The Ultimate Buying Guide To Purchase The Best Life Jacket For Kids

The Ultimate Buying Guide To Purchase The Best Life Jacket For Kids

Life jackets save lives. If you want to keep your children secure and safe in all types of water situations, such as swimming and boating, the best accessory you can provide them is a premium quality life jacket.

It is essential that you choose the best U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets to guarantee complete safety of your toddlers and babies. Don't select uncomfortable and bulky life jackets since these items offer little protection to your growing kids.

Kids Life Jackets

Thousands of people, including children die every year while boating or playing in the water. CDC ranks drowning as the second leading cause of death for all children who are between the ages of 1 and 14.

There is plenty of research evidence to suggest that wearing life jackets is the best and safest precaution you can take to prevent drowning accidents. These jackets are also termed as personal flotation devices and are approved by the U.S. Coast Guard to guarantee complete safety. There are hundreds of life jackets available which are engineered to protect kids of all ages.

Although boating laws regarding the use of life jackets vary from region to region, many states prohibit boating for anyone under the age of 6 or 14 years of age without using life jackets. But all others require everyone to wear a life jacket as per the laws established by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.

Best Life Jacket For Toddlers And Kids

Buying the best life jacket for kids is crucial for ensuring safety. Never take the safety of your children for granted as when you are in the water, things can go wrong in a split second.

By making your children wear a life jacket, you give them a valuable accessory to prevent accidental drowning in an unfortunate incident. You have to be well-prepared for facing the worst case scenario. The best part is that these life jackets are available at affordable price tags.

Wearing Life Jacket While Water Surfing

That's why there is no reason why you shouldn’t invest in a life jacket. All items are available in multiple sizes and various colors so you can choose the best one according to your taste and preferences.

It doesn't matter if you are going on a boating trip or a fishing trip; there is just the right kind of life jacket for you on the market. Make sure your kids are wearing a life jacket even if they are playing on the beach or sailing with their siblings. Since these safety accessories are also available for toddlers, you can make sure your little ones stay safe at all times too.

Kids don’t like to wear bulky and uncomfortable life jackets. That’s because the extra items on their bodies don't let them have the fun they deserve when they are playing or swimming. For that reason, you should invest in high quality but a light-weight jacket that has the right size for your kid. Moreover, you should always buy a jacket that is Coast Guard approved.

In this buying guide, we aim to highlight the essential features of a premium quality life jacket so you can easily buy the best product which fits your budget and needs. We also present a few models that have already won the hearts of today's consumers.

Here are some of the best life jackets for kids that you can admire for their quality, performance, and durability.

Winner: Full Throttle Youth Hinged Life Jacket

Our proud winner for the best life jackets for kids is the impressive Full Throttle Youth Hinged Flex-Back Swim Jacket. The life vest benefits from the latest of manufacturing technology and sports a contemporary design to satisfy even the most demanding consumers.

  • Ultimate drainage and comfort with smooth span inner
  • Lightweight and soft flotation foam
  • Maximum mobility with stretchable Flex-Back insert
  • Five waterproof segmented hinge points
  • Perfect for all children and youths between 50-90 lbs
  • U.S. Coast Guard approved
  • Available in great colors

Thanks to its incredibly bright colors, you get better visibility to spot your child. Its stretchable flex back features inserts to offer ultimate comfort. The fantastic youth vest comes with a smooth span inner for maximum drainage as well as five segmented hinge points. Since it hs light-weight and soft flotation foam, your kids will love to wear this jacket all the time. a

Another great feature of the jacket is its two lock-on buckles. When you close the jacket, your kids feel secure thanks to its snap close lock. You will be glad to see the incredibly fast drying time, which means that your kids can get right back into the water to have endless fun.

Full Throttle Youth Hinged Life Jacket



The Full Throttle Life Jacket is a great life vest for kids. The Rapid Dry feature guarantees comfortable movement to make it one of the most comfortable jackets for children. With five segmented hinged points on the body of the vest, you get maximum flexibility.

The life jacket is a Type III Personal Flotation Device, which the USCG certifies. Buyers are in love with its light-weight design. The product is an excellent choice for children who weigh anywhere between 50-90 pounds. Most of today’s life jackets offer that standard weight capacity. With comfortable and smooth inner parts as well as a front zipper, the jacket is easy and quick to wear.

The product is available in stunning reflective colors for maximum visibility. Buyers who have invested in this life jacket consider it a premium quality product, which is worth every penny. It is available in blue and purple colors for just under $38 on

Runner-Up: Full Throttle Child Water Buddies Life Vest

Our runner-up is another fantastic life jacket from Full Throttle. The Child Water Buddies Life Vest is not only great to look at but also gives plenty of protection to keep your kids safe and happy.

  • Incredible foam and design to offer complete protection
  • Imaginative characters to attract your children
  • Leg straps, waist belts and a zippered front for keeping the inside intact
  • Perfect for all children between 30-50lbs
  • Coast Guard approved
  • USCG Type III device
  • Available in great colors

We all know how some of the kids don’t want to wear a life jacket. For that reason, this is the right option for kids who would love to wear this themed life jacket for a fun-filled water adventure.

You get a variety of themes from dinosaur to astronaut and also a ladybug. The life jacket offers all the safety features you look for in a high-end product. The jacket features a large grab handle at the top and three buckles with one between the legs and two across the chest to keep your little one safe during an exciting water sport or swimming.

You also get additional security with a zippered front. Your kids will never let go of this jacket that offers a unique blend of innovation and manufacturing technology.

Full Throttle Child Water Buddies Life Vest



It is a fabulous Type III floatation device to keep your little one safe in the water. Although the jacket doesn't feature additional head support, it has other options to give the best protection to your children.

The product is available in various child-friendly and cute designs, which are suitable for both boys and girls. Since it is a Coast Guard approved jacket, there are no doubts about its performance during an accident.

The model is shaped to flip your child on his back should he falls face down into the water. It also has a crotch strap for making sure your kid doesn't roam about freely and without protection.

This reasonably priced life jacket promises complete safety. Thanks to its features and safe design, it should be on the list of any parent. The Full Throttle Life Jacket has received positive reviews from happy buyers who rate it as a premium quality life jacket for kids. The price tag starts from a little over $27.

Alternative: Stearns Youth Watersport Classic Life Jacket

When shopping for the best life jacket, another great option to choose is this incredible model. The Stearns Youth Watersport Classic Life Jacket features a sophisticated design for children who want to wear the same life jackets as their parents.

  • Leg strap and three buckles for maximum security
  • Closed-side vest for mobility and comfort
  • Constructed with durable and premium quality materials
  • Coast Guard-approved life jacket

The design and appearance give an adult feel to the jacket. With a fantastic pattern on the sides and a one-inch secured webbing, it is an excellent life jacket for kids who want to have fun and still look great.

It is true that most models with this design are likely to slip off because water makes them heavy. But that's not the case with the Stearns Youth Life Jacket. Its classic design features a leg strap so parents can safely adjust it for ultimate stability. The product delivers the promised results by keeping your kids safe and guarantees a highly entertaining water adventure.

Stearns Youth Watersport Classic Life Jacket



The Child Watersport Classic Vest is a Coast Guard-approved PFD, which features an adjustable crotch strap, three modifiable chest belts and two large armholes for maximum flexibility. It also incorporates a webbed strap and a tough 200D-nylon shell with PE foam inside to keep your young ones safe throughout the year.

This one is a perfect product for swimming, boating, and tubing and fits all the kids who weight between 50 and 90 pounds. It is a great life jacket for everyday water sports and can also be a suitable fit for boating adventures.

Customers who have bought the incredible life jacket praise its incredible features and durable performance. The classic life jacket is available from $25 on

2nd Alternative: O'Neill Youth Superlite USCG Life Vest

If you are looking for a quality vest that fits your children perfectly, trust in the O'Neill Wetsuits brand which brings nothing but the best of products to its large consumer base. The Youth Superlite USCG is a proof of the brand’s commitment to deliver high quality.

  • Constructed with nylon polyester
  • USCG Approved  
  • Ideal for water sports and swimming
  • Great design for ultimate flexibility and mobility
  • Comfortable, lightweight polyethylene foam

This particular life jacket has a relaxed fit for accommodating a wide range of body types but never compromises on security. Its unique designs with large arm holes make it one of the best life vests for kids for all boating, wakeboarding and swimming adventures.

Minimal bulk allows complete mobility and flexibility for a smooth tubing or boating experience. Thanks to its impressively durable coated polyester shell, the jacket is sure to last a long time.

Another great feature is its lightweight polyethylene foam which makes the vest both comfortable and soft. It is a beautiful life vest for children who love to spend a great deal of time in the water.

O'Neill Youth Superlite USCG Life Vest



Like all other premium quality life jackets for kids, the Youth Superlite is a USCG approved jacket which means you never have to worry about the quality of this product. The vest is built to protect your children against all water conditions.

Along with its nylon shell and quick-release buckles, the design of the jacket makes it easy to wear and never bothers your young ones. It offers excellent floating abilities thanks to its closed-cell PVC Marine foam.

All customers who have purchased the Super Lite life jacket seem to love its features and durability. However, some buyers have complained about sizing. Make sure you take accurate measurements of your children before ordering this jacket. Keep in mind that it is mainly for children between 50-90 pounds. It is available for nearly $30 in attractive colors on

3rd Alternative: TRC Recreation Kid’s Super Soft Vinyl Vest

TRC Recreation Vinyl Vest is another fabulous life jacket for kids. The TRC Recreation Super Soft Vinyl Vest comes in a multitude of colors and multiple sizes. The looks of this jacket are stunning, and it offers lots of security for kids of all ages and sizes. 

  • Constructed out of closed cell foam and waterproof vinyl
  • Multiple sizes available
  • Available in various colors
  • Dries quickly
  • Ideal for long water activities

Since it is a Coast Guard Approved Type III life jacket, you can expect nothing but the very best out of this waterproof vest. The makers have made it from premium quality waterproof vinyl, and features closed cell memory foam to guarantee a durable performance.

Another great feature of the life vest is its comfortable and lightweight design which makes it ideal for all types of water activities. The life jacket benefits from two snap buckles for a secure fit and also features a crotch strap. This vest is manufactured to fit all children who weight less than 50 pounds. The model caters to a chest size of 23-24 inches.

The TRC Recreation life jacket is a light-weight and comfy safety accessory which comes in 5 different colors so you can easily choose your favorite one for your little kid.

TRC Recreation Kid’s Super Soft Vinyl Vest



The TRC Recreation Kids Super USCG life jacket provides a great alternative to bulkier vests. Its vinyl-covered, closed-cell foam construction contributes to the creation of a lightweight jacket.

The material is also unique since it doesn't absorb water which means your children won't feel chilly after playing in the water. The lifejacket dries almost instantly which makes it an ideal accessory for all water sports and activities.

Customers who have purchased the life jacket are in love with its fabulous design and durable construction. However, a few buyers have noted that the size chart should offer better clarity than it does right now. Overall, it is a recommendable USCG Approved life jacket, which is great for children of all sizes.

Why Wearing A Life Jacket Is Crucial

Heading to the beach or for a fun-filled outdoor adventure sounds like a lot of fun. But most parents fail to realize that lack of safety or the absence of the right equipment can make things take an ugly turn.

If you have young children who need constant supervision, you certainly need a life jacket to ensure complete safety. Wearing a life jacket not only reduces drowning risks but also keeps your kids warm and secure regardless of the weather and water conditions.

However, this does not mean that your children won’t need supervision. No matter how shallow the water is, always monitor your children and make sure the vest they are wearing is not too heavy or bulky.

Whether you are at a water park, the beach, a public pool or a home pool; a life jacket can save your child from an unfortunate accident. Life jackets are not just for kids. Parents should also wear life jackets, especially when they don’t know to swim well.

The market has various types of products, which come in all shapes, sizes, and materials. Regardless of the kind of life jacket you choose, make sure it is US Coast Guard Approved.

How To Buy The Best Life Jacket For Kids


The U.S. Coast Guard has categorized life jackets into five groups. However, only Types I-III are approved for kids to use. Always buy the product which is best suits to the kind of water conditions and activities you are planning for your child. 

Kids Life Jackets For Rent

Type I: Offshore Life Jacket

These jackets are ideal for open-ocean or survival in rough seas. If you are going for an adventure to a remote area where quick rescue is impossible, always choose this type of jacket for your children.


  • Manufactured to turn an unconscious kid face up
  • Offers good buoyancy


  • Feature a bulky design
  • Extended wear can lead to discomfort

Type II: Near Shore Buoyant Vest

Such life jackets are perfect for calm inland water or boating activities.


  • Less bulky than type I
  • Capable of turning some (not all) unconscious kids face up


  • Not ideal for extended support in rough waters

Type III: Flotation Aid

These life jackets are most suitable for calm and stagnant water.


  • Light-weight and comfortable
  • Ideal for extended wear


  • Not designed for open seas or rough waters


Contemporary life jackets offer the right balance between safety features and a great design. Most of the life jackets available on the market for kids provide USCG-certified safety. However, you should also check the interior design of the product to make sure it offers both comfort and security.

Here are three types of designs to consider:


All inflatable life jackets mechanically deploy upon submersion in water or are manually inflated. However, these jackets are not approved for kids under the age of 16 and are not recommendable for individuals who can’t swim. These items need extra maintenance.

Inflatable Life Jacket

Inherently Buoyant

The primary material used in making these life jackets neoprene or floatable foam. They require little maintenance and are exceptionally durable. 


These jackets feature an inflatable chamber as well as light material in their construction. Hybrid jackets are available in various child sizes but usually need regular fitness checks. They are less bulky but may not be ideal for all types of water sports. But kids who don't like to wear a bulky life jacket usually prefer wearing hybrid jackets.


Parents sometimes end up buying life jackets that are too big for their children. Never assume that your child will grow into a larger size or be more secure in a smaller fit. Buying the wrong size can put your child’s safety in danger.

Make sure you take precise measurements before buying a life jacket that fits your child. Carefully read all the instructions on the label and the description of the product. 


The sole reason for buying a life jacket is to protect the life of your precious child. Make sure the product you are buying features reliable and robust security features such as a zippered front and sturdy locks. Never settle for something that looks inferior in quality because it can fail to keep your child secure.


Technology has come a long way to revolutionize our clothing. That's why choosing the best life jacket for your kids can be tricky but not impossible. If your child loves to indulge in water sports or likes to enjoy water adventures to the fullest, you should buy the best life jacket to fuel his/her passion, while keeping them safe at the same time.

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