12 Best Swim Floaties for Toddlers

Sharing is caring!

OUR FAVORITE SWIM Floaties for Toddlers

Summer is here! After nearly two years of being stuck in the house, families are ready for a relaxing (as much as you can relax with a toddler) vacation. Summer typically means it’s time to head to the beach, so you can’t forget to pack the swim floatie for your toddler.

Water safety is essential for kids, especially babies and toddlers. The best swim floaties for toddlers will help keep your little one safe. We know there is no substitution for adult supervision and knowing how to swim.

Disclosure: “Please note that some of the links below may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase.” “As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.” Click here for the full disclosure statement.

Water safety is our number one priority. Now that our son is 3-years-old, he wants more independence in the water. I decided to write this post about the best swim floaties for toddlers to help other parents.

Read More: Best Rash Guards for Babies

What makes this different from the best swim floaties for babies is that toddlers are a lot more mobile and a little more stubborn. That is why I created this post to help parents find the best and most safe swim flotation device for their toddler.

Tip: I highly recommend getting a toddler swim floatie that will stand out in the water. Bright colors that will capture your eye and stand out against blue water are perfect for toddlers.

Best Swim Floaties for 2-Year-Olds

There are a lot of great swim floaties for 2-year-olds on the market. However, not all toddler swim floaties are created equal.

The best swim floaties for 2-year-olds strike the perfect balance between safety, size, and comfort. Here are our top four picks:

Image
Zerlar Kids Float Suit Girls Swim Vest Toddlers Floatation Swimsuits with Adjustable Buoyancy Baby Swimsuit Float with Arm Floaties - Learn to Swim for Children 1-10 Years
Chriffer Kids Swim Vest Life Jacket for 22-66 Pounds Boys and Girls, Toddler Floaties with Shoulder Harness Arm Wings for 2,3,4,5,6,7 Years Old Baby
Our Favorite
STEARNS Puddle Jumper Infant Hydroprene Life Jacket, Kids Life Vest Supports Under 30 Pounds
Best Price
SwimSchool Swim Trainer Vest – Small/Medium Max 33 Pounds – Kids Swim Vest with Padded Shoulders – Comfortable Flex-Form-Fit Design with Adjustable Safety Strap – Pink/Aqua
USCG Approved
Weight Recommendation
20-48 lbs
20-65 lbs
8-30 lbs
up to 33 lbs
Customer Rating
Price Rating
$$$
$$
$$$
$$$
Image
Zerlar Kids Float Suit Girls Swim Vest Toddlers Floatation Swimsuits with Adjustable Buoyancy Baby Swimsuit Float with Arm Floaties - Learn to Swim for Children 1-10 Years
USCG Approved
Weight Recommendation
20-48 lbs
Customer Rating
Price Rating
$$$
Details
Image
Chriffer Kids Swim Vest Life Jacket for 22-66 Pounds Boys and Girls, Toddler Floaties with Shoulder Harness Arm Wings for 2,3,4,5,6,7 Years Old Baby
USCG Approved
Weight Recommendation
20-65 lbs
Customer Rating
Price Rating
$$
Details
Our Favorite
Image
STEARNS Puddle Jumper Infant Hydroprene Life Jacket, Kids Life Vest Supports Under 30 Pounds
USCG Approved
Weight Recommendation
8-30 lbs
Customer Rating
Price Rating
$$$
Best Price
Image
SwimSchool Swim Trainer Vest – Small/Medium Max 33 Pounds – Kids Swim Vest with Padded Shoulders – Comfortable Flex-Form-Fit Design with Adjustable Safety Strap – Pink/Aqua
USCG Approved
Weight Recommendation
up to 33 lbs
Customer Rating
Price Rating
$$$

Last update on 2022-10-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Zerlar Floatation Swimsuits

Zerlar Floatation Swimsuits

The Zerlar Floatation Swimsuits are a cool concept, that unfortunately is only available for girls. It is a swimsuit with floatation devices built into the swimsuit itself.

As your little one gains more confidence in the water you can remove the flotation sticks. This is perfect for a toddler that is in swimming lessons but needs a little buoyancy until they have the confidence to go it alone.

Many parents love that this swimsuit is for toddlers under 30 lbs. If you have a little one under the weight limit for a puddle jumper, this toddler flotation swimsuit is perfect for your little one.

Although this swimsuit has built-in flotation devices, I highly recommend using a secondary form of flotation. Armbands could be a great compliment to this pool float swimsuit.

Tip: I highly recommend using arm floaties with this swimsuit if your little one is not a strong swimmer.

Pros

  • Floatation built into swimsuit
  • Helps build confidence
  • Great for toddlers under 25 lbs
  • Cute designs

Cons

  • Can cause rolling
  • Recommend using with arm band
  • Only available for girls

Read More: Best Beach Bags for Moms

Chriffer Kids Swim Vest

Chriffer Kids Swim Vest

The Chriffer Kids Swim Vest is a combination of a swim vest and a puddle jumper. It is a cool design because it’s the best of both worlds.

What I like most about this swim vest is the crotch strap. It is wider than the traditional straps, so it is more comfortable for your toddler. 

There are a lot of designs to choose from, so your toddler is sure to find one they love. The additional straps secure this swim vest onto your toddler.

One of the best things about this swim vest is that it grows with your toddler. The weight capacity goes up to 65 lbs. You get money’s worth out of this toddler swim floatie.

Pros

  • Longevity
  • Adjustable straps
  • Stays in place
  • Grows with your toddler

Cons

  • Not USCG approved
  • Bulky

STEARNS Infant Puddle Jumper

STEARNS Infant Puddle Jumper

Although our son is 3-years-old, he is only 32 lbs. That means he was under 30 lbs. for some time and couldn’t safely wear a puddle jumper. The STEARNS Infant Puddle Jumper is a personal flotation device perfect for little ones under 30 lbs.

If you have a smaller toddler, this puddle jumper is the safest option for your 2-year-old. It is classified as a PFD, which is a life jacket, so your toddler can wear it on watercraft.

Some parents report the crotch strap is annoying for some toddlers, but that is a small price for safety. Many parents use this swim floatie for their babies since it is for little ones under 30 lbs.

This swim floatie for 2-year-olds is the most expensive one on our list. You can attribute that to being a certified life jacket, so its worth it. 

Pros

  • USCG approved
  • Can be used on watercrafts
  • Head support
  • Great for toddlers under 30 lbs

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Crotch strap rides up

Swim School Swim Vest

Swim School Swim Vest

The Swim School Swim Vest is a great option for toddlers who are working on their confidence in the water. The built-in foam pads put your little one in the perfect swimming position.

The crotch strap keeps the swim vest in place so it doesn’t shift to their necks. This makes it easier to get the best and safest fit for your toddler.

There is protective UPF to keep your little ones safe from harmful sun rays as they enjoy the water.

The foam makes it comfortable to wear for extended periods. Plus, it’s easy to take on and off, so your toddler can remove it when they are done playing on the water.

There are different sizes available for older kids. Once your little one has outgrown this swim vest, they can transition to the next level with Swim School.

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Provides UPF 50 protection
  • Easy to get one
  • Different levels available
  • Great for taller toddlers

Cons

  • Not USCG approved
  • Easy for toddlers to remove
  • Runs a little big

Best Swim Floaties FOR 3-year-olds

There are a lot of different swim floaties on the market, but not all of them are suitable for 3-year-olds. The best swim floaties for 3-year-olds should provide good support and stability while also being comfortable to wear.

They should also be easy for parents to get on, but difficult for toddlers to take off. Here is our list of the best swim floaties for 3-year-olds.

Image
Our Favorite
STEARNS Original Puddle Jumper Kids Life Jacket | Life Vest for Children, Cancun Octopus
Popular with Kids
Body Glove Paddle Pals Woody
STEARNS Puddle Jumper Kids 2-in-1 Life Jacket and Rash Guard, Fruits, One Size
Otter Wings Kids Floaties (Water Wings) / UPF Swim Shirt Combo Swim Aid - Long Sleeve (Island Orchid, 2-4yrs)
USCG Approved
Type III
Type III
Type II
No
Weight Recommendation
30-50 lbs
30-50 lbs
33 - 50
30-50 lbs
Customer Rating
Price Rating
$$
$$
$$$
$$
Our Favorite
Image
STEARNS Original Puddle Jumper Kids Life Jacket | Life Vest for Children, Cancun Octopus
USCG Approved
Type III
Weight Recommendation
30-50 lbs
Customer Rating
Price Rating
$$
Details
Popular with Kids
Image
Body Glove Paddle Pals Woody
USCG Approved
Type III
Weight Recommendation
30-50 lbs
Customer Rating
Price Rating
$$
Image
STEARNS Puddle Jumper Kids 2-in-1 Life Jacket and Rash Guard, Fruits, One Size
USCG Approved
Type II
Weight Recommendation
33 - 50
Customer Rating
Price Rating
$$$
Image
Otter Wings Kids Floaties (Water Wings) / UPF Swim Shirt Combo Swim Aid - Long Sleeve (Island Orchid, 2-4yrs)
USCG Approved
No
Weight Recommendation
30-50 lbs
Customer Rating
Price Rating
$$
Details

Last update on 2022-10-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Read More: Best Beach Toys for Toddlers

Stearns Original Puddle Jumper (One we use!!)

Stearns Original Puddle Jumper

The Stearns Original Puddle Jumper is the most popular and best-selling swim floatie for toddlers. We recently purchased this toddler swim floatie now that our little guy is over 30 lbs.

With bright, playful designs and U.S. Coast Guard-approved safety features, the Puddle Jumper is a must-have for any water adventure. Whether you are spending the day at the pool, relaxing in the lake, or enjoying the beautiful ocean, the puddle jumper is essential for toddlers.

Your little one will love the freedom to move and swim freely in the pool, lake, or ocean, all while giving you peace of mind. With this USCG-approved life jacket, you know that your active little one is safe and secure.

One of my favorite features is the safety buckle. The safety buckle snaps in the back to keep kids from taking the vest off on their own, and the adjustable strap ensures a snug, comfortable fit.

We went to an indoor waterpark and our son couldn’t wait to put on his puddle jumper. He even felt comfortable enough to go down a water slide, which was his first time ever (although we’ve tried several times with his life jacket).

I believe this pool float is perfect for 3-year-olds building their confidence and working on their swim skills.

The only complaint that I have about this toddler pool float is that it is a little bulky. We have to do quite a bit of smashing to get it in our suitcase, but we don’t travel without it.

Pros

  • USCG approved
  • Stays in place
  • Various designs
  • Cannot be removed without help

Cons

  • A little bulky

Read More: Best Water Shoes for Toddlers

Tip: There are a lot of toddler pool floats that look like the puddle jumper. We did not include the look likes on this list to avoid confusion. When purchasing a puddle jumper check that it is USCG approved.

Body Glove Paddle Pals

Body Glove Paddle Pals

The Body Glove Paddle Pals is one of the most popular swim floaties for toddlers! It is US Coast Guard and Transport Canada approved, meaning it is a high-quality and safe product.

The Paddle Pals is also very comfortable, preventing chafing with its durable polyester material and multi-panel design. Plus, the safety shoulder harness keeps the vest from sliding off during use, so your little one can splash all they want without risking their safety.

What makes this different from the puddle jumper is the safety vest. If you want something more secure for your little one, I highly recommend getting this swim floatie for your 3-year-old.

Little ones love the variety of different colors and graphic designs to choose from. With dinosaurs, unicorns, octopus, and mermaid graphics your toddler is sure to find a floatie they will love for fun in the water.

One of the best features by far is the buckled strap in the back. Your little one cannot remove this swim floatie without help, so you can rest easy knowing they cannot take it off themselves in the pool.

You can see by the rave reviews that parents love this swim floatie for their toddlers. Honestly, the only con I have for this swim floatie is that they don’t have them for toddlers under 30 lbs.

Overall, this is one of the best swim floaties for toddlers to play safely in the pool, in the lake, or even in the ocean.

Pros

  • USCG approved
  • Stays in place
  • Various designs
  • Cannot be removed without help

Cons

  • Bulky to pack

Read More: Best Beach Wagons for Toddlers

STEARNS 2-in-1 Life Jacket & Rash Guard

STEARNS 2-in-1 Life Jacket & Rash Guard

I had no idea about the STEARNS 2-in-1 Life Jacket & Rash Guard until I started doing research for this post. This coast guard-certified life jacket is perfect for toddlers that plan to play or a day on a boat.

The life jacket is built into the rash guard. Stearns has a great reputation.

We plan to buy this rash guard for our 3-year-old before we go on the boat with pop-pop. That’s what our son calls my wife’s dad.

If you have an active little one that doesn’t like to wear a traditional life jacket, give this a try. We will certainly update this review after our time on the boat.

Pros

  • Rash guard is included
  • Buckles in back for safety
  • USCG approved life jacket
  • Toddlers can still play

Cons

  • Run small for some toddlers
  • Can be bulky

Otter Wings Kids Floaties

Otter Wings Kids Floaties

Although I’ve never used this product before, I stumbled onto the Otter Wings Kids Floaties while doing research for this post. I think the concept of this product is interesting, plus it’s a small family business, so we try to support other families.

If you are tired of your toddler’s armbands coming off in the water, this is the perfect swim floatie for your toddler. This is a rashguard with swim floaties clipped on the shirt. The clips ensure the floaties cannot come off while your little one runs, jumps, and plays.

The idea is pretty cool, especially if you plan to use them in a pool. The arm floaties clip onto the rash guard, so it’s like getting two products in one. Protect your toddler from the sun and keep them safe in the water.

Parents love that the armbands can be deflated. It makes them easy to pack. If you are looking for swim floaties for older toddlers, these just may fit the bill.

Pros

  • Includes rash guard for sun protection
  • Can be deflated for easy storage
  • Stays in place
  • Large sizes available

Cons

  • Not USCG approved
  • Longevity
  • A little pricey

Best Personal Floatation Device for Toddlers

This section is for personal flotation devices, better known as life jackets.

If your toddler is a novice in the water, I highly recommend starting with a personal flotation device for toddlers. Once your little one has more experience, they can transition to swim floaties.

Here are the best swim flotation devices for toddlers.

Read More: Best Water Parks for Toddlers

Image
Our Favorite
Stohlquist Infant PFD Life Jacket - Red + Yellow, 8-30 lbs - Coast Guard Approved Life Vest for Toddlers, Support Collar, Grab Handle, Fully Adjustable with Quick Release Buckle
O'Neill Wake Waterski Infant USCG Vest
Most Popular
Stearns PFD 2000013194 5976 Type II Infant
Airhead Gnar Kwik-Dry NeoLite Flex Life Vest | Child and Infant
USCG Ratings
Type III
Type II
Type II
Type III
Weight Recommendations
8-30 lbs
under 30 lbs
under 30 lbs
30-50 lbs
Customer Rating
Price Rating
Our Favorite
Image
Stohlquist Infant PFD Life Jacket - Red + Yellow, 8-30 lbs - Coast Guard Approved Life Vest for Toddlers, Support Collar, Grab Handle, Fully Adjustable with Quick Release Buckle
USCG Ratings
Type III
Weight Recommendations
8-30 lbs
Customer Rating
Price Rating
Image
O'Neill Wake Waterski Infant USCG Vest
USCG Ratings
Type II
Weight Recommendations
under 30 lbs
Customer Rating
Price Rating
Details
Most Popular
Image
Stearns PFD 2000013194 5976 Type II Infant
USCG Ratings
Type II
Weight Recommendations
under 30 lbs
Customer Rating
Price Rating
Details
Image
Airhead Gnar Kwik-Dry NeoLite Flex Life Vest | Child and Infant
USCG Ratings
Type III
Weight Recommendations
30-50 lbs
Customer Rating
Price Rating
Details

Last update on 2022-10-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Remember, these are life-saving devices and will flip your little one over to keep them from drowning.

Stohlquist Infant PFD Life Jacket

Stohlquist Infant PFD Life Jacket

The Stohlquist Infant PFD Life Jacket is the perfect personal flotation device for your young toddler. It will turn your little one’s face up in the water.

This is the perfect swim device for toddlers hanging out on a boat for the day. The dual support collars cradle their head, while an adjustable crotch strap and zipper secures it for safety and comfort!

The full arm mobility makes it easier for your little one to play in the water. If you are using this life jacket for younger toddlers, the dual collar keeps your little one’s head comfortable, so they do not get irritated by the life jacket.

Stohlquist products are one of the most trusted brands in water sports. With over 40 years of trusted products, you can’t go wrong with this life jacket.

If your family spends a lot of team in or near the water, this is the best personal floatation device for your toddler.

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Stays in place
  • Bright colors
  • Additional buckle for safety

Cons

  • Expensive

O’Neill Wake Infant Vest

O'Neill Wake Infant Vest

O’Neill is a well-known brand in water sports. It’s no surprise that we included them on our list of best swim floaties for toddlers.

O’Neill is a well-known brand in water sports. It’s no surprise that we included the O’Neill Wake Infant Vest on our list of best swim floaties for toddlers.

Many parents love the grab loops, which make it easier to keep your little one close. It gives you peace of mind that you can always keep a hand on your toddler while they are in the water.

There are several bright colors and designs. I am a fan of using bright colors to stand out in the water in an emergency.

This life jacket is more restrictive than the other ones on our list, so if you have an active little one, you may want to use a different life jacket.

Pros

  • Grab loop
  • Bright colors
  • Quick-release buckles
  • Durable zipper

Cons

  • Bulky
  • Expensive
  • Can be uncomfortable

STEARNS Life Vest

STEARNS Life Vest

The STEARNS PFD Heads-Up Life Vest is the best-selling life jacket on our list for toddlers.

Many parents love that this personal floatation device comes in three different sizes. As your little one gets older, they can continue to use this life-preserving vest.

The additional padding makes it comfortable for toddlers to wear for long periods. Another feature this life jacket has over others is the crotch strap covering.

This covering makes it more comfortable than other life jackets, so your little one doesn’t get a rash from the material rubbing on their skin.

Although there is only one color available, it is a bright green to stand out in the water.

If you have little ones close in age, this may be the best personal floatation device for your toddlers.

Tip: This life jacket takes a while to dry, so be sure to place it in a well-ventilated area to avoid molding.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Additional padding
  • Different sizes available
  • Crotch strao covering

Cons

  • Bulky
  • Takes a while to dry
  • Only one color available

Airhead Gnar Life Vest

O'Neill Wake Infant Vest

I included the Airhead Gnar Life Vest on our list for older toddlers. Now that our little guy is over 30 lbs, we have to transition to a child life jacket, instead of an infant.

If you are looking for a bright life jacket for your toddler, this could be it. The foam makes this child’s life jacket lightweight and comfortable for toddlers and big kids.

Unlike the other personal flotation devices for toddlers on our list, this child life jacket has quick-dry technology.

The lightweight material lets your little ones move around, so they aren’t frustrated by being restricted.

This life jacket could be perfect for boating families. If you spend a lot of time in watercraft, give this personal flotation device for toddlers a try.

Pros

  • Dries quickly
  • Grab loop
  • Lightweight
  • Bright colors
  • Different sizes available

Cons

  • Somewhat expensive
  • One one color available

How to Find the Best Swim Floatie for Toddlers

Playing in the splash pad

As with all our buying guides, we like to include the criteria we used to determine the best toddler floatation devices. Keep in mind, that we are parents, and this is based on our thorough research as well as experience.

FAQs About Toddler Swim Floaties

You can never do too much research when it comes to water safety. I am sure there are a lot of questions about finding the best swim floatie for your toddler.

Here are some of the most popular questions asked by parents about swim floaties for toddlers.

What is a swim floatie?

A swim floatie is simply a swimming aid to assist children with staying afloat as they learn how to swim. Swim floaties are not life-saving, so it is essential to supervise children near water.

The most common swim floaties are puddle jumpers, swim vests, and flotation devices.

Are swim floaties and life jackets the same?

No!!! I don’t mean to yell from the screen, but swim floaties and life jackets are not the same.

Swim floaties are swim aids to assist children as they learn how to swim. They are not meant to be life-saving devices. The purpose of these swim aids is to keep your little one’s chest and arms afloat while in the water.

The most popular swim floaties are puddle jumpers and swim vests.

Life jackets, on the other hand, are life-saving devices that are regulated and approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. They are rigorously tested to guarantee their safety for the public.

Life jackets are designed to turn the wearer face up in the water.

What is the best swim floatie for 2-year-olds?

The answer to this depends on your little one’s experience in the water.

If your 2-year-old is a complete novice, I highly recommend using an infant life jacket. Infant life jackets are for little ones under 30 lbs. Most swim floaties are for toddlers over 30 lbs., so an infant life jacket is the safest option.

For 2-year-olds with more experience in the water who need to build their confidence, puddle jumpers are a great option. They will keep your little one floating in the swimming position needed to help their muscles get used to paddling.

If your toddler is a fish in the water, a swimming vest is a great option. It’s lightweight and keeps your little one afloat without being as bulky as other toddler swim floaties.

What flotation device is best for 3-year-olds?

The answer to this depends on your little one’s water experience. If your 3-year-old is not comfortable in the water, using a puddle jumper or the 2-in1 Life Jacket Rash Guard can be a great option. 

Tip: Remember to keep the weight recommendations in mind.

If your toddler is comfortable in the water, then a swim vest may be the best option for you. Our son is 3.5-years-old and is currently using a puddle jumper because he is not a fan of doing the work it takes to swim. 

Can my toddler wear their swim floatie on a boat?

It depends on the type of floatie you have. In most states, life jackets are required for children under 13-years-old on a boat (watercraft). Having a personal floatation device is the safest option for your toddler aboard any watercraft.

We like the STEARNS 2-in-1 Life Jacket & Rash Guard is a good option for most toddlers. Remember, toddlers under 30 lbs. may need an infant life jacket.

Water Safety with Swim Floaties

There is no substitution for providing your little one with basic water survival skills. That means allowing them to learn how to swim without a puddle jumper; so they do not become dependent on it.

According to a swim instructor at the YMCA “I have found that many children who wear Puddle Jumpers forget they have arms – and don’t understand the importance of their arms in learning to swim. They have become so accustomed to having their arms float, they neglect using them, even during a swim lesson!”

Enrolling your little one in swimming lessons will help them learn how to use their arms for swimming. Your toddler should learn how to float on their backs if they ever need to.

We enrolled our son in swimming lessons for this summer, now that we will be stationary for a few months.

Although we all try to keep an eye on our children at all times, kids can drown in less than 30 seconds. Remember, the best prevention is proper preparation.

If you want to learn more about water safety, feel free to check out the American Red Cross.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Index