Three Ways to Keep Young Swimmers Afloat

A youth-sized life jacket is a necessity for any young person on the water, but that doesn’t mean it has to be awkward or uncomfortable.

Man on a beach with two young children
In most places, children under a certain age are required to wear a PFD anytime they’re on or near water.U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Outfitting your child in a safe, comfortable, U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket will help you enjoy your own days at the pool, lake, or beach, knowing that you’ve made your best decision when it comes to child safety. There’s a huge range of personal flotation devices (PFD) available for young swimmers, but there are definitely features you’ll want to look for that will make it more likely that your child will wear the jacket without discomfort or complaint. When choosing such a critical piece of lifesaving (and fun) equipment, make sure to match the product with your child’s age, size, and swimming habits.

Stearns Original Puddle Jumper Kids Life Jacke, Life Vest for Children

Tykes Afloat

This product is designed for children weighing between 30 and 50 pounds.Stearns

Hugely popular inflatable “water wings” aren’t a great choice for the youngest swimmers, because they can slip off small arms. Instead, look for Coast Guard-approved children’s life jackets that give more flotation than water wings, with the added security of buckles and straps. These next-level PFDs are just as comfortable as water wings, with much greater safety.

New & Improved Oceans7 US Coast Guard Approved, Child Life Jacket

Play Hard and Safe

This life jacket has lots of straps for adjustability, making it perfect for kids who play actively in the water.Oceans7

For active kids who love pool jumping, lake swimming, and boating, a life jacket designed for movement and comfort will make everyone’s life easier. Look for open sides with adjustable straps, and a deep V at the collar to prevent the life jacket from rubbing against your child’s neck. A strap that snaps between legs adds an added measure of security by preventing the life jacket from riding up uncomfortably.

Stearns Heads-Up Child Vest

Heads Up!

Brightly colored child’s life jackets will help you keep track of your swimmer.Stearns

For the smallest swimmers, look for a life jacket specifically designed to keep a child’s head out of the water. Built with an additional flotation panel flap above the neck, these life jacket’s help keep a child floating face up.