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Expert advice

10th May 2023

Four of the best life jackets for babies and toddlers this summer

Sophie Collins

The topic of water safety is flooding the media right now as the warmer months begin and families head away on holidays.

If your kids are particularly young, or have not learned to swim yet, ensuring they wear a life vest when around pools, lakes, or the sea is essential.

According to the Irish Wetsuit Outlet, when choosing the right product you need to first make sure you know the difference between the different flotation devices on the market.

  • A life jacket is strongly recommended for children, toddlers and babies. It will support the head and keep the wearer facing upwards in the water.
  • A buoyancy aid, will aid the buoyancy of the wearer, keeping them floating. It will not, however, support the neck and head, or roll the wearer over if they’re face down in the water, so this should only be used by a confident swimmer.
  • An impact vest is used for sports like wakeboarding, where the chances of hitting the water with impact are high. Though it does provide some flotation, it’s mainly used to protect the wearer from being injured from impact with the water.

Essential features you should look for in a child’s life jacket are:

  • CE approved: All European life jackets must carry the CE mark
  • Foam: Foam life jackets are the only options available to buy for children up until the age of seven
  • Collar/neck support: If it doesn’t have this, it’s not a life jacket!
  • 100N of buoyancy: Buoyancy is measured in Newtons (N), and 100N is the standard for those who will be in sheltered calm water
  • Sizing: If a life jacket is too big, it can slip above the child’s head and be unable to offer proper support or keep their mouth and nose above the water
  • Crotch straps: Your kid may hate wearing these, but they’re key in ensuring the life jacket stays in place
  • Reflective taping/bright colours: These features improve the visibility of the child
  • Whistle: Again, helpful for the wearer to be able to attract attention should they need to.

Here are some of the top recommendations from the Wetsuit outlet:

Jobe Kids Comfort Boating PFD Vest


  • 100N ISO-certified (life jacket)
  • Adjustable webbing strap
  • Bright color & reflecting panels for optimal visibility
  • Crotch strap for optimal safety
  • Front zipper for fast entry
  • Lightweight EPE-foam
  • Strong & lightweight nylon fabric
  • Unisex fit
  • Whistle in case of emergency

Gul Dartmouth 100N Child Life Jacket


  • 100N buoyancy
  • ISO approved life jacket
  • Solas approved reflective tape on collar
  • CE approved hard wearing outer
  • 40mm Nylon webbing waist belt
  • Adjustable webbing thigh straps
  • Soft layered foam
  • Extra reflective piping for visibility

Crewsaver Euro 100N Life Jacket


  • 100N super soft PVC foam lifejacket
  • Reflective taping
  • Inherently buoyant
  • Crotch straps as standard
  • Strong, durable cover and fittings
  • Whistle
  • Waist adjustment
  • Fun cartoon design
  • Comes with ‘Oliver’s Adventure’ storybook

Crewsaver Spiral 100N Life Jacket


  • 100N foam lifejacket
  • Inherently buoyant
  • Crotch straps included as standard
  • Strong, durable cover and fittings
  • Whistle
  • Waist adjustment
  • Reflective tape and detailing


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