If you live near water, have a pool, or plan to travel somewhere that does soon – a good life jacket for your toddler is non-negotiable. Toddlers are hard to hold back from large bodies of water and pools and even those who have taken swim lessons still don’t have the strength to safely swim themselves without the support of a life jacket. Below, we’ve listed our top picks for the best toddler life jackets.
Best Toddler Life Jackets & Floaties
(Best color options — $)
Why it’s great: The Ricoco toddler life jacket features a durable design that is safe for children 20-50 pounds. These toddler floaties feature arm attachments and a chest attachment, making them safe for new swimmers. This toddler life jacket is also available in a variety of cute, stylish colors and patterns that are suitable for toddler boys and girls.
Keep in mind: This flotation device may run large on smaller kids.
Good for: Flotation support in a swimming pool.
(Best lightweight design — $$)
Why it’s great: This toddler swim vest features a lightweight design and comes in a variety of different size options to help ensure a perfect fit. The small size is designed for toddlers who weigh 20-28 pounds (ages 18 months to 2 years). This vest is incredibly buoyant and works great for toddlers who already have some experience in the water and just need additional support.
Keep in mind: This life vest may not prevent drowning, so adult supervision is still recommended.
Good for: Supporting new swimmers who have some experience.
(Best for beginners — $)
Why it’s great: The Body Glove swim vest is a great option for young children who need flotation support when playing in the water. This swim vest features floaties that go around the arms as well as shoulder harnesses to keep it safely in place. With an adjustable chest strap, you can easily mold this swim vest to fit your child safely.
Keep in mind: This flotation device is designed for children who weigh 30-50 pounds.
Good for: New swimmers who are over 30 pounds.
4. Speedo Baby Swim Life Vest
(Best zipper design — $$)
Why it’s great: The Speedo Baby swim vest features a lightweight, zipper design. This vest is soft, durable, and comfortable. The front zipper makes it easy to take this vest on and off with little hassle. This vest also features UV protection and can even help to prevent a sunburn.
Keep in mind: This vest is designed for children who already have some swimming experience.
Good for: Building confidence in new swimmers.
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(Best for smaller children — $$$)
Why it’s great: This swim vest is suitable for children ages 1 to 9 years old and has a weight range of 22-50 pounds. The buckle design makes this swim vest easy to wear and comfortable for children of all ages and weights. With two different color options, this swim vest can work well for toddler boys and girls.
Keep in mind: This life vest is not designed to prevent drowning but to provide support for new swimmers who are under adult supervision.
Good for: Toddlers and children ages 1 to 9 years.
(Best size options — $$)
Why it’s great: The Boglia swim vest is made from durable, quick-drying material and is designed to offer comfort and safety. With a variety of sizes and color options, this life vest is a versatile option that can work well for many children. The small size is suitable for ages 1 to 3, making it safe for younger children who are just starting to learn how to swim.
Keep in mind: This life vest should be used under adult supervision.
Good for: Offering support to new swimmers.
(Best for older kids — $$$)
Why it’s great: This children’s life vest is designed with a “heads up” design, meaning it will help children safely float with their face up and out of the water to prevent drowning. This swim vest is also designed with a bright, reflective material for added safety.
Keep in mind: This life vest is designed for toddlers who weigh 30 to 50 pounds.
Good for: Keeping young children safe in the water.
FAQs about Best Toddler Life Jackets & Floaties
1. What toddler swim vests are best for 2-year-olds?
When it comes to finding a safe swim vest for your 2-year-old, you’ll want to take a couple of factors into consideration. First of all, consider your child’s weight and find a life vest that will support them. All life vests and flotation devices will clearly state the safe weight limit for use. You’ll also want to consider your child’s level of confidence in the water. Most two-year-olds will not yet have the strength to swim safely without adult supervision. However, some life vests are designed for children who have some experience in the water while others are made for complete beginners. We still do not recommend letting your child swim unattended, even if they have a life vest. Lastly, you’ll want to think about what purpose you’re hoping the life vest will serve. If you are simply looking for a swim vest that will provide extra support to your toddler as you introduce them to the water, then there are a variety of great options out there. However, if you are looking for a vest that is made to prevent drowning in case your toddler falls into the water (such as when going out on a boat) you’ll want to look for specific safety certifications.
2. Do toddlers need a swim vest?
Even if your child has experience in the water, we definitely recommend having a swim vest for them just in case. Swim vests provide extra support for toddlers who are swimming in the water with adult supervision and support. Most toddlers still don’t have the strength to swim by themselves without extra flotation support, so even if your toddler knows how to swim, we recommend having a life vest on hand just in case. Also, if you plan to have your toddler on a boat or near a pool, having a life vest on them can provide an extra safety measure in the event that they accidentally fall into the water.
3. What type of swim vest is best for smaller children?
There are a variety of different weight limits when it comes to picking out a life vest for your toddler, so pay close attention when picking one and be sure to purchase a life vest that is suitable for your child. Smaller children will benefit from swim vests that are adjustable because you can easily tighten them to get the ideal fit. Some swim vests also feature an additional strap that fits between your child’s legs which can help provide an even more secure fit.
4. At what age should toddlers wear a flotation device in the pool?
Flotation devices are recommended for children after the age of 1. Although some parents start their children in swim lessons at as young as 6 months old, your toddler should still wear a life vest when playing in and around the pool for extra safety. Floatation devices can help prevent a drowning injury in the event that your toddler accidentally falls into the pool. However, it is still recommended that young children remain under close adult supervision when playing in and around a pool even if they are wearing protective gear.
5. Do toddlers need a life jacket at the beach?
Beach safety is a bit different than pool safety. Some parents don’t realize that a life jacket is needed at the beach, given that children can play in shallower water. However, it is still important that toddlers wear protective clothing such as a life vest when playing at the beach because even shallow water can pose a safety hazard. Waves from the ocean can easily cause a toddler to lose their footing and fall underwater, even in shallower water, so it is always recommended that parents dress their children in a life vest when playing at the beach. It is also recommended that children wear a life vest at the beach from birth on to 5 years of age. Look for a life jacket that is designed to support the head to prevent drowning.
As parents, our children’s safety is naturally the top priority. Taking extra steps to keep your child safe in certain situations, such as playing at the beach or by the pool, can help protect your child and give you additional peace of mind. When it comes to choosing the best life vest for your child, you’ll want to consider your child’s age, weight, and swim experience level. Consider how you plan to use the life vest and if you are looking for a vest to prevent drowning, you’ll want to do plenty of research and look for a vest with safety certifications.