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Cruising and Sailing with Children All things sailing and kids related, from safety to life aboard.

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Old 06-26-2014
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Re: Best infant and kid lifejackets?

Originally Posted by MedSailor View Post
My little tyke is approaching 2 years old, and is now 27lbs. I'm finding that lifejackets for little ones are in the >30lbs category or 30-50lb categories. His current one won't strap up all the way, but the 30-50lb ones that we've tried on him are huge.

Reading reviews of lifejackets can be downright scary, like this one for a BodyGlove kids's lifejacket from amazon:

I love the look of it, and quality looks great, but I used this for the first time two days ago. We were at the lake and I was watching my children play by the shore and in the water. I put a infant Body Glove life vest on my 2 1/2 year old which he is 23 lbs. I strapped him in a felt very safe with him having a life vest on. About 15 min of him playing in the water I watched him fall forward. I was not worried because he had a life vest on so I started walking toward him. Then I noticed the life vest did not turn him over it kept him face down in the water. He started to kick and move his arms all over, by this time I ran over and picked him up. The pillow kept him from turning onto his back. I called Body Glove and The only thing they said, "If you have an infant a parent must always be watching them, the life vest is a flotation devise." I told them that I purchased this item to go boating so I would protect my child. What if he fell into the water and I couldn't get to him. Then she repeated the same statement. Very Disappointed. I now don't know what to use for my son. This Jacket provides a false sense of security. I am just grateful I was watching him close. Very Scary and extremely disappointed.

I've heard that the USCG life vest standards aren't as stringent as the Canadian or European standards. Not sure if that's true. I also know that we are required to have USCG approved vests of appropriate size aboard for each crew member. Now, my state (Washington state) requires all boaters who aren't in an enclosed cabin, below a certain age to be wearing life jackets, but I'll have to check the regs to see if they specify it has to be a USCG lifejacket. If I find a better jacket from Canada or Europe, I may use it and keep a USCG approved one around as Coast Guard repellent and as a spare.

We also have another infant on the way, and in my research it looks like there may be a good option that is designed especially for very small infants. Ideally any infant jacket would still allow us to keep him in the car seat.

There is also this infant vest that I know nothing at all about, but looks to have all the flotation in the front where it should be. USCG baby vest

What do you guys like/dislike for infants?
What do you like/dislike for toddlers?

We use whitewater vests for kids in everything we do from rafting to the sailboat. The only thing I don't like is that they don't have proper attachment points for things like tethers as they are a no no in white water unless trained to use them. So, we will likely replace ours, but the plus side is that they are made to float upright, but also allow for arm movement and easy swimming. They are also comfortable as a kid vest can be so they are wearing them. We still use ours too. I know that as a ww boater when I look at vests in WM they make me a bit nervous and even more so at other power boating stores. They all seem poorly designed and executed. I don't have experience with the Mustangs so they just seem alien to me

I would never use a body glove PFD though. WW vests save you everyday, even kids who paddle. Just part of the scene. You swim in places people shouldn't swim. So they are over designed for and by people who know that it WILL save their life OVER AND OVER. Keep in mind I say this knowing that there are design features that are not a perfect match between the two sports. The difference in quality is just stunning though.

I guess I just wanted to say the old white water line of the best vest is the one that you will wear.

And our kids are actually older than yours! I thought yours were older than mine but we have a two year old now as well. What a handful on a 25' boat!
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