, once it’s on, it fits snug without feeling tight.
The vest is made from high-quality materials, and the blue coloring is vibrant and instantly recognizable.
- Allows baby to walk around well enough
- Doesn’t fit too tightly
- Good number of safeguards
- Not the easiest to put on
With the Oceans7 Infant Life Jacket, you receive a vest made in either a bright pink or blue style. It’s Type II made and approved for use around various bodies of water such as pools and lakes.
Although this is designed to fit infants from 8lbs to 30lbs, some of the sizings may be inconsistent or inaccurate. So, check with the dimensions to make sure that your baby will fit well in an infant one rather than the company’s child size vest.
The vest does stay in place well enough without riding up though. It features quality nylon construction, and the adjustable straps offer great security.
With its open side design, your baby may be able to grow into this vest before moving onto a child one.
- Doesn’t ride up
- Keeps them face up well
- Durable nylon construction
- Inconsistent sizing
The Full Throttle Infant Vest comes in three bright color options, two of them having child-like designs that your baby may enjoy. Beyond being pleasing to look at, the vest is Coast Guard approved to keep your baby on their back.
There’s a good deal of ways you can adjust this so that your baby can wear it for a long time and remain secured. With that said, there may still be too much bulk in this vest. In turn, this may limit their mobility, so it’s not the best to swim in.
The floatation aspects are wonderful, however, so the vest certainly does its job. There’s also some quality head support that’s comfortable and helps them stay out of the water.
This also has an adequate crotch strap and a quality zipper for ease of use.
- Cute child-friendly design
- Good adjustable range
- Comfortable head support
- Too bulky for some babies
As parents, it can be frightening and exciting to watch our babies develop a love of water. Whether they’re playing in it or simply enjoying it from the beach or a boat, we can cut down on some of our fear by making sure they have a quality life vest on.
From our list, we feel the JetPilot Infant Life Vest is the best rated infant life jacket. It has an easy system for putting it on and adjusting it before your baby can get fussy. The top doubles as a pillow for comfort and safety, while the bright color makes it highly visible. It fits snug and gives you peace of mind.