The best kids life jackets for full water protection

best-kids-life-jacket

by Emily Farquhar |

With the summer months in the UK not far off, planning for holidays, days out to the beach and pool activities are well underway. For the toddlers and kids who haven’t learned to swim yet, or are not as confident in the water, ensuring you get the best life jackets for kids is essential for keeping them safe.

Most importantly, knowing the brand you’re buying from, if they’re trusted, and the level of protection the product offers is crucial for their safety. Before purchasing kids’ life jackets or buoyancy aids, ensure you know what you are buying and the differences. To clarify, these devices are different.

What is the difference between a life jacket and a buoyancy aid?

Life jacket

A device that keeps the wearer facing upwards in the water with head support, is strongly recommended for babies, toddlers and kids who struggle in the water by themselves.

Buoyancy aid

A device that aids the buoyancy of the wearer and keeps them afloat. Recommended for older children and more confident kids in the water, as these generally do not provide head support.

With a large variety of life jackets on the market, it’s good to know what certain features to look for:

Foam: All children under seven years of age should be in a foam life jacket.

Neck /collar support: Without this important feature - it is not a life jacket.

100N of buoyancy: The heavier the child, the more buoyancy needed. Measured in Newtons, 100N is the average for sheltered calm water (and 150N for channel crossing). Check the life jacket for its recommended amount.

Strapping: Straps around the crotch ensure that the life jacket is positioned correctly when in use.

Whistle: A great feature to have if the wearer needs to call for help and get your attention.

Sizing: Buy a life jacket aligned with the RNLI suggestions. It must have a firm fit and be suitable for your child’s current size. Avoid buying for them to grow into in a few weeks or months. If the life jacket is too big, your child’s head will slip right in and provide no support, which is dangerous. To test the correct fit, lift the life jacket around 3cm from your child’s shoulders.

Vibrancy: It’s always handy to have a bright life jacket with additional reflective taping to ensure full visibility.

CE approved: The life jacket must have the CE approved mark for full safety and protection.

The best kids swim jackets and buoyancy aids

Lalizas Chico Infant Life Vest 100N/150N

Lalizas Chico Infant Life Vest 100N/150N
Amazon

View offer

Best kids life jacket with fun design

If you are after a life jacket with a bit more support and rougher waters, the Lalizas Chico Infant Life Vest sits in the 100N/150N category. Coming in an adorable yellow and blue aquatic design - the life jacket is super comfortable and secure with its zip feature, belt for quick release, adjustable crotch buckle and integrated pants. The fluorescent yellow gives it great visibility, along with its reflective straps, and the life jacket has a strong neck and head support.

Review: "Ideal for kids with the fish design, once on she did not wish to take it off, speaks for itself."

Kids Life Jacket 100N LJ Easy Orange/Grey

Kids Life Jacket 100N LJ Easy Orange/Grey

View offer

Best budget kids life jacket

The Tribord Kids 100N Life Jacket is another best water safety device for its modern, effortless design. Coming in 'Fluo Orange' and grey, the device has an over-the-head, T-shirt design, making it super easy to put on, lightweight and comfortable. No zips, this jacket can be used sailing up to six miles from shore, has a central buckle and crotch strap. Free to move, this jacket comes in two sizes (15-30kg and 30-40kg) and there’s a two-year guarantee included.

Review: "Bought it at the last minute online as I was having trouble finding a life jacket for my daughter and we were going kayaking the next day. I was surprised by the quality as it was much better than I expected."

Marinepool CHILDS 100N Buoyancy Lifejacket

Marinepool CHILDS 100N Buoyancy Lifejacket
Amazon

View offer

Best kids life jacket for high visibility

One of the best life jackets on the market, the Marinepool CHILDS 100n device is suitable for toddlers and babies who are 10 to 20kg in weight with a max chest of 65cm. It is made from the softest fabric and is very versatile with multiple sizes on offer. The straps are also adjustable and there is an additional whistle and reflective strips for great visibility.

Review: "I purchased this for my grandson for when out on our boat. I’m very pleased with it. He is 21 months old but is big for his age (he wears age 2-3 clothing) and it fits very well. It isn’t too bulky and has a crotch strap for added safety. He is happy to wear it and I think it will fit him for a good while."

TWF Kids 100N Approved Life Jacket Childs

TWF Kids 100N Approved Life Jacket Childs
Amazon

View offer

Recommended kids life jacket

The TWF Kids Life Jacket is another 100N device CE approved. Suitable for little ones with a weight of 10 to 20kg, the neon jacket has superb visibility with its high-vis reflective strips. It provides great neck and head support, more so than the Marinepool, and has a fully adjustable crotch strap. With five-star ratings, the jacket also comes in other sizes to ensure you have the right fit for your child.

Review: "Got for my 2-year-old boy who likes to try to run off the jetty / jump out of boats declaring “I swimming”. Luckily haven’t needed its buoyancy aid properties yet but it seems comfortable for him and enables me to breathe a bit easier."

Crewsaver Euro 100N Lifejacket

Crewsaver Euro 100N Lifejacket

View offer

Best kids life jacket for a comfortable fit

Crewsaver’s Euro 100N Lifejacket is another best kid’s life jacket for its fantastic design. Made of foam, the jacket is designed for all inshore, which may include swimming, kayaking, sailing and other kids’ watersports. Reduced from £60 to £49.95, the jacket comes in two sizes (baby and child). The Oliver Adventure cartoon characters in the design also help to reinforce why kids should wear life jackets, because of its kid-friendly, fun design.

Crewsaver Crewfit 150N Junior - Automatic With Harness

Crewsaver Crewfit 150N Junior - Automatic With Harness

View offer

Best kids life jacket with a peninsular chin support

For something a little different, Crewsaver also has an automatic 150N life jacket on offer. Being the first Fusion 3D device for juniors, it certainly is leading the way to a more safe, comfortable, and stylish solution. With an interesting bladder design, chin support and light attachment, if you can afford the expensive price tag, it’s worth the extra investment.

Swimbest UK Swim Jacket

Swimbest UK Swim Jacket
Amazon

View offer

Best value kids buoyancy aid

The Swimbest UK Swim Jacket is the number one bestseller for swim vests on Amazon. Available in a range of sizes (16 months to seven years) and designs, the vest is designed for a snug fit. Giving toddlers a boost of confidence in the water, it encourages the correct swimming position and has an adjustable buoyancy system. It includes eight easy to remove foam floats, providing the perfect amount of buoyancy.

Review: "Brought for my one year old's first swimming day. He’s always been big and always in the size above so usually get him 18-24 and this was just right but snug maybe. Great value for money."

BA 50N+ Kayak, Stand-Up-Paddle and Dinghy Buoyancy Aid

View offer

Best kids' buoyancy aid for longevity

This 70N buoyancy aid from Decathlon is available in weight brackets from 25kg (3 stone) to 80kg (12 stone), making this product suitable for children from the age of around 6-years-old, but ultimately depends from child to child. Comes with a crotch strap to provide extra security.

Review: "Fits well and kids liked the colour."

IvyH Kids Buoyancy Swimwear Swimming Aid Vest

IvyH Kids Buoyancy Swimwear Swimming Aid Vest
Amazon

View offer

Best kids buoyancy aid for fasteners design

The IvyH Kids Swimming Vest is the best buoyancy aid for both kids and toddlers. Coming in a funky blue or pink design, the vest is safe and comfortable with its high-quality neoprene. The fastener's design not only increases security but makes it strong and durable, easy to wear and put on. Completely adjustable, the vest has buckles on all straps for more flexibility and a better fit.

Review: "Great lifevest, kids have enjoyed floating and playing in the sea. No slipping, comfortable and great quality for the price."

Konfidence The Original Jacket - Children's Swim Jacket

best-kids-life-jacket
Amazon

View offer

Best kids buoyancy aids with UV protection

Another great neoprene buoyancy aid is the Konfidence’s Original Jacket. Coming in a wide range of sizes (1.5 to seven years) and designs. Some designs even provide jackets up to 12 years old. This vest is recommended by the Starfish Aquatics Institute, the US and International awarding body. Providing kids with that extra bit of confidence, the jacket includes eight simple to remove floats to adapt to your child’s needs and progression. As well as, chunky YKK self-locking zip and 50+ UV and natural thermal protection.

Review: "Having a 3-year-old who would not go swimming... this was a lifesaver! Went on our holiday and his confidence grew and grew to the point he even went down slides on his own and felt safe... So many people commented on this and wished they had brought one too. Didn't chaff either, and would definitely recommend. Obviously, you still have to watch them as it's not a life jacket. Thank you for making our holiday so much easier :) used it without armbands!"

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us