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Neoprene Life Jackets For Kids - Reviews and Recommendations for 2012

Updated on October 15, 2012

If you take your child's safety as seriously as I do, you need to have a look at this comparison of neoprene life jackets for kids. Amazon makes it easy to sort through their products to find the best matches, especially if the product has been sold long enough that it has a good number of customer reviews.

In the article below you will find a review of the most popular neoprene life vests for children and also a buyers guide explaining crucial safety features of these devices.

Nemo Life Jacket

Safety Features in Life Vests

What are the differences between various PFDs

Life jackets have safety certifications, four levels of them, and those certs have important differences. The United States Coast Guard has a certification system for Life Jackets that ranges from Type 1 to Type 4. I will Focus on Types 1, 2, and 3 because the fourth are called "life preservers" and are really only safe with adults.

  1. The FIRST type of jacket is designed to turn your infant onto his/her back when they go unconscious. Its designed to keep them floating with their mouths pointed up for a "long time" until help can arrive.
  2. The SECOND type of jacket is designed to keep your child from sinking to the bottom. It will usually flip them over and face their mouth up so they can unconsciously breath, but not always. It sounds scary but it isn't, this is a USCG Approval rating because your child is still VERY Likely to survive in these conditions. Assuming they weren't left unattended…
  3. The THIRD type of jacket is designed for kids who are still awake and aware of their surroundings. Almost every situation should qualify for a type three jacket since these are the most common.

There are several life vest for kids made from neoprene and the most popular models available on the market are listed below. They all have Coast Guards Certification and are top quality. See which one suits your needs:

Disney Princess Child Life Jacket (Pink, 30 - 50-Pound)
Disney Princess Child Life Jacket (Pink, 30 - 50-Pound)

It is an officially branded Disney life jacket. It has super high ratings and is considered one of the top 11,000 on the Amazon Best Seller Ranking. It was categorized as "boating and water sports," which means it's a type three. At least, I think, since it wasn't specifically stated and no customers had mentioned it in their reviews. The price was under $30 which was great. I Did wonder though, since it was Disney, if it might have sold simply on the cute factor.

Size: 30-50 lbs.

Color: Only comes in the "Princess Pink."

Certification: USCGA Type 2 or 3.

Nemo Neoprene Life Jacket
Nemo Neoprene Life Jacket

The "Nemo" Infant/Toddler Personal Floatation Device from Stohlquist

The biggest plus for this Nemo Jacket are the consumer statements clearly indicating that kids just love this vest due to its design and fabric that is not only nice in touch but also very durable. This jacket is a Type 2 USCG Approved Life Jacket. It is made from neoprene and "Gaia" foam which guarantee high quality. For additional security it is equipped in dual collar protecting head. This device comes in three colors: yellow, blue and red.

Customer reviews stated they really liked the V-Neck because their babies had the ability to move around, and the grab handle was a great benefit. I can see the grab handle, with floating beads, to be very handy if your baby is obnoxiously trying to swim away, but the foam isn't going to sink so I'm not worried from a safety standpoint.

Specs: 30-50 lbs.

Certification: USCGA Type 3.

O'Neill Wake Waterski Child Superlite USCG Vest
O'Neill Wake Waterski Child Superlite USCG Vest

The jacket is designed with a 3 panel construction, most are, that is comfortable to wear. The product description emphasized the heavy duty zipper on the front of the jacket, which is probably nice since it makes putting the jacket on easier if the zipper is too strong to get stuck. The jacket comes in three color choices; pink, yellow, and blue, but they use fancy names. It didn't specify what TYPE it was, but the amazon shopping category was sports so I'm assuming it was either a type two or three.

Size: 30-50 lbs.

Color: Pink, Yellow or Blue.

Certification: USCGA Type 2 or 3.

Youth Water Ski Wakeboard Life Jacket Vest Neoprene Nylon
Youth Water Ski Wakeboard Life Jacket Vest Neoprene Nylon

The Youth Water Ski Wakeboard Life Jacket is intended for older kids weighing between 50 to 90 pounds. This device by Winning Edge is partially neoprene and partially nylon in order to facilitate high safety along with comfort during its use. The vest was designed for active water sports participants so boating, water skiing and wake boarding can be safety practiced. Customers praise this neoprene life jacket for its comfort and practical, easy to use adjustment system.

Color: Black/Yellow.

Certification: USCG Approved Type 3.


What are your thoughts about life jackets for kids?

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