The 10 Best Floaties for Kids
This wiki has been updated 11 times since it was first published in June of 2018. With over 2,000 children rushed to the emergency room each year due to drowning incidents, it is important to not put little ones in the water without the proper assistance. These floaties will help to get your kids comfortable in the pool or ocean while keeping them safer, so they can warm up to the idea of learning how to swim. They aren't a replacement for vigilant adult supervision, though. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. If you'd like to contribute your own research to the Wiki, please get started by reviewing this introductory video.
May 28, 2020:
Floaties can be a great aid for children when learning how to swim. Thanks to their buoyancy, they allow kids to focus on moving in a particular direction, without having to worry about trying to keep their head above the water. That being said, these are not a substitute for close adult supervision and cannot completely prevent the risk of drowning, so always keep a close eye on your children whenever they are in or around any body of water.
The Speedo Begin to Swim and Floatsafe Armbands are probably much like the inflatable floaties you had as a child. The difference to those, however, is the inclusion of a soft cover material, which is less likely to cause chafing or irritation than a plastic or vinyl rubbing against the skin all day.
Things have advanced a bit since most of us were children, and we now have floaties that incorporate a chest piece for additional buoyancy. While the above two models can only support children up to 30 pounds, the ones with a chest component are suitable for kids as much as 50 pounds, with models like the Conhenci Floatie and Doji Kids First Vest being buoyant enough for kiddos as much as 55 and 66 pounds, respectively. On this latter option, the arm bands are removable from the chest piece via a simple buckle, making it one of the most versatile choices on our list.
The Stearns Puddle Jumper Original, Body Glove Paddle Pals, and SwimWays Trainer are all U.S. Coast Guard approved, meaning they can be used on boats, so you won't have to buy your child a separate life vest for days on the open seas.
Since kids are notoriously picky about their things, we wanted to make sure to include floaties that come in a range of fun designs. For example, the Body Glove Paddle Pals is available with a race car, aviation, or mermaid motif; the Full Throttle Little Dippers comes in themes ranging from princesses to ballerinas to police officers; and the Dark Lightning Swim Vest has fun, cartoon-like graphics of various creatures.
Standing apart from the other options is the Otter Wings Swim Shirt Combo, due to the inclusion of a t-shirt that attaches to the arm floaties and offers UPF 50+ protection. While this isn't a substitute for a high-quality kids sunscreen, it can definitely help keep that sensitive skin from getting damaged.