13 answers

Baby Life Vest

I have a 22 month old daughter who only weighs about 24 lbs., I'm looking for advice on what type of life jacket to buy for her for a trip to Hawaii. Does anyone have any recommendations? Thanks!

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The last two years Costco has had some life jackets for toddlers. They have the strap that goes under the crotch and the "pillow flap" with the handle (to grab them with if they fall in). They don't usually come out until summer though.

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Hello! I am new to the area and just moved here from Annapolis (sailing capital of the world:)). I would recommend going to West Marine. They should have what you need. Look for a life jacket that is Coast Guard approved. It should have straps that go around the waist and in between the legs. Also, it should have a head protector (float device) and strap, so you can pull her if you need to. Her head would rest on the head protector. It is law in Maryland that all children be in life jackets and we would never leave the dock without both of them in jackets. In fact our kids (now 4 and 9) always wore theirs around the dock too. Kids are not too stable and get distracted easily. Accidents can happen. She may fuss with it on but it is worth the peace of mind. Good luck and have fun!

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I am seasonally employed as a Recreation Specialist, managing WSI-trained lifeguards during the summer months. Please, whichever model you select, ensure that it is US Coast Guard approved by searching for a seal on the inside of the vest/device near the weight guidelines, for these are the safest devices to use in all waters. Another poster suggested a Stearns brand lifejacket, which is Coast Guard approved. Last summer, Stearns began promoting their newest line of flotation gear, the Puddle Jumper, which resembles one of the inflatable rings and arm floaters combined into one product, without actually being inflatable. The smallest size is for children who weigh 30lbs. These are sold at Walmart and Target in the summer months, and I know you can order them online as well, from those stores and Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Stearns-Puddle-Jumpers-Green-Weight...
Good luck with your choice, and enjoy Hawaii! :)

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Hi A..
It looks like you got some great replies. I've used the stearns brand for my kids. I also like the kind made of neoprene... They are less bulky and probably would be easier for travel. I also wanted to mention a good UV swimshirt for your kids (and yourself) is a must for a Hawaii trip ( or any time spent in the sun and water). They are much more reliable than putting on sunscreen every couple of hours and less chemicals on the skin too. I started a company called UV Skinz (www.uvskinz.com) after I lost my 32yo husband to skin cancer but any good uv swimshirt will do the job. (I don't want to think I'm promoting my company, as I've never done that on here, but saw your post about going to Hawaii and wanted to mention sun protection.). You don't want to get sunburns, especially the little ones! Enjoy your trip! Hawaii's my favorite place in the world :) ~ R.

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I suggest whichever brand you go with, you probably end up with the kind with the hood flap behind her shoulders/head. Make sure you check how it actually works. My daughter is 2 and still requires the hood flap because she does not have the coordination to keep herself upright while floating alone. The hood flap keeps their head up and automatically flips the child to their back.

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Since she is under 30lbs, you technically need to get an infant life jacket, such as this one: http://www.dickssportinggoods.com/product/index.jsp?produ...#

Child life jackets are for 30 to 50 lbs. Since she is almost 2, I really don't see her happy with an infant jacket.. you may be able to get her in a child size, like this one: http://www.dickssportinggoods.com/product/index.jsp?produ...#

You might be able to find a child size that accommodates a little less than 30 lbs. I can't check my daughter's because it's at my parents house, but last summer we had her in a child size, and she is just now 30-35 lbs.

Oh yes, if you are looking at the jackets in the store, check the inside back of the jacket. It will tell you the size & weight range for the jacket. And be sure it has a strap that goes under & between her legs.

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Hi A.-
We had our son on our boat for the first time at 6 weeks old. My husband went to West Marine for his life jacket. It's got the flap between the legs and the 'pillow thing' that sits behind his head. He's now close to 35 lbs. and will be 3 in May and he is still in the same life jacket. West Marine carries them year round and they always have a good selection. Best of luck, and enjoy your trip!
http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/SiteS...

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A.,
This is the life jacket that we purchased for our son for a trip to the lake in Sept 2009. We loved the vest and so did our son. He was 15 months. Here is the link:

http://www.amazon.com/Stearns-Infant-Boating-Heads-Up-Wei...

There are some reviews there that you can read as well. I think you would be very happy with this vest. It works great in the water and also on a boat. Good Luck with your search and have a wonderful trip!

1 mom found this helpful

The last two years Costco has had some life jackets for toddlers. They have the strap that goes under the crotch and the "pillow flap" with the handle (to grab them with if they fall in). They don't usually come out until summer though.

1 mom found this helpful

They make swimsuits that have the life jacket in them and they are in the front and back and don't have the flap around the head. I saw them at Wal-Mart last year. They keep the child upright in the water. I know sometimes the ones with the flaps in the back, flip the child onto their back. It does keep their face out of the water, but when my nieces and nephews used them, they sometimes would panic when they got flipped on their back. I plan on getting my daughter the swimsuit and she is around 22 lbs. They also make life jackets that just go in the front and back. I don't know who makes them, but I've seen them at pool supply stores.

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There are life jackets for children under 30 lbs. However, if you are talking about having it for the beach, a lifeguard from a beach here told me that they are better off not wearing a life jacket while playing in the waves at the beach because they could be swept out with the tide.

Dear A.,
Take her to a boating supply store to have her fitted and they can advise you on the best ones. Other stores carry them, but not usually this time of year. I'm not sure how much time you have to plan for this, but they probably have a catalog of different designs. My daughter chose a Barbie life jacket. It had a crotch strap so the thing couldn't just shoot off over her head and had the "pillow" on the neck which was nice for helping her learn to float. Our kids were on boats from the time they were very little so they make all kinds in all sizes. You can try finding her one in Hawaii, but they may be pretty pricey.
Like I said, you can find life jackets at other stores but I don't think they have their "summer stuff" out quite yet.
A boating supply or sporting goods store would be your best bet.

Good luck and have fun!

If it is to play in a pool get one that gives her mobility. If it is for a boat trip make sure that it is Coast Guard approved has the head/neck support flap, this ensures she floats on her back, not her face and that it is apropriate for her weight. If she uses one for heavier/lighter kids it will not float her correctly. Lastly after she is strapped in pick her up by the shoulders of the jacket and give her a little shake. If the jacket slips signifgicantly that is what will happen if she falls in the water and the jacket needs to be readjusted. I am a former Sea Kayak Instructor and the wife of a Coast Guradsman.

Not sure what brand we have but our life vest is great. You can buy them at Wal-Mart and boat shops etc. It has 3 clasps across the front, one that goes between the legs and the best feature is it has a bib behind the head/neck with a handle which is great for emergencies. You can just pick up the baby quickly with the handle (in case of a big wave on the beach etc.). Use that and obviously never leave your baby for a second.......just be right there! Have a great time!

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