I always wanted to be that mom who takes her kids swimming nearly every day of the summer. However, after my two youngest were born 18 months apart, I didn’t see any way I could possibly take all four of my kids swimming by myself without someone drowning. Worrying about it made me have nightmares. Swimming as a family just wouldn’t happen until my kids could all touch the bottom of the pool, or so I thought. After talking to some other moms, however, I learned about some great kids’ flotation devices. I did some research and found some effective, inexpensive swim floaties to keep my kids safe while we all swam together.
When I was learning to swim, I remember wearing the plastic water wings. Remember those? There weren’t many options back then, but now there seem to be so many. How do you decide? Here are some tips of things to look for in toddler or preschooler swim floaties:
The 6 Best Swim Floaties for Toddlers and Preschoolers in 2018
Here are five good flotation devices to help your toddlers and preschoolers stay safe while enjoying the water. Word of caution: The following swim floaties are to help your child be comfortable in the water while learning to swim. An adult still needs to be with your child at all times. These swim floaties are not life-saving devices nor do they replace adult supervision. We’ve also reviewed our favorite infant life jackets and kids goggles. So, if you’re looking for a jacket rather than a floatie, take a look at that review.
|Top Swim Floaties||Product Details|
|Body Glove Paddle Pals|
|Stearns Puddle Jumper|
|Speedo Begin to Swim|
|SwimSchool Training Vest|
|Poolmaster 50550 Learn to Swim|
|Konfidence Children's Swim Jacket|
Swim Floaties for Toddlers and Preschoolers – What to Look For:
- Does the device keep your child’s weight centered? If not, your child will tip over either forward or backward into the water.
- What material is it made of? Good quality foam will keep your child floating above the water, but the material on the outside can be just as important. The best materials to keep your child comfortable while swimming are neoprene and polyester. Products made of nylon are often cheaper, but nylon can rub and chafe.
- Make sure the device is adjustable. You want to make sure your child is securely fastened into the swim aid so he doesn’t fall out or take it off in the water. Look for adjustable straps.
- I feel safer putting my kids in a swim aid that is approved by the U.S. Coast Guard or American Red Cross. For me, the peace of mind in knowing the device has been tested and deemed effective is well worth a few extra dollars.
Body Glove Paddle Pals Swim Life Jacket
This is a great life jacket for kids who are learning to swim. You’ve probably seen this style. It goes around the child’s chest and has attached armbands to keep the child afloat. Unlike some similar styles, the Body Glove Paddle Pals comes with a shoulder harness; this keeps the life jacket from falling off or being taken off by your child. Paddle Pals is made of
Unlike some similar styles, the Body Glove Paddle Pals comes with a shoulder harness; this keeps the life jacket from falling off or being taken off by your child.
Paddle Pals is made of high-quality polyester, which doesn’t chafe like nylon can. This swim aid is designed for children who weigh 30-50 pounds. One of my favorite things about it is that it is U.S. Coast Guard approved. That means you can use it for swimming, boating, or other water activities and feel confident that it will keep your child safe. It comes in a variety of fun prints and colors.
Stearns Puddle Jumper Basic Life Jacket
The Stearns Puddle Jumper life jacket looks a lot like the Body Glove Paddle Pals, but this one doesn’t have the shoulder harness. It has foam armbands as well as foam around the chest. An adjustable buckle snaps in the back to keep your child secure. This product is for kids weighing 30-50 pounds.
It comes in a variety of colors with cute sea creatures and smiling faces on it. The Puddle Jumper is made of polyester, so it won’t cause chafing. While cheaper than the Body Glove, the Puddle Jumper is not as good of quality and doesn’t stay on the child as well. It is a good choice for a beginning swimmer, but if you are looking for lasting quality, go with the Body Glove.
Speedo Kids’ Begin to Swim Classic Swim Vest
This is great option for kids who are ready to learn to swim. It’s a swim vest and allows more freedom for movement than the options with armbands. The neoprene cover helps with both buoyancy and warmth for the swimmer. A child can easily put this swim vest on by himself. There is also a center safety strap that buckles, ensuring the vest stays in place. The neoprene exterior with polyester lining means your child will be comfortable in this vest, without any rubbing or chafing.
Additionally, this vest has a UPF 50+ rating, which means it protects your child from harmful UVA and UVB rays. Another bonus is that the Speedo Kids’ Begin to Swim vest is that it’s American Red Cross Licensed for Swim Level 2. You can be confident that this product will help protect your child as he learns to swim. There are two size options: medium (for 33-45 pounds) and large (for 45-60 pounds).
Aqua Leisure Swim Training Vest with Sleeves
This is another swim vest specifically for children who are ready to learn to swim. It contains foam pads and padded shoulders to keep your child afloat. Sleeves help keep your child’s shoulders protected from the sun, while still allowing freedom of movement in the water.
The adjustable safety strap allows you to make it just the right size for your child. This vest comes in a blue camo print for boys or a pink camo print for girls. There are two size options: small/medium (for 20-33 pounds) and medium/large (for 33-55 pounds).
While the concept of this vest is good and the price is low, the safety strap can be irritating to legs and can result in chafing. Also, the vest often rides up, leaving a rash on the neck and jawline.
Poolmaster 50550 Learn-To-Swim Freestyler Swim Vest
This lightweight vest is a good option for toddlers or preschoolers who are ready to learn to swim. It is less bulky than some other swim vests. The open-side design gives the swimmer more freedom to move in the water. Closed-cell foam material makes this vest buoyant and gives you peace of mind that your child will be safe wearing it.
Nylon covers the foam. Unfortunately, nylon can cause chafing for some people. This vest has adjustable buckles and a center strap to keep your kiddo securely strapped in. The Poolmaster Learn-to-Swim Freestyler comes in three sizes: small (up to 45 pounds), medium (up to 65 pounds), and large (up to 80 pounds). This is a great choice for a swim vest as long as your child isn’t bothered by the nylon.
4-5 Year Olds Konfidence Children’s Swim Jacket
The Konfidence Children’s Swim Jacket has won several awards and is a fantastic choice for kids learning to swim. It is made of soft neoprene fabric on the outside and quality foam on the inside. The neoprene prevents chafing on the neck and face. It also provides sun protection.
If you’ve ever been swimming in cold water, you know there’s nothing worse than trying to keep a shivering child warm in the water. One of the best things about the Konfidence jacket is that it keeps your child warm in the water.
This swim jacket comes in 8 different patterns and 3 sizes: 18 months-3 years, 4-5 years, and 6-7 years. It does run a bit small so you might consider buying a size up if your child is large.
While the Konfidence Children’s Swim Jacket is not US Coast Guard approved as a lifesaving device, it gives kids confidence as they learn to swim. Unlike most other swim floaties, this one gives you the option of removing some or all of the foam as your child becomes a better swimmer.
You don’t have to be scared about taking your toddler or preschooler to the pool. Get good swim floaties, and you can be confident that swimming will be an enjoyable experience for you and your children.
The above options are affordable and effective. If you are having a hard time narrowing down the options, I would recommend the Body Glove Paddle Pals if you are looking for a swimming device with armbands.
For a swim vest, I would recommend the Konfidence Children’s Swim Jacket or the Speedo Kids Begin to Swim vest. Have a splashing time with your kids at the pool or beach! Have some recommendations on swim aids you love? Let me know below.