5 Best Life Jackets For Kids In 2022

Life jackets are a must for any kid who spends time near the water. But with so many different types and designs on the market, it can be tricky to know which life jacket is best for your kid.

I’ve done the research for you. Below are 5 of the best kids life jackets, based on safety features, comfort and ease of use.

All of them are US Coast Guard approved, with either a Type III or Type II rating. The former type will keep your kid in the face-up position in the water, while the latter is more comfortable to wear.

1. Stearns Heads-Up Kids Life Jacket

The Stearns life jacket is a great choice for active kids who move a lot and don’t want the life jacket to get in their way. It’s comfortable and easy to put on, with a bright and cheerful design that will make your child want to wear it.

The Stearn life jacket has a special feature – a built-in headrest that supports your child’s head and neck if they fall asleep in the water. This can be a lifesaver if your child is wearing the jacket for long periods or if they doze off while floating.

The jacket is also equipped witha crotch strap and two adjustable leg straps that ensure a snug and comfortable fit and a durable handle on the back that makes it easy to grab in an emergency.

Pros:

– Built-in headrest supports your child’s head and neck

– Durable handle makes it easy to grab in an emergency

– Two adjustable straps ensure a snug and comfortable fit

– Available in three different sizes

Cons:

– Some parents find the headrest cumbersome

– Straps may be too loose for very small children

2. Onyx M-24 Automatic/Manual Inflatable Life Jacket

The Onyx M-24 Automatic/Manual Inflatable Life Jacket is the best choice for parents who want the ultimate in safety for their children.

This kids life jacket is equipped with both an automatic and manual inflation system, so you can be sure your child will be safe even if they cannot inflate the jacket themselves.

The Onyx M-24 has a built-in headrest, a strong zipper closure and adjustable straps to ensure a comfortable and secure fit. And in an emergency, the bright orange colour will make your child easy to spot.

Unlike other life vests, the Onyx does not have a safety strap on the rear, making it more difficult to grab your child out of the water when they’re panicking.

Pros:

– Automatic and manual inflation system for ultimate safety

– Coast Guard approved

– Adjustable leg straps ensure a comfortable and snug fit

– Bright orange colour makes your child easy to spot

Cons:

– Some kids find the jacket cumbersome

– Automatic inflation system may be too sensitive

– No safety strap on the rear

3. Salus PFD1 Life Jacket

The Salus Type II life jacket is a great choice for kids who don’t like life jackets. Sleek, minimalist and comfortable, allows your child to move freely without feeling restricted.

The Salus life jacket also has many safety features, including adjustable leg straps, a durable handle on the back, and reflective fabric to help make your child visible in low light conditions.

This personal flotation device is made from neoprene, which is more comfortable to wear for long periods (although it does take longer to dry).

Pros:

– Lightweight and comfortable

– Coast Guard approved

– Reflective fabric helps make your child visible in low light conditions

– Durable handle makes it easy to grab in an emergency

– Available in three different sizes

Cons:

– Some parents find the reflective fabric unnecessary

– Handle may be difficult to reach

4. Mustang Survival M.I.D. Life Jacket

The Mustang Survival M.I.D. Life Jacket is a great choice for kids who spend time in or near the water.

The M.I.D. life jacket has several safety features, including adjustable straps, a durable handle on the back, and a head support collar.

One slight downside is life jackets tight buckles. They are quite firm when new, making it difficult to snap in and out.

Pros:

– Comfortably fits kids 50-90 pounds

– Coast Guard approved

– Durable handle makes it easy to grab in an emergency

– Available in three different sizes

Cons:

– Some parents find the reflective fabric unnecessary

– Buckles can be difficult to snap in

5. O’Neill Child Superlite USCG Life Vest

The O’Neill Child Superlite USCG Life Vest is a great choice for kids who spend time in or near the water. It’s comfortable and easy to put on, with a bright design that will make your child want to wear it.

The Superlite life jacket comes in four different colours and is super quick to dry, thanks to its neoprene construction.

It also has a front zipper for convenience and three adjustable straps to ensure a snug and comfortable fit.

A durable handle on the back makes it easy to grab your kid in an emergency.

Pros:

– Head panel keeps your child’s head afloat and the neck safely supported

– Three adjustable straps ensure a snug and comfortable fit

– Durable nylon handle makes it easy to grab in an emergency

– Coast Guard approved

– Available in four different colours

Cons:

– Some parents find the head panel bulky

– Handle may be difficult to reach

Final Words About Kids Life Jackets.

As always, proper fit is paramount. Start by ensuring that the life jacket caters to your kid’s weight range. Next, make sure that the jacket has all of the essential features, specifically:

  • crotch strap
  • grab handle or strap
  • durable nylon shell

Last but not least, look for a range of adjustment options. Kids have different body shapes, and these change as they grow up, and the best life jackets are able to adjust with them.