While shopping for our own swimming equipment may be a rather easy process, things get a bit more tricky when shopping for a toddler, being that they can’t always give the appropriate feedback necessary in getting the perfect product.
Toddler’s Swim Vest Reviews
In this review, we’ll not only help you figure out what to look for in your toddler’s next swim vest, but even point you in the direction of three of the best products on the market. Your toddler will be swimming like a pro in no time.
Best Overall Toddler’s Swim Vest
While we’ve all become familiar with the speedo brand over the years, you might actually be surprised at just how far they’ve been branching out outside of their men’s swimwear line. For quite some time now, they’ve been branching out into the world of kid’s
swimwear, offering a few products in the world of children’s safety devices. This particular product is one of such devices. Now, the first thing you’ll notice about this particular product is it feels like you’ve seen it before. This is because it offers nothing in the way of visually-apparent features which begin to diversify it from similar products. However, physical appearances can’t solely be relied on to judge a product’s quality and innovation. As such, you can bet the Begin to Swim is great if you’re looking for a quality swim vest, though would prefer to go with something a little more traditional in style.
Unlike some of the products which will be listed below, this is the absolute best possible swim vest you can get for a child who is in the very beginning (first six months or so) of their swimming career. This is due to it offering an excellent level of floatation under all circumstances, requiring no support on behalf of your child. When considered purely as a safety device, this level of floatation – as well as the product’s bright colors – quite simply reign king. When it comes to very new swimmers, this is your best choice.
– Jonathan Maxwell
Best Overall Toddler’s Swim Vest – Runner Up
Perhaps your child has been using a swim vest high in floatation such as the Speedo product listed above. While this is great, there comes a time when your child will begin to get his or her foundation down. Now, while they certainly can wear a lifejacket at public pools for the rest of there life, at some point, most parents will want to make a switch over to something that gives their child a bit more control, possibly allowing them to purposely go under water for one or two seconds at a time before abruptly being brought to the surface. If this sounds like you, the Kids Puddle Jumper is likely just what you need.
If you’ve come to the conclusion that your child has passed as much of the learning curve in swimming as they possibly can while wearing a lifejacket, you may reintroduce a bit of difficulty through switching from a life jacket such as the one above to something a little more modest such as the Puddle Jumper. This will still keep them safe (it is, after all, a floatation device), though will leave them feeling a bit “heavier” in the water. While this may be true to a lesser degree than wearing no lifejacket at all, you’ll still find that using this product acts as a step toward reaching a point where such jackets are no longer necessary under supervised swimming sessions.
– Jonathan Maxwell
3. Swim School
If the Speedo seems too supportive and the Kids Puddle Jumper doesn’t seem supportive enough, you may take an even smaller step to becoming lifejacket-free through equipping your child with the Aqua Tot Trainer. Right after a traditional lifejacket, this particular swim vest is about as buoyant as it gets. Because it doesn’t extend all the way down to your child’s waist, you’ll find that it allows them to sink deeper into the water, though it still ensures they can’t sink past a certain level.
If you feel your child has progressed to a point where he or she can handle being up to his or her shoulders in water, this is an excellent choice. While it will prove to be almost as buoyant as a traditional lifejacket, the fact that it allows them to sink a little deeper into the water will likely prepare them for future swimming lessons by getting them used to dealing with a larger amount of water at any one time while still keeping them safe.
– Jonathan Maxwell
Summary of Our Top Picks
I’ll start off by saying that, with proper supervision (as is the case with anything), the above products will be more than enough to keep your child safe while in the water. If safety is your only concern in this sense, opting for either of the above products will do an equally great job. So, what’s the difference, you ask? Each of the above products will allow your child to sink into the water to a different degree. While none of the above swim vests will allow them to sink enough where safety becomes a concern, the product you choose to go with will dictate how comfortable your child is in the water.
For a first time swimmer, the above Speedo product is simply a must. It is a very strong lifejacket that will likely serve to help keep your child comfortable, especially if he or she already has a fear of water. However, if your child has already grown comfortable while wearing the Speedo in the water, it may be time to opt for a product which poses a slightly higher degree of difficulty. When it comes time to do so, the Swim School swim vest is an excellent choice. While it will still keep your child afloat, it will allow them to sink deep enough that the water comes up to their shoulders at certain points. This will allow them to grow comfortable with a larger amount of water at any given time. Lastly, when it’s time to kick things up again, the Puddle Jumper will likely prove your best option, as it may allow your child to sink to the point where they are up to their neck in water for short bursts of time.
4. Stearns Deluxe
Toddler’s Swim Vest Buying Guide
What is a Toddler’s Swim Vest?
In terms of toddler’s swim vests, I couldn’t recommend anything more than the above products. However, if you’d like to go off and do some shopping on your own, that’s fine too! Try keeping the following considerations in mind when doing so, as this will ensure you get the best possible product to meet your needs.
Where does your toddler’s skill level currently lie?
Depending on how comfortable your child is in water, you may have to adjust the amount of floatation you provide them with. For example, first-time swimmers might be better off with a traditional lifejacket that can keep them near the water’s surface at all times. This will prove to give them a better sense of what swimming is all about before diving in. On the other hand, a pair of water wings can work perfectly as a final step before your child goes completely free of floatation devices. This is due to their rather low level of buoyancy, possibly even allowing them to jump in the water and remain submerged for an entire second or two at a time. Taking baby steps toward going without any floatation devices whatsoever is always a good idea.
What does your child find most comfortable?
When you reach a point where you deem an entire lifejacket to be too supportive to help your child progress any further, you’ll have tons of options as to what type of swim vest he or she can wear next. Through the use of tubes, water wings and inflatable plastic lifejackets, you’ll find that giving your child what they find most comfortable is a breeze. If they particularly like two pieces of apparel, though neither one gives them enough support, you can always mix and match. For example, there’s nothing wrong with using a tube and a pair of water wings at one time. As they progress further, you may remove one piece of swimwear while keeping the other intact.
Where will you be swimming?
Taking your child to a public pool is one thing, but swimming off of the coast of an ocean is another. Although a pair of water wings might be all your child needs when in supervised, still water, things may change in an ocean with waves. No matter where your child’s current swimming skills lie, if you plan on swimming in different waters, having a lifejacket on hand is always a good idea.
Types of Toddler’s Swim Vests
As previously mentioned, there are different types of swimwear which are best suited toward different toddlers with different swimming abilities. Are you familiar with all of the types available? Let’s take a look at the three main types of swim vests and give a brief rundown on each.
Lifejackets – Of course, you already know what a lifejacket is. Unlike adults, who typically only wear them when boating over deep waters, toddlers will often start off with these due to their excellent level of floatation. As a simple rule of thumb, you can expect to use one of these for up to six months. However, you’re better off switching at your own discretion, as each child’s learning curve will vary.
Tubes – The best way to describe one of these floatation devices would be to equate it to an inflatable belt. They are to be blown up manually before being used and will rarely sink more than an inch or two below the surface of the water at any one time. You may adjust the tube so that it stays on your child’s waist, under their shoulders or anywhere in between. This level of customization, as well as their tendency to usually stay above the water, makes them great as a middle-of-the-road product for if you’re just not sure how much support your child needs while swimming.
Water Wings – The final step before going without any sort of floatation device altogether. These have no guarantee of keeping your child above the water at all times. However, they are sure to have your child bounce back up quickly after submerging his or herself. This gives the child a bit more control, though it may be uncomfortable if they are not yet accustomed to the water.
Common Toddler’s Swim Vest Features
Which of the above three types of swim vests you choose for your child revolves purely around where you feel their current swimming skills lie. There are; however, a few features you should always expect to see in any product.
A Fasted Blow Hole – When you manually inflate your child’s swim vest, it should be difficult to open the hole. If it’s easy to open, it’s more likely to come undone while in use. Even though they have safety features built in to prevent air leaks, you really want the hole to stay closed.
A Thick Material – This is easily the best indicator of a swim vest’s level of quality. If the outer layer is extremely thin, what do you suppose might happen in the event your child scrapes his or her new vest against a sharp rock? A thick material saves money through increasing a vest’s level of durability and, more importantly, keeps your child safe under all circumstances.
Outside of the two features listed above, which should be seen in all inflatable vests, it’s up to you to decide what to look for in your next purchase based on your child’s swimming skills. If you’re unsure, a lifejacket is always your safest bet. On the other hand, a vest of quality water wings is great if your child just needs an extra little kick to master the art of swimming once and for all. Keep all of the above considerations in mind and you’ll be sure to get your toddler just the right swim vest with little effort.