8 Best Swim Vests for Toddlers in 2017

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best toddler swim vest

Swimming is one of the best exercises for kids and adults alike. It can provide a host of health and social benefits that everyone can take full advantage of. That’s why it is important to teach kids how to swim as early as possible so that they can reap all of the benefits of swimming early in their lives. Unfortunately, learning how to swim can have its risks. That is why it is important to take it one step at a time. And the very first step is to teach children how to be confident on water. To do this, you will need a flotation device that will help them get used to the feel of floating and cruising on water. With the 8 best swim vests for toddlers in 2017, we can safely say that you’ll be on the right track towards helping your tot feel more confident about having fun in the water.

8 Best Swim Vests for Toddlers

PictureModelBrandRating
Speedo Kids' UPF 50+ Begin to Swim Classic Swim VestSpeedo5
O'Neill Wake Waterski Infant USCG VestO’Neill4.9
Speedo Kids' UPF 50+ Begin to Swim Printed Neoprene Swim VestSpeedo4.8
Splash About Collections Float Suit, Apple DaisySplash About4.7
Stohlquist Infant/Toddler Nemo Infant Personal Floatation DeviceStohlquist4.6
Speedo Water Skeeter Personal Life JacketSpeedo4.5

Kids’ UPF 50+ Begin to Swim Classic Swim Vest by Speedo

Kids’ UPF 50+ Begin to Swim Classic Swim Vest by Speedo[

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One of the most important things that young children need to learn to swim is their confidence in the water. If they are afraid of even getting into a shallow pool, then they will not really be able to learn the wonderful art of swimming. This is why many swim experts agree that confidence needs to be established and nurtured among young children if they are to be successful in treading in aquatic environments. This also helps pave the way for their absolute enjoyment of the sport. As such, one of the leading manufacturers of aquatic sports equipment and gears, Speedo, came up with the Kids’ Begin to Swim Classic Swim Vest to help provide the necessary tool for kids to develop and grow their confidence in the water. This floatation device is duly licensed by the American Red Cross which should give you the assurance and peace of mind that you need regarding its usefulness in keeping your toddler afloat. Made of durable high quality and soft neoprene, the Speedo Begin to Swim Classic affords optimum comfort, thanks in part to the use of an inner lining that’s made of soft polyester. The same material, combined with the neoprene also helps make sure your kid will never go hypothermic while in the pool or even in any other body of water. The vest is equally protected with a Block the Burn UV 50+ ultraviolet protection to help maintain its overall integrity. The Speedo Begin to Swim Classic comes with an easy to operate zipper and a safety strap that can be worn around the child’s legs. This helps anchor the vest so that it will not be slipping off your kid’s head. Unfortunately, the safety straps are the only thing on the Speedo that’s fully adjustable. The circumference of the vest itself cannot be adjusted to provide for a more perfect fit. Nonetheless, this Speedo product is a great confidence-boosting floatation device for young children.

What We Like about It – Speedo is an easily recognizable brand when it comes to aquatic wear. If you can find the perfect fit for your child, then this should be a great device to build the confidence of your child in aquatic environments.

Wake Waterski Infant USCG Vest by O’Neill

Wake Waterski Infant USCG Vest by O’Neill

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A floatation device that can be worn over the torso should have a mechanism that allows it to be adjusted according to the body size of the wearer. A variety of straps should help make this happen. No one understands this more than the inventor or the wetsuit, Jack O’Neill, who has been in the business of designing and producing high performance wetsuits and water and snow sports apparels since the 1950s. The Wake Waterski Infant USCG Vest is a testament to the company’s dedication for high quality performance products that are not only functional but are also aesthetically stylish. The Wake Waterski is duly approved and recommended by the United States Coast Guard and is specifically designed for your children who weigh no more than 30 pounds. It features a head support panel to help make sure your young tot will have absolute control of his or her head movement. Additionally, should your young kid float on aquatic environments, he or she can easily rest his or her head on the head support panel. It also comes with a safety loop which should come in handy when tugging the unit while the child is lying on his or her back. The Wake Waterski also comes with a lightweight shell that’s made of fluid foam neoprene providing for superb buoyancy in any marine environment. This helps keep your child staying afloat to build confidence while paddling his or her way across the surface of the pool, the beach, the lake, or even the river. Fully adjustable straps are built into the vest to allow for a more secure and comfortable fit while the safety straps between the legs also add to the overall security of wearing the device. All the buckles on the Wake Waterski are designed with quick release mechanisms.

What We Like about It – The Wake Waterski is a really superb product coming from a company that has been making high-performance suits for aquatic sports. The head support panel and the dual safety buckles are definite pluses for the product.

Kids’ UPF 50+ Begin to Swim Printed Neoprene Swim Vest by Speedo

Kids’ UPF 50+ Begin to Swim Printed Neoprene Swim Vest by Speedo

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For those who love the Speedo brand but wished it came in more colorful styles to make it more “child-friendly”, Speedo’s Begin to Swim Printed Neoprene Swim Vest should be a great choice. It comes with essentially the same features as the Classic vest, from its neoprene shell to the soft polyester lining, and the superb ultraviolet protection at UVF 50+. Unfortunately, it also has the same non-adjustable vest except for the safety straps that are worn between the child’s legs. The only thing that’s different is the design of the Speedo Printed Neoprene. Available in sapphire blue, aqua, berry and grape, and blue color designs, your kid will now have an excellent selection to make his or her swimming endeavors more fun.

What We Like about It – The Speedo Begin to Swim Printed Neoprene comes with the same styling and features package of the Classic vest but in a more child-friendly, colorful, and stylish designs.

Apple Daisy Collections Float Suit by Splash About

Apple Daisy Collections Float Suit by Splash About

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Some parents require a swim vest that can be easily adjusted when it comes to fitting it with a buoyant material. This allows them to make the necessary adjustments based on the growing skill level of children. The Splash About Apple Daisy Collections Float Suit contains unique floats that can be easily removed as the child’s skill level and confidence grows. Initially, the child wears the Apple Daisy complete with its 16 removable floats until such time that the child no longer feels threatened by the experience of treading in an aquatic environment. Gradually, float after float is removed until the child is able to master the art of floating, still wearing the Apple Daisy, but without significant buoyant effect. The gradual removal of the floats allow for a safer and more systematic progression of the child’s swimming skills. He or she can steadily grow in confidence as each float is removed. And in cases where the removal of a float will bring anxiety to the kid, then, you can easily slip in an additional float. The material used in the Apple Daisy has been duly layered with a UPF 50+ UVA and UVB protection to maintain its integrity as a floatation device. Furthermore, since the Apple Daisy is designed like a suit, there are no straps that can get in the way to treading comfort. Just slip the Apple Daisy in like any regular kiddie bathing suit and your child can be learning how to do the freestyle or even the breaststroke in minutes. Of course, realistically, this is nearly impossible if the child has not yet grown confident in the water. Nevertheless, the Apple Daisy is one superb tool for slowly building confidence in any child who wishes to master the pool or even the waves.

What We Like about It – The swimsuit styling of the Apple Daisy is one of the best things we like about it. The integration of removable floats is also very commendable.

Unisex Infant/Toddler Nemo Infant Life Jacket/Personal Floatation Device by Stohlquist

Stohlquist Infant/Toddler Nemo Infant Personal Floatation Device

Designed pretty much like the O’Neill Wake Waterski, the Stohlquist Unisex Nemo Life Jacket Personal Floatation Device is considered as one of the best when it comes to training your little tyke to gain confidence in watery environments. Like the Wake Waterski, the Stohlquist Nemo comes with a fully padded head support that wrap around the neck collar serving as a cradle for your child’s head. This is especially helpful in training kids how to float on their backs. At any rate, there will be no tension on the cervical spine as kids will try to kick with their feet and paddle with their hands while being buoyed by the Stohlquist Nemo. The head and neck cradle also has a built-in grab handle which helps in tugging the Nemo along. The handle has integrated beads to make sure that it stays open for ease of grabbing. The swim vest is made of a super lightweight and highly buoyant material – a shell that’s made of 200 denier oxford underneath a high grade nylon material as well as a soft interior lining – complete with a low profile backing that is guaranteed never to get in the way of your child’s sitting. He or she will still be able to sit comfortably without any portion of the Nemo providing any discomfort. The crotch harness is also fully adjustable while the safety straps on the front of the jacket helps provide for a more comfortable fit for your child.

What We Like about It – The Stohlquist Nemo comes as a very unique way to help kids master aquatic movements and help boost their confidence in such activities. The addition of the head and neck cradle is also excellent.

Water Skeeter Personal Life Jacket by Speedo

Water Skeeter Personal Life Jacket by Speedo

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At first glance, you’ll think the Speedo Water Skeeter Personal Life Jacket is the new outfit of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. A closer inspection reveals that, while it is not an official adaptation of the TMNT, the design is nonetheless patterned after turtle shells. Unlike the Speedo Swim Vest, the Water Skeeter is more like the life jacket that we are familiar with in ships and airplanes. It comes with move groove panels on the front to help provide for greater mobility in the water. Instead of one solid block of buoyant material, the Water Skeeter comes with tubular foam integrated around the edges of the vest. This helps guarantee optimum flexibility as well as full range of motion during swims. And unlike the Swim Vest of Speedo, the Water Skeeter can be adjusted for perfect fit, thanks to its side straps that can be adjusted to keep it snug. It’s like wearing a sleeveless shirt but with floatation tubes built around the edges.

What We Like about It – The turtle shell and 6-pack abs design of the Water Skeeter should provide for pure clean fun for kids wanting to learn how to swim.

Kids Puddle Jumper by Stearns

Kids Puddle Jumper by Stearns

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The Stearns Kids Puddle Jumper is designed like the Apple Daisy. It is actually a kiddie jumper wetsuits with built-in floatation boards and buoyant arm bands. This one-piece swim jumper is perfect for kids who weigh anywhere between 30 and 40 pounds and affords the, superior stability while treading in aquatic environments. The buoyant pads are fully integrated into the fabric suit composed of woven polyester and polyester spandex giving your child superb fit and excellent mobility. The buoyant force provided by its floatation device help build confidence in your child as he or she slowly learns the different techniques to conquering mild to moderate waves. And since the floatation devices are already built into the outfit, there is no more need for straps and other similar secure mechanisms, freeing your child from having to buckle and unbuckle these systems.

What We Like about It – The Stearns Kids Puddle Jumper is perfect for enhanced mobility and optimum comfort for kids while they learn to swim. This should prove instrumental in growing their confidence.

Kids Floaties Swim Shirt Combo Kids Floatation Device by Otter Wings

Kids Floaties Swim Shirt Combo Kids Floatation Device by Otter Wings

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If you like the Kids Puddle Jumper but wished it were just a shirt, then the answer is Otter Wings’ Kids Floaties Swim Shirt. As the name suggests, this is simply a shirt with buoyant arm bands that easily attaches to the swim shirt. The swim shirt itself doesn’t contain any floatation mechanisms, only the arm bands. That is why the Otter Wings is specifically intended for older toddlers who may already have gained enough confidence in their swimming skills, but not yet enough to go without any form buoyancy assistance. The Otter Wings is designed with UPF 50+ UVB and UVA protection to help extend its lifespan.

What We Like about It – The Otter Wings Kids Floaties is one fun way to enjoy swimming without having to worry about drowning. That said, it should only be used by kids who already have a certain level of confidence in their skills.

How We Chose the Best Toddlers’ Swim Vests in Our List

There were quite a few considerations when we took on this challenge. Of particular importance was the product’s primary function of keeping your toddler afloat. This was very important since any problem in this function can significantly undermine all other qualities of the product. It simply won’t matter anymore if it looks cool and fun. If it cannot keep your young child afloat, then what is the use of wearing one? If kids will still sink or can barely stay afloat in these devices, then there is a very high chance that they will develop fear instead of confidence treading in water. We wouldn’t want that now, would we?

Once only those products that are guaranteed and certified to be excellent at keeping children afloat have been shortlisted, we then examined each one for their other characteristics. One of these was the level of comfort it provides to kids. Most kids don’t like the idea of having a very bulky piece of vest wrapped around their torso even though we can help explain to them that it is for their own safety. As such, the products we chose were determined to provide the best in optimum comfort being a wearable device. It was also crucial to check for the ease of putting it on. However, it should also not easily come off as this will pose a significant threat to kids in the water. Other safety features were also considered.

The construction of the swim vest was also considered. Because these wearable devices will be subjected to exposure from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, it was imperative that the materials used in its construction had some degree of sun protection. Some cheaply made products suffer from cracking because of the intense heat of the sun. This can severely degrade its overall integrity and hence, pose a threat to child safety especially in the water.
We also needed a way to validate our initial assessment. So we looked at existing customer satisfaction ratings for these shortlisted products to help determine which among these will make the final cut. We set the cutoff score to 4.0 stars so anything below it was automatically removed from the final list. Adding to this screening parameter was the reputation of the swim vest manufacturer. We only included those with unquestionable history in designing and making quality and safe swim vests.

Tips to Helping Your Child Feel More Confident Swimming

Swimming can bring a lot of benefits especially for kids. This is especially true for those who may have problems in mobility since the buoyant force of water will help lessen the effect of impact forces on the musculoskeletal system. That is why it is recommended that kids be taught how to swim, not only to let them reap the benefits of swimming, but also to help lessen the risk of drowning. Unfortunately, it takes time before children can really learn to swim with confidence. Here are some tips to build confidence in your child swimming.

  • Start young. There are now babies born in water environments. It is thus, recommended that babies as early as 2 months old should already be exposed to the joys of swimming.
  • Always make swimming a family bonding time. Young kids, especially babies and toddlers, will always have fear whenever they go in the water. One way to solve this is by showing that you, too, are confident swimming in these waters. Make sure that when you do swim, you’re going to do so as a family.
  • Make a point of swimming on a more regular basis. Don’t wait for summer to come before you head to the pool. There are indoor swimming pools that provide excellent all-weather swimming opportunities. Remember that, to build confidence, your kid must be able to do this on a frequent and regular basis.
  • Introduce a fun element to the swimming activities. Get some toys that you can use while your kids are building their confidence levels in the water. Additionally, it is better to let kids decide when they want to get in the water rather than you enrolling them in a class even before they are ready for it.

Choose the correct buoyancy aid. The reason why we had this article is because floatation devices are very helpful tools in building the confidence of young would-be swimmers. By the time kids are ready, you can easily remove these buoyancy aids.

The Bottom Line

Swimming is a great activity for the whole family. However, you need to prepare your child to really enjoy his or her time in the water. The 8 best swim vests for toddlers in 2017 should give you an idea of which floatation device will work best for your kid.

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Selina Marie
Selina Marie is our head of content for MyKidNeedsThat.com, mum of two and a self proclaimed toy geek. When she isn't juggling the madness at home, on a school run or baking her world famous blueberry muffins, you will find her product researching and keeping the site freshly updated with the latest toys and fun for our readers!

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