The Best Swim Floaties for Toddlers – Reviewed for Fun and Safety

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What is summer without spending time with your family splashing in the water? Memories of fun and games in the pool or boating on a lake will last you a lifetime. Waterparks also provide plenty of all-day fun for the whole family. 

As much as you love spending time in the water with your family, it is equally important to keep them safe, especially when it comes to your toddlers. According to the CDC, two children under the age of 14 die every day due to unintentional drowning. In fact, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional death in toddlers, just behind birth defects. This is why it is so important to protect your toddler in the water and why you are looking for reviews of the best swim floaties for toddlers in the first place!

Here Are The Swim Floaties We Recommend

Our Top Pick – Best Swim Floaties For Toddlers

We Recommend the Stearns Puddle Jumper as our top pick for toddlers for the following reasons:

  • US Coast Guard approved and classified as a Type III Child’s PFD
  • The design gives freedom of movement
  • A moderately-priced and popular choice for safety

Read on for more information, or click the link below to read more reviews on Amazon.

Price: $24.68
(2179 customer reviews)
  • The Stearns Original Puddle Jumper Life Jackets have been tested and approved by the U.S. Coast Guard for use as Type V/III personal flotation devices in, on, or near the water
  • Meet strict requirements for use on boats, in public pools, and at water parks that require Coast Guard-approved devices
  • Woven polyester for softer fabric with less chafing
  • Playful designs make water safety fun for kids
  • Give beginners confidence when learning how to swim
  • Designed to fit snugly for added safety
  • Comfortable styling lets kids move and play freely in or near the water
  • Safety buckle snaps in the back so kids can't remove vests on their own (when properly tightened)
  • Adjustable strap offers a secure fit to children 30 to 50 lb.
  • US Coast Guard-approved when worn on boats
  • Quality graphics stay bright and colorful for years to come
  • Woven polyester for softer fabric with less chafing
  • Learn-to-swim aid for beginners in the water
  • Comfortable design, more freedom to swim and play

Toddlers are not only inexperienced swimmers, but they can be exhaustingly unpredictable. While they are completely dependent on their parents and caregivers for everything, they desire as much independence as possible. Swim floaties provide proper safety in the water by keeping the child buoyant and giving them the independence they want.

Not all swim floaties are created equal. Experts agree that when it comes to child safety, inflatable water wings are a poor choice. As they are typically only designed to be worn on the arms, they do not keep the rest of the body buoyant. Typically, they can be easily punctured rendering them useless, and they do not reliably keep the child’s head above water. What does make a good choice for swim floaties? At a minimum, you want the construction of a foam vest with attached foam water wings covered in a comfortable, quick-drying material.


Some swim vests you will find have been US Coast Guard approved and classified as a Type III Primary Flotation Device (PFD). Vests are not required to carry either of these labels, but when they do, you can have added peace of mind that you are using a top-quality product.

In order to achieve the US Coast Guard approval, swim vests are tested for quality of materials and effectiveness to ensure they are up to standard. If the swim vest is classified as a Type III PFD, the US Coast Guard has approved it for use in calm water and recreational boating. They are designed so the swimmer can put him or herself in a face-up position, or may need to tilt his or her head back to avoid being face down.  You can be ensured that the material is made of high quality, dense foam that will keep the child’s head above water. It is approved for continuous wear, and the material surrounding the foam is of high quality. 

With safety and quality in mind, we have provided you with a list of the best swim floaties for toddlers for safety and fun. These are popular brands based on sales and each product is highly rated by customers and offers a variety of designs to suit your needs. They also provide freedom of movement to give toddlers the independence they desire as they are learning to swim while keeping their heads above water. Now, let’s “dive” in as I present to you the best swim floaties reviews.

Body Glove Paddle Pals Learn to Swim Life Jacket

Key Features

  • Swim floaties approved to fit toddlers 30-50 lbs
  • US Coast Guard Approved and Type III Child’s PFD classified for peace of mind
  • Designed for comfort and to protect a toddler’s sensitive skin from chafing

Body Glove is known for making all things water sports. Their Paddle Pals Learn to Swim Life Jacket ranked #1 as an Amazon Bestseller in Swim Vests for adults and kids. This swim vest is one of the higher-priced products, but for good reason. It is made of high-quality material and highly rated by customers on Amazon. 

This option provides peace of mind as it has obtained the US Coast Guard approved certification as a PFD. It is approved as a Type III Child’s PFD, suitable for calm water and shoreline activities, including recreational boating. These enhanced safety standards protect your little one as you are making memories for years to come with your family.

The multi-panel design provides superior comfort while the polyester lining is designed to prevent chafing on a toddler’s sensitive skin. Toddlers have freedom of movement while they are gaining confidence in the water and more independence. The fun graphics help ease even the most reluctant of children when they are having to get used to their new floaties.

For added safety, the Paddle Pals Learn to Swim Life Jacket includes a shoulder harness to keep the vest from slipping off of the child, or from being removed without the assistance of an adult. It features an adjustable chest strap with a rear, quick release safety buckle making it inaccessible to little hands. The swim vest is approved to fit toddlers from 30-50 lbs. Although the manufacturer has approved the product for use in toddlers 30-50 lbs, customer reviews have stated that their toddlers weighing as little as 21 lbs have been able to use it successfully. However, I cannot, in good conscience, support the recommendation of using it on a smaller toddler without suggesting that you first contact the manufacturer.

AmazeFan Kids Swim Life Jacket Vest

Key Features

  • Excellent choice of floaties on a budget
  • Compatible with smaller toddlers 20-30 lbs.
  • Waterproof phone pouch and storage bag included with purchase

For floaties on a budget, AmazeFan Kids Swim Life Jacket Vest is an excellent choice. While this product cannot claim the US Coast Guard approval, nor is it officially classified as a Type III PFD, it is still highly rated on Amazon, and ranked as #3 in Best Selling Swim Vests. It boasts powerful buoyancy and is made of woven polyester and soft nylon fabric. This vest is made of materials that are both environmentally friendly and skin-friendly.

The swim vest construction is designed for immediate use, with no inflation necessary. Like many other toddler vests, it has a rear clasp closure to prevent the child from being able to remove it without an adult. The AmazeFan Kids Swim Life Jacket Vest is suitable for toddlers 30-50 lbs but is also compatible for use with smaller toddlers 20-30 lbs.

As a bonus, the swim vest comes with one waterproof phone pouch and one storage bag. The transparent phone pouch is fully submersible and fully waterproof allowing you access to your touch screen. This allows you the opportunity to capture memories worry-free. Since it is fully submersible you can capture your memories both below and above water!

Customers loved that it slides on and off of the arms easily, yet stays in place. They confirmed that it fit toddlers under 30 lbs, and they said that the adjustable strap was easy to use. Many customers seemed to like that it took two hands to unbuckle to clasp, providing protection against the vest accidentally coming off. Overall, the AmazeFan Kids Swim Life Jacket Vest is a great option for floaties on a budget.

Stearns Puddle Jumper

Key Features

  • US Coast Guard approved and classified as a Type III Child’s PFD
  • The design gives freedom of movement
  • A moderately-priced and popular choice for safety

The Stearns Puddle Jumper is a popular choice for swim floaties and for good reason. They are moderately priced and still deliver the same safety assurance as their competitors. The Puddle Jumper is US Coast Guard approved and classified as a Type III Child’s PFD. Parents and caregivers can have peace of mind knowing their child is safe in the water.

The shoulderless design of the vest gives toddlers freedom of movement and confidence as they are learning to swim. The fabric is made of woven polyester which feels soft on sensitive skin. Rear buckle enclosure features adjustable straps allowing the vest to fit toddlers 30-50 lbs.

Stearns Puddle Jumper provides multiple options of fun graphics to choose from. Toddlers are sure to enjoy wearing their favorite design as they gain more independence in the water. Customers love how easy to use it is. They also love how easy it is for their toddler to get used to wearing it.

Gogokids Baby Float Suit Swimsuit

Key Factors

  • Removable buoyancy foams, so it can be worn as a traditional swimsuit, as well
  • Protects skin from the sun
  • Fits toddlers 26-68lbs

This is a unique, yet practical choice for your toddler. The Gogokids Float Suit is a full-body swimsuit that has buoyancy foams in the neck, chest, and back. These foams are removable, so the choice of this float is essentially an all in one. The swimsuit can be worn with the floats for safety as your toddler is gaining confidence in the water, or it can be worn without them as necessary.

The swimsuit is made of lightweight, quick-drying material. It is 80% polyamide and 20% elastane. With its full-bodied design, the swimsuit also protects against your toddler’s skin against the sun. Having both shorts and sleeves, you can feel confident that your child’s skin is protected. Depending on the size you buy, these swimsuits fit toddlers as small as 26 lb, up to 68lb. 

The manufacturer also provides a satisfaction guarantee. If you have any problems with the swimsuit, you are encouraged to contact them so they can refund or replace it if necessary. Although it is not US Coast Guard approved or a Type III PFD, it is highly recommended by customers as a great transitional swimsuit.

Babcoo Baby Floats for Pool, Kids Life Jacket

Key Features

  • Made of lightweight, quick-drying nylon
  • Suitable for toddlers 30-50 lbs; compatible with toddlers 20-30 lbs
  • The manufacturer provides 100% Satisfaction Guarantee

Another highly rated best-seller, the Babcoo swim vest is another good option at a reasonable price. There are several options of their basic design. It has a rear dual clasp with an adjustable strap. They are designed to fit children 30-50 lbs but are also compatible with smaller children 20-30 lbs. 

As toddlers are learning to swim, this vest will keep them afloat and keep their heads above water. They will gain confidence and independence as they are strengthening their skills in the water. The fabric is made of lightweight nylon, which dries quickly.

While the Babcoo Kids Life Jacket is not US Coast Guard approved, or classified as a Type III PFD, it will keep your toddler afloat, providing peace of mind in the water. The manufacturer also provides a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee by allowing the product to be returned within one month of purchase if you are not happy with it.

Customers love how soft and durable the material is. The material dries quickly and is easy to clean. They love the bright colors and the quality craftsmanship of the product.

Dark Lightning Toddler Swim Vest

Key Features

  • Verified as Buoyant Aid for Swimming Instructions (EN 13138-1)
  • 30 days no-risk return policy, plus one year warranty
  • All designs are exclusive to Dark Lightning Studios

The Dark Lightning Toddler Swim Vest is made with quality in mind. All of the designs are high quality, exclusive to Dark Lightning Studios. It has double-stitched edges, an adjustable strap, and a double rear clasp. It is designed to fit toddlers 30-50 lbs.

This swim vest has been verified by European standards as a Buoyancy Aid for Swimming Instructions (EN 13138-1). It will keep your toddler’s head above water and is an excellent choice for the swimming pool. 

Dark Lightning Studio provides a 30 days no-risk return policy as well as a one year warranty. However, the order must be fulfilled by Amazon for this to apply. If you buy a swim vest, you can also get 20% off of Dark Lightning swim goggles.

Sharkea Swim Aids for Kids-Shark Fin

Key Features

  • Worn on the back so there is freedom of movement
  • Made of high-quality foam for maximum buoyancy
  • Great transition from floaties to freedom

The Sharkea Shark Fin is a fun choice to get your child excited about swimming. It will turn your little fish into a shark! It is designed to be worn in the back to teach your toddler good swimming posture. Since it is worn only on the back, your child will enjoy complete freedom of movement in the water. 

The fin is made of high quality, high-density foam. It is made of an ethylene-vinyl acetate foam, commonly used in sporting equipment. For maximum buoyancy, it has an improved design with added thickness. The fin is worn by using the two high-quality elastic straps and buckle design. 

Customers love the confidence is gives their kids. They also say it is a good transition from traditional floaties. Kids love this fun shark fin, too.

Conhenci Toddler Floaties for Kids Swim 30-55 lbs

Key Features

  • Designs of favorite characters kids will love
  • Fits toddlers up to 55 lbs
  • The manufacturer provides a product warranty

The Conhenci swim vest is a fun choice because their designs contain some of your toddler’s favorite characters. These vests have an adjustable rear strap and quick release buckle. They are approved to fit toddlers 30-55 lbs. 

These swim floaties are made from a closed-cell foam covered with vinyl. They provide buoyancy for the child, keeping the head above water. The design doesn’t restrict arm movement providing plenty of freedom while your toddler plays. By helping keep their balance in water, children will gain confidence as they are learning to swim.

These swim floaties are not US Coast Guard approved or classified as a Type III PFD. However, they are highly rated by customers and an Amazon Best Seller. Customers say that it is easy to get on and off, but like that the buckle is in the rear so toddlers are not able to remove it themselves. They also love the confidence and freedom their little ones get when wearing it in the water. The manufacturer also provides a warranty upon purchase.

Kingsport Kids Life Jacket 30-60 Pounds Boy & Girl

Key Features

  • Fits larger toddlers from 30-60 lbs.
  • Shoulder straps help keep the swim vest in place
  • Keeps toddler upright in the water

The Kingsport Kids life jacket is a highly rated top seller on Amazon because it combines features of some of the higher-priced swim vests at a moderate price. Like other swim vests, they have an adjustable strap. The vest will fit your child longer, as it is suitable for toddlers 30-60 lbs. Recently, Kingsport has upgraded its buckle clasp to be more secure, using a double lock. Toddlers are not able to unbuckle it by themselves. 

The swim floaties are covered in soft woven polyester to protect your toddler’s sensitive skin from chafing and irritation. Kingsport has also added shoulder straps which helps keep the floaties in place. These enhanced features make them comfortable and more enjoyable to wear. 

While this product has not obtained the US Coast Guard approval nor has it been classified as a Type III PFD, customers speak highly of its functionality. They say it keeps their children upright in the water. They also love how easy it is to put on and take off. Parents and caregivers love the new buckle design. It has three points that must be pressed to release, making it more difficult for toddlers to remove on their own.

A Final Word

When it comes to your loved ones, safety is always a top priority. While swim floaties may provide peace of mind for you and independence for your child, they are not a substitute for proper adult supervision. Family activities will stay fun if proper safety is followed. Keep in mind that these swim vests are considered to be an aid in helping toddlers gain confidence in the water, not life-saving devices. It is good practice to always keep your toddler within arms reach. If you are swimming without a lifeguard, make sure you know basic first aid, including CPR. To keep your full attention on your toddler, leave your phone, book, and other distractions onshore. Without distractions, you can be fully engaged in the fun and available in the event of an emergency.

There is no greater joy for parents and caregivers than to see their children gain confidence and independence as they learn a new skill. These swim floaties are designed to do just that. They are sure to provide plenty of opportunities for fun, safe memories for years to come. With adjustable straps, these swim floaties will grow with your toddler year after year. I’m sure you will find a swim vest listed to fit your needs. Then you will be ready for family water fun!

Photo by Chateau de Gurat

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