9 Best Infant Life Jacket And Vests (up to 30 lbs)

It’s never too early to introduce your child to water-based activities, whether that means playing beside the pool or out boating. That means it’s never too early to fit them out with the right safety equipment either and the most important piece of gear is a good infant life jacket.

The best infant life jackets must provide excellent head support because unlike an adult or older child, small babies can’t help to keep their own head up. Avoid simple buoyancy aid types such as baby floaties and choose a vest with a full collar.

Also, look for secure fastenings and high visibility; an infant will be dependent on the vest to stay safely afloat. While infants and toddlers are technically in the same weight group (up to 30 lbs) as far as life jackets are concerned, we do have slightly different recommendations for toddler life vests.

See Also:  Best Life Jackets for Kids 30-50 Lbs.

And don’t forget a good kids sunscreen. It’s easy to get preoccupied with making sure the life jacket fits correctly or is comfortable on your little one that we forget the basics such as sun protection.

See Our Favorite Infant Life Jacket + Vests

ProductUSCG ApprovedSizeColors
best-infant-life-jacketStohlquist InfantType II8-30 lbs3
baby-life-vestO'Neill Wake-WaterskiType IIUp to 30 lbs6
best-newborn-life-vestSalus BijouxNo*9-25 lbs5
top-infant-personal-floatation-deviceStearns Heads-UpType IIUp to 30 lbs1
life-jacket-for-infantsO'Neil SuperliteType IIUp to 30 lbs2
baby-neoprene-life-vestAirhead WickedType IIUp to 30 lbs1
comfortable-infant-life-vestFull Throttle InfantType IIUp to 30 lbs2
coast-guard-approved-infant-life-jacketStearns ClassicType IIUp to 30 lbs2

* not officially USCG approved since there is no testing standard for children under 20 lbs.

See Also: Where to Buy a Life Jacket (19 Options)

Infant Life Jacket Reviews

#1 – Stohlquist Infant Life Jacket

The Stohlquist Infant (formerly called the “Nemo”) life jacket is a unisex baby flotation device for children weighing up to 30 lb. It’s a lightweight, low profile, type 2 PFD (necessary for this age) with a nylon shell, secured by a front zipper and a backup quick release buckle at the waist.

The PFD is fully adjustable for security and comfort, should fit most children down to 3 months old, and comes with US Coast Guard approval.

What inspires confidence about the Stohlquist is its flotation capability, especially the large double collar. It provides excellent support to a baby’s head and neck so should ensure that the occupant floats safely with their mouth and nose well clear of the surface.

Maximum floatation for babies is critical and Stohlquist will do a great job turning the infant face up if it came to that.


At the same time, a large back flotation panel acts to hold the baby more upright. Judging by user comments in various online forums, the Stohlquist also seems more comfortable than most of its competitors.

A common problem with infant life jackets is the front panel riding up over the baby’s face, which is uncomfortable and can even interfere with their breathing. This model has a V-neck design to avoid this problem.

If an infant ends up in the water, the Stohlquist will do a great job of keeping them afloat until they can be recovered. Recovery will also be easy; there’s a large, sturdy grab loop behind the collar, so a bobbing baby can be safely retrieved.

The Stohlquist infant size life jacket is currently offered in 3 color options, almost all with contrasting trim. Those with yellow or red are highly visible and are preferred.

The dark blue one, however, is not recommended. It looks smart and stylish, which could attract a lot of parents. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stand out well against water and could delay the recovery of an infant, so we don’t recommend this color. Stick with the red or yellow; it’s a safety device, so make the most of it.


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#2 – O’Neill Wake-Waterski Coast Guard Approved Infant Vest


This O’Neill is another good choice for smaller babies and also has the USCG Type II designation. It’s a bit bulky but gives excellent head and neck support, and just feels secure.

The O’Neill baby flotation device has two waist buckles as well as an adjustable crotch strap.

While this or any other life vest on this page can also be used in the pool, you may want to instead consider a baby pool float. Your baby will probably be much happier.

One less good point is the color options, with most of them heavily based on medium to dark colors and not as visible as they could be. Blue is fashionable, but we don’t think fashion should be a factor in safety gear. Apart from that, though, this is an excellent life jacket.

Update:  The O’Neill Wake-Waterski now comes in 6 different color combos with most of them being highly visible. The blue is still available but we suggest opting for one of the brighter color combos.

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#3 – Salus Bijoux Baby Vest


The Salus Bijoux Baby Vest fits infants from nine to 25 pounds with chests from 12 to 18 inches around. This infant life jacket was designed with your baby’s comfort in mind with a fully adjustable mesh and webbing harness system.

Safety features include a three-piece collar design with additional flotation that cradles your little one’s head in the center of the collar, for your peace of mind.

We love the Dry-Lex Aerospacer liner that gives this baby vest breathability, so your child will stay cool. The mesh back also allows your baby to lie back comfortably on a blanket or in a baby carrier.

Parents also appreciate the vast range of adjustments, allowing you to customize the fit for the baby’s comfort and security.

The design of this personal flotation device ensures that your baby floats perfectly on his or her back in the water. It doesn’t ride up in the water, and parents report that their little ones can crawl, sit up, or take a nap without experiencing discomfort. The easy-to-reach lift handle is a bonus when you’re in the water.

The Salus Bijoux Baby Vest won the Canadian Safe Boating Award for Best Safety Product; however, it is not USCG approved. It’s a wonderful product for floating at the beach, lake, or pool, but it doesn’t meet legal requirements for boating. This flotation jacket comes in five adorable colors for boys and girls.

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#4 – Stearns Infant Life Jacket – Head Up


The Stearns Heads-Up life jacket for infants under 30 pounds is a US Coast Guard-approved Type II approved floatation device. Although it’s not quite as comfortable as the Salus Bijoux Baby Vest, it is rated for use when boating near shore or kayaking.

This vest is designed to turn your little one face-up when in the water, which is crucial for babies who don’t know how to swim or could become unconscious in an accident.

This flotation device for babies features two adjustable straps that go around the baby’s waist and an adjustable, padded crotch strap for a custom fit. The crotch strap also performs the critical function of keeping the vest from riding up or coming off in the water.

The Stearns Heads-Up PFD also features a handy grab handle which is a must at this age.

The bright, lime green color of this baby life jacket gives it excellent visibility in the water. Some parents reported that the buckles are a little stiff, but still manageable. The Stearns Heads-Up life vest is a bit bulky, but that’s to be expected in a Type 2 PFD.

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#5 – O’Neill Superlite Infant Life Jacket


Another quality O’Neill product, the Superlite provides all the quality of a Type-2 floatation device without being as heavy as similar vests. The coated polyester shell is filled with lightweight polyethylene foam for excellent front support. Three quick-release Delrin buckles make the vest both secure and easy to remove.

Designed to position toddlers on their backs, the vest features a collar that folds down when not needed and a safety strap to allow for quick retrieval when your child’s in the water.

Properly adjusting the crotch strap will simultaneously keep your child from tugging the vest down and the collar from pushing up against their face.

Once properly adjusted, a few parents have found their babies are so comfortable that they fall asleep while wearing one. As a type-2 PFD, this vest is a little difficult to swim in but is great for teaching your infant how to move around on their backs.

With an affordable price and Coast Guard approval, the Superlite will provide both comfort and peace of mind from a well-known company.

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#6 – Airhead Wicked Kwik-Dry Neolite Baby Vest


Airhead’s Wicked Kwik-Dry Neolite Vest is a US Coast Guard-approved Type II PFD for infants up to 30 pounds. This infant life jacket has a closed-sided design, a zippered closure, and adjustable waist and crotch straps for comfort and safety.

This infant PFD also features quick-release buckles for added security.

The Wicked life vest is breathable, flexible, and lightweight. It’s made from a quick-drying material that’s intended to keep your baby comfortable in or out of the water.

Parents report that the built-in crotch strap prevents the jacket from riding up or coming off in the water, and since the length is adjustable, it can be customized for smaller babies.

This life jacket for babies features a large collar that doubles as a headrest to keep the baby safe and comfortable when floating in the water. A large, sturdy grab handle is also included on the back of the collar.

The Airhead life vest is mostly bright pink for extra visibility in the water, while the contrasting black and white trim makes it fun and fashionable. Some parents had difficulty choosing the correct size for their little one, so allow extra time for exchanging if necessary.

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#7 – Full Throttle Infant Baby-Safe Vest


The Full Throttle Infant Baby-Safe Vest is a US Coast Guard Approved Type II PFD for infants up to 30 pounds. This vest has a convenient buckle opening at the collar, so it’s much easier to put it on than many other baby life jackets.

It was also designed with an extra comfortable, elasticized leg strap that keeps the vest from riding up or coming off in the water.

We love the oversized collar that provides extra head support and safety. The encircling waist belt and shoulder strap are adjustable for a secure, custom fit. This design also features a convenient grab strap for easy recovery in an emergency.

Parents report that their babies are comfortable enough to nap and crawl around in this PFD.

This baby-safe flotation vest comes in two colors: pink and orange. It’s a bit bulkier than some PFDs, but most reviewers say it’s worth the trade-off for their peace of mind. The Full Throttle Infant Vest is very affordable, making it one of the best budget baby life vests on the market.

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#8 – Stearns Classic Infant Life Jacket


Stearns has a reputation for quality which can be seen in this traditional-style PFD for infants under 30 pounds. Beginning with a durable nylon shell and PE floatation foam, this vest includes secure one-inch webbed straps and an open-sided vest design.

The chest belt and leg strap are fully adjustable to comfortably fit your child, while the rescue handle on the collar allows for easy retrieval from the water.

As with many similar vests, there are additional weight ranges so your infant can continue to use the same style once they outgrow the infant size.

On some of the smallest infants, this and other vests may prove bulky even after adjustment, although properly adjusting the vest after zipping it up can minimize how far it rides up.

The Classic Series provides high quality at an affordable price and is fully Coast-Guard approved. We recommend choosing the red version over blue for easier visibility when in the water.

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