You must choose the best life jacket for your child. As a parent, you are responsible for your child’s safety on the water, which is why we want you to choose the best life jacket for your child.

This guide includes:

  • Differences between a life jacket and a buoyancy aid
  • What to look for in a child’s life jacket
  • How a life jacket works
  • Life jacket regulations
  • And a lot more.

When it comes to safety, there is no room for compromise. That’s why life jackets are such an important piece of gear when enjoying any water activity – from swimming and boating, to kayaking and paddleboarding.

(Related: Are You Allowed To Bring Your Infant On A Boat?)

But how do you choose the best life jacket for your child? And what’s the difference between a life jacket, buoyancy aid and impact vest?

In this guide, we will answer all of your questions so that you can make an informed purchase for your little one.

Differences Between Life Jackets And Buoyancy Aids.

First off, let’s talk about the different types of personal flotation devices (PFDs) available on the market. The two main categories are:

  • life jackets
  • buoyancy aids

Life Jackets

A life jacket is the most common type of PFD and offers the highest level of protection. It is designed to keep a person’s head above water and provide insulation in cold weather conditions. Life jackets are required by law for anyone riding on a boat, regardless of their age or swimming ability.

(Related: Best Life Jackets For Infants).

Buoyancy Aids

A buoyancy aid is not as bulky as a life jacket and is suitable for swimmers who want more freedom of movement. They do not offer the same level of protection as a life jacket, but they will keep you afloat if you fall into the water.

Buoyancy aids are not legal requirements, but we recommend using one when participating in any water activity.

(Related: Best Life Jackets For Toddlers).

What To Look For In A Life Jacket.

Now that you know the different types of PFDs available, let’s take a look at what to look for when choosing a child’s life jacket.


The most important factor to consider is how well the life jacket will fit your child. It needs to be snug enough that it will not ride up or move around when your child is in the water, but not so tight that it causes discomfort.


It’s also important to consider how the life jacket will be used. If your child will be primarily using it on a boat, you need to make sure they have a model that meets Coast Guard requirements.

For watersports such as kayaking and paddleboarding, look for a life jacket that has additional features like padding and straps which will help keep it in place during vigorous activity.


Finally, take into account your child’s swimming ability. A life jacket is not suitable for everyone – if your child cannot swim well, then they should definitely wear one.

We hope you find this information helpful when choosing the best life jacket for your child. Stay safe and have fun out on the water!

(Related: Best Life Jackets For Kids).

How A Life Jacket Works.

Now that you know how to choose the best life jacket for your child, it’s important to understand how a life jacket works.

When a person falls into water, their natural instinct is to gasp for air and swim towards the surface. However, this can be difficult or even impossible in cold water or rough conditions.

A life jacket provides buoyancy and keeps the wearer’s head above water, giving them time to regain their composure and swim safely.

(Related: 7 Best Water Games For The Lake).

Life Jacket Regulations.

The United States has specific regulations governing how life jackets must be designed and labelled. Here are a few important points to keep in mind:

  • All life jackets must be labelled with their buoyancy rating in pounds (lbs).
  • Life jackets for children must have a minimum buoyancy of 22 lbs.
  • There are different types of life jackets available for different activities. Make sure you choose the right one for your child’s needs.

For more information on life jacket regulations in the USA, visit the Coast Guard website.

Why Your Child Needs A Life Jacket.

We cannot stress enough how important it is for your child to wear a life jacket when participating in any water activity. Here are just a few of the many reasons why:

  • It can keep a child’s head above water and help them to regain their composure in a panic situation.
  • It can provide warmth and insulation in cold weather conditions.

– William Whycos