Does your boat have life jackets that are fit for kids?

Whether it’s a regular occurance to have kids onboard your boat or it might only happen once or twice a year, having life jackets on deck that are fit for kids is an important consideration for any boat owner.

There are three youth life jacket sizes to be aware of:

  • Infant & baby life jackets for children under 30 pounds
  • Toddler life jackets for children between 30 and 50 pounds
  • Youth life jackets for children 50-90 pounds

Beyond these sizes, most children can fit into adult sizes.

What happens when a life jacket doesn’t fit just right?

Finding the perfect fit for a child’s life jacket can be challenging. As noted above, there is a pretty broad range in youth life jacket sizing, and when your child is at the top or bottom range of one of the sizes, it might feel like the life jacket doesn’t fit.

Also Read: Use this pre-departure checklist to ensure a safe start to your day on the water

While the fit is important and you should make as many adjustments as possible to ensure the life jacket fits as well as it can, most experts indicate that it’s more important to think about the buoyancy of the jacket based on the weight ratings. That means that you should buy life jackets with weight ratings that correlate to your child’s weight, even if the fit isn’t perfect.

There are a few additional things you can do to help with fit. First, there are crotch straps available for youth life jackets that will prevent the life jacket from floating up while in the water. Jackets with zippers in the front, in addition to chest buckles, tend to be tighter fitting. Lastly, neoprene life jackets also tend to have a little tighter fit, so if your child is near the bottom of the appropriate weight range, this style life jacket might be a good choice.

As you look for life jackets that fit your kids, bring them with you when you go to purchase so they can try them on and find one that is comfortable.