Everyone loves a good swimming activity or chilling on a beach, more so during the summers.
The excitement and joy get converted to concern and heed when you have a one-year-old baby with you. You have to constantly be on guard to ensure the safety of your precious baby.
The fear of drowning will always be a looming threat for every non-swimmer, especially for toddlers. Hence it is very crucial to secure the safety of your one-year-old with the best life jacket.
Life jackets are not meant for just swimming related activities. You need to realize that your toddler should always wear a life jacket in the vicinity of a water body.
Tragic incidents often occur spontaneously without giving you any time to react.
Thus to provide a basic necessity for survival, your one-year-old must be ready to face any adversity by wearing the best life jacket for a 1-year-old while near water.
Now, without further ado, let’s take a quick look at the top three vests.
Last update on 2020-08-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API/ More Info
3. O’Neill Infant Superlite
This life jacket with its shiny colors looks just “wow”. It’s like a pretty toy your 1-year-old will love to have.
Made from polyester and nylon coated shell its durable exterior withstands heavy wear and tear while the closed-cell PVC marine foam makes it comfy and buoyant.
Unlike other vests, it has more foam that makes it more buoyant and keeps your cutie-pie afloat in the water. But more foam makes it little bulkier than other jackets on the list.
You can’t notice from the picture but it has head support that’s like a comfy cushion where your baby can lie their head and enjoy the journey or sleep when they get tired.
The handle on-top provides a convenient way to carry or dry the vest after use or to pull your boi out of the water quickly.
One thing that this vest puts more emphasis on is the safety of your child. And that’s why we have a front zipper closure with two adjustable straps and a crotch strap to ensure your kid remains safe inside.
The adjustable straps(front and crotch) allows you to customize the fit while giving horizontal and vertical protection. They also prevent the vest from riding up which resists chafe. And the heavy-duty zipper on-front makes it convenient to put it on or off.
Approved by USCG as Type II life jackets it’s available in two colors.
- Great color and design
- Durable and comfortable
- Head support and handle on-top
- Adjustable straps and heavy-duty zipper
- USCG Approved
- Little bulkier
2. Body Glove Paddle Pals
With cool child-friendly designs, great safety, and superior comfort this vest is among the highly rated and most loved child’s life jackets.
Approved by USCG as “Learn to Swim” life jacket its the best swim aid for pools, lakes, and beaches. Also, it’s a Type III child PFD for recreational boating so your kiddo can accompany on the boat without any problem.
Made from durable polyester material its strong exterior easily tackles water pressure and resists rip-off while the multi-panel design makes it soft and comfy to wear.
You must have noticed the attached armbands on-side. They offer extra support to the arms and keeps your kid afloat in the water. Also, they ensure that the head remains above the water. Remember, even though it’s secure, never wholly rely on it and always keep an eye on your tod.
There are two things I love the most – shoulder and rear buckle.
To ensure your baby’s safety, its shoulder harness prevents the vest from sliding off while the quick-release buckle at the rear doesn’t let it open without external help. So, your kid can’t mistakenly open it which gives a sense of relief.
This buckle is attached to an adjustable chest strap that lets you customize the fit according to your baby’s fit. So, even though it’s perfect for 30-50 lbs kids, you can adjust it for your 1 year old using the strap.
Currently, it’s available in 18 unique graphic designs that your toddler will love to wear.
- USCG Approved
- Durable and comfy
- Enhances safety with rear buckle and shoulder harness
- Plenty of unique designs
- No crotch strap, but doesn’t ride up
- Not specifically for 1 year old but you can adjust it
1. Stohlquist Toddler Life Jacket
With high visibility colors, great design and comfy material this life jacket from Stohlquist will keep your 1-year-old safe in the water.
Made from soft 200 denier Oxford shell and liner it has a durable exterior to tackle wear and tear while the soft Gaia foam inside makes it very comfy to wear. The soft head support on the front keeps the face upright while your baby is enjoying the water.
To ensure safety we have a front zipper, an adjustable front, and a crotch strap. The front zipper securely keeps your baby inside while the adjustable front strap adds an extra layer of safety. And it doesn’t choke your munchkin like other vests.
The crotch strap provides vertical protection and ensures that your baby doesn’t slip off the vest. Also, it keeps the vest on place and resists it from riding up which prevents chafe.
On-top we have a handle using which you can pull your kiddo out of the pool or use it to dry or keep the vest after use.
The best part is that its USCG Approved type II PFD that can turn children to a face-up position in case they fell upfront. Remember, it may not turn up every time, so never leave your kid alone in the water whatsoever.
Currently, it’s available in one color and an 8-30 lbs size option.
- High visibility color
- Sturdy and very comfy
- Front zipper, strap, and a crotch strap
- Handle on-top
- USCG Approved
Reasons why your 1-year-old needs a life jacket
- One-year-olds hardly ever have any swimming skills. This, by itself, makes it absolutely critical for your toddler to wear a life jacket.
- A one-year-old will lack the required strength and agility to stay in the water without any support. Which is what the life jacket will be providing them by helping them float without any assistance.
- The concept of being in a large water body could be a very intimidating experience for your baby. Due to this, they may feel scared, rendering them immobile. At such times, a life jacket will be a life saviour.
- Although a rare occurrence, your baby could still be stung by a jellyfish or get injured in some way while in the water. A life jacket will keep it safe and keep it afloat.
- While participating in any water-based activity like boating or fishing, if you have a baby on board, it should be wearing a life jacket. It is not only mandatory as per safety authorities but also a necessary safety precaution.
- Babies do not have any mature thinking abilities to think and act, which makes them very unpredictable and accident-prone. You never know when unbeknownst of you, they enter into the water, be it a swimming pool or a seashore. To prevent any unwanted mishaps, you need to stay prepared by making your one-year-old wear a life jacket.
As per the global statistical data, among the number of drowning cases reported each year, the rate of toddler incidents is comparatively higher than the other age groups.
It only takes few inattentive or careless moments for such incidents to occur.
As rightly said that precaution is better than cure, you should pay heed to it and choose to have the best life jacket for your one-year-old baby.
It is also crucial to know that along with a life jacket, safety guidelines and adult supervision are equally mandatory.
Important factors while choosing a life jacket
There are certain important factors that need your attention to decide the perfect life jacket for your baby. Life jackets are categorized into different types based on activities and materials used for buoyancy.
1. Types of life jackets
Life jackets are basically classified into five types depending on the type of activities it will be used for. Out of which, Type I to Type III is approved for children’s usage.
Commonly known as the ‘Offshore vest,’ it is designed for high-intensity water-based activities and harsher conditions. It is meant to be used for deep and turbulent waters.
Also to be worn in situations when a rapid response is implausible. Offshore vests are very bulky, which creates high buoyancy. The only disadvantage is that they are not very comfortable to wear for longer durations.
More commonly referred to as the ‘Near-Shore Buoyant’ vest, it is designed for still and inshore waters. Like casual boating or fishing activities, mostly that are near-shore.
This type is not so bulky when compared to Type I, but these can not withstand harsher conditions. The ‘Near-Shore Buoyant’ vest is highly recommended for your one-year-old baby.
Better known as ‘Floatation aid,’ these are like Type II and are meant to be used on still and inshore waters. They are the most lightweight among all three types but are not advised for any rough or hardcore water-based activities.
It could also be worn during activities like paddleboarding and similar.
2. Type depending on Buoyancy material
Implying as their name, this type of life jacket has a permanent buoyancy material in the form of neoprene or floatable foam. The material is used to maintain the necessary buoyancy while floating in the water.
Since they require no human intervention to work, less maintenance is needed. Inherently buoyant life vests also have high durability and can endure all sorts of conditions.
Consisting of a CO2 chamber within, Inflatable life jackets need to be inflated to achieve the required buoyancy. The CO2 chamber can be inflated either automatically or manually.
The automatic type is inflated upon submersion in the water surface. While in the manual type the user needs to pull a handle to inflate the CO2 chamber and then use it for floatation.
Due to its complexity, Inflatable life jackets are not recommended for one-year-old babies.
As the name suggests, Hybrid life jackets are a merger of the buoyant foam material and a CO2 chamber.
Being costly, this type requires continual maintenance and is costlier compared to the other two types. These cannot be worn on all types of various activities but could be preferred as a general option.
Whenever buying a life jacket for your toddler, do not have the misconception that buying a bigger life jacket would be fine. Parents often decide to go for a few sizes bigger, something that your growing baby will fit into.
This could be very dangerous, and you should always choose a life jacket that fits your baby perfectly. The fitting should be snugly comfortable.
Implying that it should neither be too tight to suffocate your kid nor too loose that the life jacket rides up. The determining factors for proper fitting are the age, height, and weight of your baby.
To have an accurate fitting, you should refer to the size chart of the manufacturer.
Babies have very sensitive skin, especially the one-year-olds. Any rough, abrasive, or prickly fabric will cause them irritation and may lead to rashes.
While selecting a life jacket, you have to check the inner fabric quality and whether or not it has a smooth surface. Your baby must feel comfortable all the time while wearing it, or eventually, it might grow to hate wearing it.
The materials used in the life jacket should be of high-grade quality. As life jackets are meant to endure the strong water pressures and currents, persistent endurance is a prime requirement.
Cheaper priced products may not meet the safety standards and have shorter durability. Like, cotton straps in life jackets get disintegrated with longer uses.
Hence you should prefer nylon strapped life vests. Similarly, other materials should be inspected before buying a life jacket for your one-year-old baby.
Life jackets are not meant to be fashion apparel. Along with other essential features, the color of a life jacket also matters. After wearing a life jacket, your baby must be visible from long distances.
This can be achieved by choosing a life jacket that is brightly colored. While colors like red and yellow also help, over-bright colors like orange and fluorescent are the best options.
7. Head support
The most important thing for your baby while in water is that its head stays above the water surface. Toddler life jackets have this feature of head support that ensures that the head of your baby stays afloat at all times.
The padded foam will help them breathe easier, without any fear of accidental drowning.
8. Supplementary features
It is recommended that you pick a life jacket that has some sort of loop or handle on it. This comes in handy when you want to pick your baby out of the water as some quick response.
You should also look out for life jackets that have all anti-corrosive buckles and zippers. Some metal ones get corroded after some time due to its cheap quality.
Hence it is better to go for plastic parts. Another important factor you must check out is the availability of a crotch strap. This helps to prevent the life jacket to ride-up when in the water.
Few pointers and important guidelines
Despite ensuring consideration of all the mentioned factors, it is equally advisable to remember some safety guidelines too. It is your duty as a guardian to follow all the required safety procedures for the safety of your baby.
- Life jacket manufacturer labels often contain information about things like the activity it was designed for, with other details too. Read them carefully before buying one.
- Verify the credibility of a life jacket by making sure that it meets all the safety guidelines as mentioned by your national or regional water safety department.
- A life jacket should never be used for anything apart from what it was originally intended to be used for. The buoyancy is decreased while affecting the overall durability of the life jacket.
- You must never let your baby in strong or deeper waters, at least not before making them practice in calm and shallow waters. They should feel comfortable in the water. Also, the waves of a sea or ocean might be too much for them to handle physically. Hence it should be avoided if possible.
- When in the water, stay attentive that the life jacket never rides-up. This can cause disorientation of the position and startle your baby. To prevent this from happening, you have to use the provided crotch strap whilst ensuring it is securely fit.
- Never let your baby get out of sight; it would be better to keep them nearby at all times. Use the handle on the life jacket to steer your baby away from any obstacles or keep it close to you.
Should a one-year-old wear a life jacket?
It is highly recommended for every baby and toddler to wear a life jacket whenever nearby any water body. Whether or not you should teach it swimming is your decision, but you have to ensure the maximum safety of your baby.
Also, it will help them get used to the concept of buoyancy and staying afloat in the water.
Could a one-year-old be wearing a puddle jumper?
Puddle jumpers are not exactly safe for a one-year-old baby. Unlike a life jacket, puddle jumpers do not help with the automatic orientation of the baby’s head.
For this reason specifically, type I life jackets are mostly recommended for a one-year-old.
Could babies wear a regular diaper in the water?
Regular diapers are not ideal for wearing in water as they fail at their primary task of keeping faeces in place. Being submerged in water they will surely fail and cause unwanted problems.
Your baby needs to wear a swim diaper that is designed for this purpose and does not puff up while keeping things in place. They are also easy to be put on and take off.
How long before babies can be taken to swimming?
Usually, it is advisable to wait for at least two months after the birth, to take your baby for swimming. Few baby swimming lessons commence around the age of six months.
In case your baby is six months old or younger, you have to heat your pool to a temperature of 32-degree Celsius. For this exact reason, any huge public pool is not recommended due to its unsafe conditions.
Can one-year-olds float in water?
One-year-old do possess the reflexive ability to keep their eyes open and hold their breath when they are submerged in the water. This is a reflex known as ‘bradycardic response,’ which acts as a natural survival instinct for a baby.
But this should not be mistaken for their swimming abilities. Unlike many animals, a human baby is not a natural swimmer. Hence a life jacket must always be strapped onto them to protect them in a watery environment.
Finally, its the end of the article, it was lovely talking to such caring parents. In this article, I talked about the best life jackets for 1 year old that you can get. Finding these were way harder than it seems, so I would really appreciate it if you share it with your friends and family, especially new parents.