Nothing beats the happiness of kids enjoying the water in the summer. Splashing around, experiencing new things and learning different activities. Kids often don’t realize the perils around them, which makes it easier for them to learn, but also means you have to take extra precautions. Having them wear a correctly fitting life jacket is the easiest and most convenient way to keep them safe on the water.
Top Choices for Kids Swim Vests
It’s an undeniable fact that kids are constantly growing. The last thing you want is to get to the beach or lake, ready to go out on the water, only to discover they’ve grown out of last year’s life jacket.
This is where we come in. We’ve taken a look at the different youth swim vests for kids weighing between 50 and 90 pounds, and come up with four top choices. We’ll take a closer look at the features of each of them to help you make an informed decision.
Oceans7 US Coast Guard Approved Youth Life Jacket
If you’re heading out in a vessel of any kind, you’ll need a life jacket that’s certified by the US Coast Guard (USCG). Oceans7’s youth life jacket is USCG approved, making it perfect for any activity on the water. It has an open-sided design for increased flexibility and comfort, with three adjustable straps featuring plastic buckles.
This new and improved version also boasts an even longer chest strap to give the maximum size and fit range. Made from durable nylon and thick EPE floatation foam, kids can use this for swimming as well as on board vessels.
The youth size comes in two bright color options: pink/berry with a hibiscus flower pattern and blue/white with a shark motif. They also have child size (for kids weighing 30 – 50 pounds) in two colors and an infant life jacket for kids under 30 pounds.Buy on Amazon
Stearns Youth Boating Vest
Don’t let the title fool you: this Stearns vest is for more than just boating. With a USCG approval as a Type III personal floatation device (PFD), it’s designed for any activity on board a vessel or in the water. Much like the Oceans7 life jacket, the Stearns features open sides and three adjustable straps across the front.
Made from durable nylon and PE floatation foam, with 1 inch nylon webbing and plastic buckles. It comes in bold red or blue, with gray straps and lining. The colors might seem plain compared to some of the more fun options for life vests, but the red is easily visible out on the water which gives you added peace of mind.Buy on Amazon
Airhead Trend Life Vest
If you’re looking for a youth life vest with closed sides, Airhead’s Trend life vests are here. The three adjustable straps feature quick-release plastic buckles for added safety. Their youth life vests are USCG Type III approved, making them ideal for use on vessels or during any kind of watersport.
These vests are made of a soft woven 200 denier polyester with a lightweight Poly-E foam inside. The youth sizes come in two colors: hot pink/sky blue with white straps and blue/green with black straps. Airhead also carries adult versions of the same swim vest, so the whole family can look stylish on the water together.Buy on Amazon
Stohlquist Fit Youth Life Jacket
Some watersports require a lot more activity from participants, so your kids may need a life vest with more room to move. Enter the Stohlquist Fit Youth version. This life vest has sculpted foam paneling designed to give the maximum mobility, with rounded corners and edges for increased comfort. The back panel has been slimmed down to reduce interference with high seat backs on different vessels.
Just like all the other life vests on this list, Stohlquist has three adjustable straps with plastic buckles, but has an added loop on the back of the neck for storage. Unlike the other vests on this list, Stohlquist’s life vests come in four different color options: black/gray, blue/black, green/black and red/gray. Kids will love having a greater range of movement for any water-based activity, and you’ll love that it’s durable, lightweight and USCG approved.Buy on Amazon
Nothing is more important than making sure your kids are safe at all times. Joining any kind of activity on a body of water is dangerous for anyone of any age. Wearing a correctly fitted life jacket not only ensures that it won’t come off in the water, but also ensures there is enough buoyant foam to keep them floating. With spring in the air, and summer just around the corner, now is the perfect time to update your current summer activity gear.
- Look for any signs of wear and tear
- Check the suggested age, weight and height limits
- Try on to gauge comfort
If your current life vests of PFDs are lacking in any of the above areas, it is probably a good time to replace them. Most PFDs on the market are USCG approved, but it is always worth double checking to make sure the approved type is for your intended use.
All of the life jackets on this list are USCG certified, so they will keep your child equally safe. The only consideration you will have is for the fit, color and shape of the jacket, and which water sport you’ll all enjoy next.