You shouldn’t take any compromises when it comes to keeping your child safe, which is why we only sell the best kids life jackets from the most trusted brands. That said, choosing a life jacket for kids can still be a tricky decision, which is why we want to make sure you have the best possible information available.
This guide includes:
Head over to our main life jacket page to shop all adult and child life jackets.
Firstly, make sure you know the difference between the flotation devices we have available.
Buoyancy is measured in Newtons (N), and you’ll see the buoyancy of any personal flotation device (PFD) in the product description. For kids' life jackets a minimum of 100N is standard when the waters are calm and sheltered.
These guidelines change based on the weight of your child and what types of water you’ll be encountering. Always make sure you check the guidelines of the life jacket to ensure they are suitable for your child’s age, height and weight so that it provides enough buoyancy in the water.
If you’re heading further out to sea – maybe doing a channel crossing – a 150N life jacket is recommended, as the water conditions are less calm. However, the higher the buoyancy, the more foam is used in the lifejacket, which can get quite bulky to wear so this level would not be suitable for splashing about in the shallows.
Making sure the life jacket of your child fits properly is perhaps the most important factor when choosing a jacket. A common issue is life jackets that are too large for the child. If a life jacket is too big then it may not properly support the head and neck, it could slip off, and it might not be able to keep the mouth and nose above water.
A good way to judge if you have the right size life jacket for your kid is to put it on, adjust straps as necessary, and then try and lift the life jacket from the top. You shouldn’t be able to lift it more than 2.5cm (less than an inch) from the child’s shoulders if the fit is correct.
If you can lift it an inch or more, the jacket is too big, and will not function properly when you need it most.
There are multiple types of life jackets, including manually inflated and automatically inflated life jackets. However, inflatable lifejackets are not designed for small children and generally, the sizing starts at about 20kg weight or around 7+ years.
Automatic life jackets are less bulky, but they do rely on manual inflation as a backup in case the automatic inflation fails. Foam life jackets don’t rely on the user at all, making them the easiest and safest option for your children.
Without further ado, here are our best life jackets for kids…
Click on any of the options on our list to see more information.
Jobe’s comfort boating life vest offers the ultimate protection on the water. Covered in lightweight nylon to ensure durability season after season, this vest has great visibility due to its reflective panels. This life jacket even features a whistle in case of emergency.
Gul has designed this child’s life jacket with a large collar to support the head if submerged and for sun protection. The reflective piping and bright orange colours ensures visibility from a distance.
Crewsaver really leads the way when it comes to life jacket design, and this expertise is prominent in their range of children’s life jackets as well. The Euro 100N is a foam life jacket, designed for inshore use for sailing, kayaking, swimming and other surface watersports.
It’s available in baby and child sizes, as well as large child and junior, and features cartoon characters from ‘Oliver’s Adventure’ which helps to teach children the importance of wearing a life jacket – a nice extra touch which makes wearing a life jacket a lot more fun for the child.
The other option from Crewsaver is the Spiral 100N Life Jacket. This is made to the same exceptional standard as the Euro, but doesn’t feature the cartoon design.
Next time you are shopping for children’s life jackets, you know what to look for: the right size, the right buoyancy, and the right technical aspects to keep your child safe.
In the end, life jackets are only good if they are worn. Make sure your child wears their life jacket properly, and help them get used to it with fun water activities in shallow waters, so they know how to swim in their life jacket, and that it won’t stop them from having a good time!
YOUR FIRST PURCHASE