Children's Life Jackets

Children’s Life Jackets

Like everyone, children can be unpredictable around water – particularly if they are suddenly immersed in water unexpectedly. That is why it is imperative to purchase the right product for your child and ensure that they have it on and understand how it will work in the water before heading out.

Many states have specific regulations regarding the type of lifejacket children must wear. Make sure you are aware of the requirements in your state before selecting a product for your child.

Selecting Your Child’s Life Jacket

All lifejacket’s are clearly labeled with the appropriate weight range for the product. Check the label to match the weight range of your child. To check for a good fit, pick the child up by the shoulders of the lifejacket. If the lifejacket fits, the child’s chin and ears will not slip through. Children come in many sizes and shapes. If a lifejacket style does not work well, try another one.

While some children weighing between 30 and 50 pounds may like the freedom of movement that a Type III lifejacket provides, most children in this weight range, especially those who cannot swim, should wear a Type I or Type II lifejacket.

Test Your Child’s Lifejacket Before You Go on the Water

Both the USCG and lifejacket manufacturers strongly recommend that you test your child’s lifejacket by putting it on them and making them float in the water. Because children often panic when they fall into the water suddenly, this will help them learn what to expect.

While a lifejacket will keep a child afloat, it may not keep a struggling child face up. Violent movement can counteract a lifejacket’s safety. Therefore, it is important to teach children how to wear a lifejacket and how to relax their arms and legs in the water.

Lifejackets are not babysitters. Even if a child wears a lifejacket when on or near the water, an adult must always be present. Inflatable toys and rafts should not be used in place of lifejackets.

Choosing a Life Jacket

Life jackets come in many shapes, colors and materials. Some are made rugged to last longer while others are made to maintain body heat in cold water. No matter which life jacket you choose, get one that is right for you, your planned activities and the water conditions you anticipate. Spending a little time now can save your life later.

Always look for the United States Coast Guard approval number before you purchase any lifejacket and make sure you understand the regulations and requirements in the state you are in. Also ensure you properly maintain whatever lifejacket you choose.