Infant Life Vest Buyers Guide

Babies don’t like wearing a life vest on a boat. It is something strange to them and they can throw a fit. Babies cry for many reasons, but the most common cause is comfort. Parents can make the mistake of removing the life jacket in the middle of your boating trip if the infant is uncomfortable. This is a serious safety risk--baby not wearing the life vest.

How to buy the right Life Vest for an Infant or Toddler and the features of infant life jackets

Neoprene vs Nylon vs Biolite: All of our Neoprene and Nylon Infant Life Vest Jackets are USCGA compliant. Nylon is a cost effective choice, but for comfort, we recommend neoprene or Biolite Neoprene. Biolite Neoprene is another type of neoprene used in HO and Hyperlite vests that repels water spray a little better. If you buy a comfortable neoprene life vest, your baby will be more comfortable and happy. On exception to the soft neoprene rule is the Connelly Baby Safe Nylon Life Jacket. It has an inner fabric lining to soften the feel of nylon.

Loop strap on the head pillow: All infant life jackets have the loop strap. This is essential to quickly pull your baby out of the water if he goes overboard. A good loop makes it easy to hook and pull your baby back to safety. The loop is also for convenience to hang the vest to dry out after it gets wet.

Zippers and buckles: Larger infants can be uncomfortable if the zipper rubs the neck. Two buckles with NO zipper is more comfortable than the single buckle vest with zipper.

Crotch strap: All infant life vests have the leg strap to prevent your infant from falling out of the vest when in the water.

Velcro tab: Connelly neoprene vests and some HO vests have a Velcro tab on top zipper to prevent an energetic toddler from unzipping the vest when parents are not looking.

V-neck: The v-neck design is a good feature because it eliminates another place where the vest can cause rub and cause discomfort. Unfortunately, this feature was phased out 2 years ago and cannot be found on any infant neoprene life vest anymore.

Rounded Corners: The best infant life vests have rounded corners on the foam inside the life jacket

Laws and safety tips related to Infant Life Jackets

An infant life jacket is TYPE II which is the type that keeps the infants on his back and head above water. This type of infant personal flotation device complies with state and federal boating laws regarding boating with an infant or any other other activity in the water. By law, toddlers are required to wear a Type II life jacket. The only expectations are when you are traveling inside the enclosed cabin of a commercial tour boat, a cruize ship, or car ferry, or other enclosed cabin. In that case, the life vest for toddler must be available in the cabin with signs showing the location of all life vests.

The most common cause of a baby going overboard is getting swamped by a large wake while a baby with no vest is being held by the mother. The second most common overboard situation is an active toddler who just learned to walk. Active toddlers frequently walk to the edges of boats, walk to the edge of docks, or fall over safety rails when a parent is not looking.

A common safety mistake is using a car seat in a boat. The coast guard warns you to never strap a baby into a car seat of any other restraint device in a boat because it will be impossible to get the baby out if the boat flips or sinks after being swamped with water.

The rule is simple. Wear a compliant life vest. Your Babies safety is the most important issue, and thus you should never substitute a life vest with swim diapers, water wings, or other illegal non compliant flotation devices.

Do not buy an inflatable vest for a baby. It may be legal, but Inflatable life jackets work OK for ships and airplanes when you have a pre-announced emergency. Inflatables are OK for leisure sports such as houseboating where you are inside the cabin and have lots of time to inflate the vest in an emergency. With all other active watersports, you never know when an accident will happen, so there is no time to inflate the vest.

Water Ski World
Call: 1-916-723-2660
Toll Free: 1-877-723-2660