Stohlquist Toddler Life Jacket Coast Guard Approved Life Vest for Infants

Editor rating

4.3/5 on July 31, 2020

User's rating

270 reviews


Stohlquist Toddler Life Jacket Features

If you’re taking your toddler boating, we recommend the Stohlquist infant life jacket. It ticks the boxes on our safety checklist, and is US Coast Guard-approved for infant safety and protection. It might be just what you’re looking for! Let’s go through the features.

Safety features

Every infant life jacket should meet a basic set of safety features for you to know that it is quality. These are requirements that we can’t overlook if we want to make sure our infants are safe. Other options might be cheaper or more comfortable in general, but they won’t provide the same level of safety. Let’s look at the safety features.

USCG-Approved. Without the USCG approval tag number, we wouldn’t approve this infant life jacket for you. USCG approval is the minimum requirement for any infant life jacket, since they are the organization that lays down the nationwide boating laws. The USCG has approved the Stohlquist toddler life jacket.

Type II. The Type II jacket is designed to turn the wearer face-up. According to the Coast Guard, any infant life jacket (for infants below 30 lbs) should turn the baby face-up. Usually, toddlers in that weight range cannot really control their own heads and bodies, and would not be able to turn themselves face-up.

Inherently buoyant. No infant life jacket should require extra help for it to float. An inherently buoyant life jacket is made of foam that floats on its own. An inflatable or hybrid life jacket would still require human intervention, something to be pulled or inflated. If there is a boating incident, you won’t have time to inflate your baby’s life jacket. If you come across any seller that encourages “space-saving” inflatable infant life jackets, that is definitely not a seller to trust.

Bright-colored. While there is a blue option for this life jacket (and some sellers will price it cheaper), go for brightness rather than style. The bright lemon-yellow shows up clearly against water or the shore, and is easy to find if you ever are separated from your baby in the water.

Zip-up front. To keep the life vest snug against your baby, a zip-up front is best because it easily aligns to your baby’s torso even when they start to grow bigger and longer. While the zip-up front does not reach as high as others, it keeps the vest tight against your baby’s stomach and chest.

Torso strap. To make sure the loop around the waist and torso is secure, there is a torso strap as well that buckles at the front. The Stohlquist toddler life jacket does not have foam at the back, and relies more on straps for adjustment. The torso strap holds the life jacket tightly to the baby’s body.

Crotch strap. Because there is little back foam, the crotch strap is extra-important in this life jacket style. It keeps the life jacket from riding up, and efficiently complements the airy and active construction of the jacket.

Grab strap. The bright blue grab strap on the lemon-yellow Stohlquist toddler life jacket is easy to see against the yellow, and easy to grab. It’s important to be able to easily pull the infant to you or out of the water.

Pillow collar. The pillow collar is usually a part of the Type II infant life jacket. Stohlquist has a double-pillow collar that pushes up the baby’s head and makes certain it is held out of the water. There is also a fold in the upper pillow so that it pushes the baby’s face forward.

Safety features (from the FAQs)

Way ahead of you! We browsed the Frequently Asked Questions and the answers are here for you.

Does the Stohlquist toddler life jacket have reflectors? No, the life jacket does not have reflectors, but it is a very bright yellow. If you see that some suppliers sell the bright yellow for a higher price, it’s because there is a higher demand. However, bright yellow is still the best color so your infant can easily be spotted.

Does the life jacket ride up to the baby’s chin? Actually, the v-neck design of this life jacket makes this style more comfortable for most infants. However, to keep the vest snug and tight so it doesn’t ride up, always double-check the crotch strap to see that it is tight enough.

Is the life jacket safe for babies under 8 lbs? Most suppliers recommend the life jacket to be only worn by babies 8 to 30 lbs. Some suppliers only ship out if the baby between 20 lbs to 30 lbs. The weight of the baby directs the movement of the life jacket. If the baby is too light, the life jacket might not turn over if it lands face-first in the water.

Is this life jacket recommended by professionals? One of the parents who bought a life jacket asked the same thing. They said the brand and style were recommended to them by a lifeguard who also taught swimming, and it worked well for them.

Can I buy one a bit bigger for my infant to grow into? We strongly recommend you do not do that. The science behind the infant life jacket depends on your baby’s weight and possible height. In other words, it works best when it properly fits your baby. If your baby needs to grow into the life jacket, we recommend you don’t use it until your baby is in the right weight range.

Comfort features

As you most likely know from bringing your infant to events and parties, comfort is extremely important to them. If they are uncomfortable, they will let the whole world know. This is why we are also reviewing  the comfort level of the Stohlquist toddler life jacket.

The v-neckline. Compared to many other infant life jackets, the Stohlquist does not ride up to the chin. Rather, the zipper stops at the chest, and the v-neck design lets the baby move their head comfortably (as much as safety allows).

The armspace. Also unlike other infant life jackets, Stohlquist managed to create a life jacket where the baby has a large amount of armspace. This allows them to feel loosely wrapped and comfortable, even though you know they are securely strapped in.

The lightness. Besides the fact that there is a lot less material used to cover the back, the nylon used to cover the foam is flame-retardant and waterproof, one of the lightest materials that is still safe and waterproof. The whole vest should not weigh more than 9.9 ounces.

Comfort features (from the FAQs)

Does this life jacket work for active children? Actually, it’s perfect for active children. Because they don’t feel cooped up and can move their arms freely, they easily adapt to wearing the life jacket and enjoy the trip.

Can my baby fall asleep in this? Yes, they can! The lightness especially at the back means your baby can stretch out even while wearing this life jacket and feel comfortable enough to fall asleep in it.

Can I use this in the pool? While you can use this infant life jacket in the pool, it is not recommended for teaching your infant swimming. The life jacket will keep on turning them on their back, which may confuse them later on.

Is the back buckle uncomfortable? The crotch strap does buckle in the back, but it is not uncomfortable for the baby.

Is the Stohlquist Toddler Life Jacket Right for You?

After pulling out our list (and checking it twice), we can confirm that the Stohlquist infant life jacket meets our safety and comfort requirements. But is it right for you? Here are some tips as you make your decision.

Find a good space to store your infant life jacket (more on that in the next section). If you don’t have the right place to store the life jacket, you’ll risk shortening its life.

Check if the item is right for your baby. Just because others highly rated an infant life jacket does not always mean it is the best one for your child. They might feel more comfortable or react better in water with another style, and that’s perfectly fine. However, do give it a try, and let your infant tell you what to think!

Bring it to water right away. Don’t wait for your first outing to give the life jacket a spin. With full supervision, let your baby move around by a poolside and in the water with the life jacket. Check the fit and the flotation, and make your judgement then.

Maintaining Your Stohlquist Toddler Life Jacket

How can you make sure your life jacket has the longest time possible with your family?

Consider storage well.

A dry area. Store your life jacket in a dry area. Exposure to water and heat alternately will weaken your life jacket in the long run, so try to make sure the material is dry when not in use.

A ventilated area. Without ventilation, your life jacket will respond to heat and pressure from the space around it. To keep the foam’s air pockets as stress-free as possible, make sure your storage space is well- ventilated.

Space. The ideal place for a life jacket, if you can’t hang it up like a coat, is on a shelf where there is nothing pressing its top or sides. The air pockets in the foam won’t be compromised, and they will be able to “breathe” no matter where you keep it.

Keep it dry and check its integrity.

Drip-drying. The best way to dry your life jacket is through drip-drying. Even if the material is waterproof nylon, just wiping it down is not enough. The life jacket needs time to let out all its moisture, even whatever is caught in the webbed straps or the buckles. Avoid the temptation to hasten the process, and simply check every few hours or so to see if it has dried.

Basic checks. Every time you put away the jacket, remember to run basic checks. Are there mildew spots of white on the nylon? Is there a stretched thread on the webbed straps? Is the nylon intact? As long as you monitor all of these, the life jacket should last you quite a few years.

The Stohlquist Toddler Life Jacket Might Be Right For Your Baby

It’s time to find out!