Swimming is one of the most important life skills you can teach your children, especially during their toddler years. The earlier they are exposed to the water, the easier swimming is for them. Some toddlers are even natural swimmers even if it’s their first time swimming.
Nice! Let’s take your toddlers to the pools and open waters, but wait a minute! You may be too excited, but you shouldn’t forget the popular phrase “safety first”. The last thing you’d want is to see your toddler drown. In fact, even good swimmers are wary of drowning.
To avoid such a nightmare, you need to equip your child with a swim vest for toddlers. It can keep your child afloat and help in achieving water balance. In effect, using swim vests/jackets can guarantee your kid’s safety while learning how to swim, especially in waters where lifeguards are not around.
Now, if you are looking for a swim vest for your toddler, you’ve come to the right page. Below, we have selected some of the best toddler swim vests today. Check them out now!
Well, if you need a swim vest that any toddler in the family can use regardless of gender/sex, this one by Limmys is a great choice. The style is pretty neutral and the Royal Blue variant just fits any girl or boy. There are no fancy flowers or robot design elements printed on the vest.
But if you really need one that girls or boys will like. There are also two other color options: Pink (with floral patterns) and Dark Blue (with colorful paint lines).
Besides the fact that this vest is good for both boys and girls, it also has reliable safety features. It has additional straps near the crotch area where you can adjust them to secure your child. It guarantees that the wearer’s body won’t slip off the vest accidentally. And instead of using only velcro straps, the vest has a zipper that adds more security.
As for durability, you’d be delighted to know that the swim vest is covered in neoprene. This material is commonly used to manufacture durable wire insulators, belts, jackets, mouse pads, gaskets, orthopaedic braces, scuba-diving gears, and other heavy-duty products. That’s why swim vests made of this material are expected to last for years. Neoprene is also a great insulator to keep your child warm in the water.
Overall, we like that this swim vest comes in three different sizes. For toddlers, the small or medium variant is the one we can recommend. The material used doesn’t seem to irritate children with sensitive skin, which is a big plus.
However, this one is not the best one your child can use when swimming at a beach. The crotch straps and some of the pockets in the vest can easily collect sand, which makes it too heavy for children. With that, it may be best to use this one in pools or bodies of water with no fine sand.
2. Best for Sun Protection – Speedo Unisex-Child Swim Flotation Classic Life Vest
Color: Berry/Grabe, Lime/Orange, Sapphire Blue Printed, Purple Printed
Material: Polyester and neoprene
Recommended Age: 2-6 years old
Most swimming activities happen outdoors and during the day, and one threat that you need to look out for is sunburn. Aside from applying sunblock over your child’s body, it’s also nice to have a toddler swim vest that has UPF or Ultraviolet Protection Factor. That’s why we’ve picked this child life jacket from Speedo.
It’s rated UPF 50+, which means that only 1 over 50 or 2 percent of the UV rays can penetrate the swim vest. That is barely enough to cause sunburn due to UVB exposure. In fact, this vest also has UVA protection, which means that it can protect your child from unwanted tanning or skin discoloration after swimming under the sun.
This vest is also made of high-quality neoprene. You can really rely on its durability for long-term use. Despite looking thin and lightweight, the overall construction of the swim vest is solid and firm. The style of the vest also appears and feels premium, which further contributes to the feeling that it’s a good option for your child.
Moreover, this swim vest uses zippers that smoothly slide when opening or closing. This makes it easier for your child to wear or take off. Also, there’s a dedicated safety closure that secures or locks the zipper so it won’t come undone on its own.
Verdict:We really appreciate the interesting color options and combinations Speedo offers for this swim vest. It makes the vest more attractive to look at. And most important, the sun protection on this one will amaze you. The skin covered by this vest won’t show any visible tanning and or sunburn.
However, you may get disappointed that this one only comes in two sizes: medium and large. Smaller toddlers may not fit well with it. Also, children with sensitive skin may find the strap for the crotch area a little irritating, especially when the vest is worn for hours.
3. Best for Visibility – Gogokids Kids Swim Jacket Baby Buoyancy Vest
In case you and your toddler love swimming in dimly lit pools. you will need a toddler swim vest that’s easily visible. Thus, we’ve picked one that has a bright and catchy color. This swim vest for toddlers by Gogokids comes in bright Orange and bright Yellow, which are fairly visible when it’s dark or dim.
Like the previous swim vests here, this one also comes with a zipper on the front, but with a slight upgrade. There are two buckle belts that you can lock after zipping close the front opening. This makes the vest more fit and secure. There’s also a crotch strap that sits comfortably between your child’s legs. It’s wide enough, which reduces the chances of irritation due to friction.
With polyester and neoprene as the covering material for this vest, you can expect it to dry in less than an hour. In fact, the latter material is waterproof, which also helps in keeping the wearer warm as water won’t stick. This is an important factor to consider, especially when swimming in relatively cold waters.
Apart from that, this one also has a dedicated collar strap. It can help you easily recover your child from the pool. And if you want, you can even attach a leash or a rope just in case you’re swimming at the beach. You wouldn’t want your child to be far away from you.
When it comes to visibility, there’s no doubt this vest is one of the brightest and most catchy swim vests out there. The Orange and Yellow color options are almost like neon; so, it’s really visible in dim lighting situations.
You’d also like that the straps are easily adjustable, you can really make sure that your toddler will fit in the vest. Not to mention, it’s available in small, medium, and large sizes.
However, the crotch strap may be an issue for other children with sensitive skin. It may be wide enough to reduce friction, but some still experience a bit of chafing, which is pretty uncomfortable when swimming. So, if your child is prone to chafing, this vest may not be a good choice.
Aside from a swim vest, your toddler may also need other accessories to make their swimming experience much more comfortable and enjoyable. With that in mind, you may need a toddler swim vest that comes with kid-size goggles and a cap. You can get all three with this one by GoKiddie.
They’re not just any other accessories. They are designed specifically to match the color scheme of the swim vest, making your child’s overall swim gear more stylish. The goggles can protect your kid’s eyes and the cap can protect the hair from chlorine damage, especially if you always bring your child to a pool.
Despite being only available in small sizes, the design on this vest guarantees that average toddlers can fit in and have a comfortable swimming experience. It can be adjusted to accommodate the shoulders and bodies of 2-6 years old children, weighing around 22-55 pounds. That’s a pretty reasonable range.
As for the style and design, we can say that this swim vest can be attractive to most toddlers. The whale design is just too cute to ignore. There are also other variants with swan and unicorn designs, but the latter is 3 bucks more expensive. Well, it depends on your child’s preference which one is much better.
We recommend this one if you are in a tight budget situation, and need to purchase a cap and a pair of goggles for your child. It’s basically a 3-in-1 deal for 21 bucks. Also, if your kid is learning to swim for the first time, the floaties/sleeves can assist them in finding balance in the water. However, this vest is only designed for pools, not recommended for open water.
And durability-wise, the stitching is good and feels firm, but the polyester and nylon used to cover the vest are low-quality. They feel really easily torn, which begs the question of whether or not this one can withstand consistent use. Nevertheless, the store has a 12-month guarantee that you can avail of in case the vest gets damaged within the said time period.
5. Best for Budget – SwimWays Power Swimr Outdoor Pool Swim Vest for Kids
Most of the toddler swim vests in the market are expensive. And as a parent, managing expenses can be quite challenging, which may discourage you from buying one for your child. Don’t worry! You don’t have to spend too much on a swim vest. We have selected a budget option for you from SwimWays. This one is only priced at 15 bucks, which is almost half the price of most swim vests.
As you can see, this swim vest doesn’t have any sleeves. Thus, it’s recommended for toddlers who already know how to swim but are having a hard time floating for longer periods. But if your kid still doesn’t know how to swim and you’re actively teaching them how to, then this one can still help.
In fact, this swim vest has nine floatation pads that you can add or remove depending on your child’s ability to float. For beginners, your child can start with all of the pads and you can slowly remove each one until they finally float on their own. Also, the pads are secured in hidden pockets, which is great for keeping the hands of curious kids from playing with them while in practice.
Teaching your child how to swim doesn’t have to be expensive. That’s why we really like this swim vest. It just sits around 15 bucks, and you get a vest that can really help improve your child’s buoyancy. It also comes in color variants: Pink with a mermaid print and Blue with sharks, which makes this good for girls and boys.
The only problem is the sizing. It may be adjustable for average toddlers and although it supports children from 3-6 years old, it likely won’t fit if they’re above 55 lbs or have larger bodies.
6. Best in Style – Boglia Toddler Swim Vest Kids Toddlers Floaties
If you like taking pictures of your toddler as they swim, you might as well get a stylish swim vest for them. That way, your kid will look better and stand out in photos. With that, we picked this vest that has a great sailor design by Boglia.
Your child will look like a cute, little sailor once you let them wear this. The horizontal stripes on the left side of the vest and the boat/ship anchor print on the right just go so well, making the vest more fashionable.
Comes in three colors: Light Blue, Deep Blue, and Red, which are gender-neutral colors. This means that girls and boys can wear this.
Aside from the design elements, this vest is made of high-grade neoprene. You can really expect it to last for years. And such material is reliable in insulating your child and making sure they are adequately warm while swimming for long periods.
And like the other swim vests in this list, this one is also designed with a crotch strap for securing a snug and comfortable fit. And the straps used for adjusting also have quick-release buckles that the parent can squeeze to easily get the vest off the child.
As for wearer support, the vest can be worn by children 1-9 years old as it’s available in small, medium, and large sizes. In fact, you’d be delighted to know that it also supports weight from 22 to 66 lbs, which makes the vest good for long-term use. Yes! Your child will grow and they may need the stylish vest throughout their early childhood days.
Well, the vest only looks pretty, but it’s also certified and approved by USCG or the United States Coast Guard. This immediately makes us comfortable that the materials used and the overall design of the vest are reliable and safe for children. But this doesn’t mean you should leave your child wearing the vest unsupervised.
However, even though it supports 1-year-old children on paper, in reality only a few can fit into the vest. Another issue for some parents would be the cost. It’s priced at 35 bucks, which is expensive if you compare it to other swim vests for toddlers. But considering the quality of the materials and the design, we believe the price is reasonable.
Your toddler will grow over the years. As they age, they’d get heavier and bigger, which is why they may need a durable swim vest. This is particularly important if you and your child regularly go swimming. If that’s the case, you’d be happy to know we’ve included this Gogokids swim vest.
The outer layer is made of 100% high-grade polyester and neoprene, and the foam used is 100% EPE, known for reliable strength and flexibility. Not to mention, The vest is designed to withstand weight from 20 lbs to 70 lbs (max). That’s the widest range for weight support on this list.
And since it’s made of the mentioned material, we’ve found that the insulation is quite excellent. The EPE filling also helps in achieving balanced buoyancy.
Like the others in the list, the vest also features safety straps on the body and the crotch part. And they are secured by secured buckles. Adjusting the straps will depend on your child’s fit. The front has a zipper to close the vest, which makes it more secure. It’s easier to put on and take off the vest with that.
On another note, you’d be delighted that this swim vest has sun protection, too. It’s rated UPF 50+, which is capable of blocking UVA/UVB rays that cause sunburn and aggressive skin tanning. Thus, it’s really a perfect vest for all-day swimming outdoors and other activities like boating. However, since toddlers are pretty delicate, we recommend that they only use it for practicing swimming in pools.
When it comes to durability, this swim vest for toddlers is one of the most well-constructed ones out there. Besides the high-quality materials, this one has all the important security and protection features, too. But what really surprised us is that the EPE filling feels soft yet firm, which can really provide comfort to the wearer.
Despite all the good sides, this vest doesn’t fit well with most 1-year-old kids even though it’s explicitly advertised as good for 1 to 9 years old. You may need to wait for your child to turn two before you let them use this.
FYI: Types of Swim Vests
A swim vest is considered a PFD or Personal Floatation Device. Thus, it has to belong to certain types of jackets/vests that have their perks, advantages, and even disadvantages. You must know these types so you’d know what your child is getting.
Type I: Swim vests that belong to this category are used for offshore, open-water activities. They are also designed to be the most buoyant PFD, and they can turn the unconscious wearer facing the sky to ensure breathing. You’d mostly see this kind of vest on water rescue missions, boats, and ships.
Type II: Vests that are considered type II are designed for nearshore where the waters are calmer and rescue is expected to be immediate. The chances of flipping an unconscious wearer face up are not as good as type I, but it does do the job at times.
Type III: These swim vests on the other hand are considered floatation aids. That’s why most swim vests for toddlers belong to this class. They are designed for calm waters like pools and are supposed to help improve people’s buoyancy. However, there’s no guarantee of making the unconscious face up.
Type IV: PFDs in this category are designed not to be worn but to be thrown into the water in case the boat is sinking or whatnot. Then, you are supposed to hold on to it to float. It’s like floaties. However, there are swim vests out there with added type IV features.
Type V: If the vests or PFDs have specific labels for their use, they are considered type V. These devices are customized according to the water sports they are intended to be used for. And they should only be used for the purposes stated on their labels.
Most of the swim vests we’ve presented above belong to type III, except the one from Speedo. It’s a type I.
Our children are our responsibility. That’s why we must take into account their safety at all times, especially when we let toddlers learn to swim. You can’t ignore that there is a risk of drowning. That’s why looking for the best toddler swim vest should be a priority. Not only can it help your child in learning how to swim, but also it can ensure their safety above all else.
Now, if you are looking for the perfect swim vest for your toddler, check out our top picks above. Each of them has unique qualities and benefits. It’s up to you which one you’d like to purchase for your baby. Well, aside from swim vests, it’s also great to check out some fun water toys to level up the game. There are also swim mommy-and-me swimsuits that can perfectly match the swim vests.
The major difference between the two is their purpose. A life vest is intended for saving life and will most likely make unconscious persons face up, while a swim vest is designed for training and assisting people in swimming, especially children. More often than not, swim vests don’t turn an unconscious wearer face up. However, both of them look the same. That’s why it’s important to read the label to know what kind of vest you are getting.
It depends on the distribution of buoyancy you want to achieve. For swim vests, buoyancy is added to the center of the body, while puddle jumpers spread it equally to the chest and arms of the wearer. Nevertheless, both help in improving buoyancy in the water.