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


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  #1  
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Best infant and kid lifejackets?

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.
BIJOUX BABY VEST

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?

MedSailor
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Re: Best infant and kid lifejackets?

Our children have sailed since they were 2 - 3 years of age.. We found the Mustang Lil' Legend life jackets to be the best jackets for our children - comfortable, in & out of the water, with a strong loop on the back for lifting plus more than enough flotation.

Children's Life Vest

and in action

Happy Crew Sailing on the Chesapeake Bay

Garner
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Re: Best infant and kid lifejackets?

Mustang Lil Legends

Both the 4 year old and 2 year old wear one


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Re: Best infant and kid lifejackets?

We bought a Bijoux for our new arrival. When he was 8lb it was a little too big, rides up over his chin (although there's no way it can go over his head), at 10.5lbs it's now much better, although if you sit him up in it the chest piece still pushes up into his face a bit. Seemed to be about the best of them out there from all the research I did.
In Canada at least there are no Transport Canada approvals for it because you are not required to carry a lifejacket for anyone that small and hence no standard to approve.
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Re: Best infant and kid lifejackets?

Another vote here for Mustang Lil Legends.

Our daughter just about lived in one. When young( baby) we also tended to use a burke child harness, tethering her to strong point when she was in the cockpit offshore.
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Re: Best infant and kid lifejackets?

The best child vests have crotch straps to prevent them from riding upward above the head when in the water.
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Re: Best infant and kid lifejackets?

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Originally Posted by dvuyxx View Post
The best child vests have crotch straps to prevent them from riding upward above the head when in the water.
Agreed.

Went life jacket shopping the other day at West Marine and I was surprized to see how many of the 30-50lb range are the type III type. My kid is not even 2 and doesn't fit into the <30lb jacket anymore but he definitely can't swim yet, so he needs the self-righting one.

They didn't have the lil legends in his size, so we ordered it on faith (from Amazon) on the nearly unanimous recommendations.

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Re: Best infant and kid lifejackets?

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Originally Posted by MedSailor View Post

They didn't have the lil legends in his size, so we ordered it on faith (from Amazon) on the nearly unanimous recommendations.

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If it makes you feel better we made Mustang Australia import them in from Canada for us

The don't carry the Lil legends here in Oz apparently.
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Re: Best infant and kid lifejackets?

I would also highly endorse the Mustang Little Legends, but I believe the model shown by GBennett (traditional yellow) are unfortuntately being discontinued or being phased out (from what I was able to find).
I luckily picked up one this spring at Bacons in Annapolis after trying West, Fawcetts and other online distributers. I dont like the new Mustang models nearly as much between looking more bulky and not the traditional look that Stearns had established with the Lil Legends. My 2.5 year old girl lives in hers while on the boat so it is a balance between safety first, comfort second and lastly style
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Re: Best infant and kid lifejackets?

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Originally Posted by kptmorgan04 View Post
I would also highly endorse the Mustang Little Legends, but I believe the model shown by GBennett (traditional yellow) are unfortuntately being discontinued or being phased out (from what I was able to find).
Hmmm.... I ordered one of the new ones. Hopefully the legendary reputation carries over to the newer model.

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