Infant lifevest

Bill Wallace (
Tue, 21 Dec 1999 09:16:59 -0500

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West Wight Potter Website at URL
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>Has anyone any recommendations, tips or experiences with infant lifevests?
>Infant being 3 months to one year.
>Jim Nolan P-19 #426 Panache

That depends on the usage. If you want something that will actually work
if you sink or the like, then you need to get the kind that will turn an
unconscious child face upwards; these type are very bulky and
uncomfortable. Otherwise, comfort is more important than anything else as
the regular vests won't support the child enough to let them breath when
they are in the water. Also, you should take the infant for swimming
lessons, as one of the things they will teach the child is not to panic,
how not to breath in water, and how to float in a life vest (and swimming
lessons for infants are really fun; they are one of my best memories with
my kids as infants).

You might also want to consider getting one of the really cheap ($10 or
under), bright orange U shaped life jackets that go around the neck and
have big foam pieces in front (these are the big bulky ones found on
commercial boats typically). That type is not to bad for an infant in that
they can still lie down in an infant car seat, and they actually provide
some of the best floatation for an infant available (since they will almost
always turn the infant face up). The infant can rest their head on the
jacket that is around their neck. This type does not provide any
insulation value, however, and infants get cold very quickly. This also
gives the minimum C.G. requirements and are actually better or as good as
most vests in terms of floatation.

Unfortunately, there aren't any good choices until kids are around 3 or 4
years old, and you will end up replacing the vest every year for the first
three years. Try going to a pool where they offer instruction and ask if
you can try a vest. They usually have a selection of sizes and you can see
how useless the vests really are until the child has enough control to keep
their head up. They won't have the cheapy kind as they aren't much help
when learning to swim, nor will they have the offshore type. Finally,
their vests get waterlogged from constant usage and don't have as much
bouyancy as an unused vest will have.