Which Life Vests to Buy for Kids

There are 3 different types of Life Vests for kids, and each has its own special particular use & function. Find out which is best for you and your child.

Type “Kids Life Jackets” into the Amazon search bar and you’re going to get 48 pages of results with over 2000 options… How are you ever going to pick when you don’t know what you’re looking for?


Then you ask Google, “what life jacket to get for my kids” and Google serves up 522 Million hits… all with different advice.


Ugh, that’s more than a little confusing! But choosing the right life jacket is actually really easy – let us help you!



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1. Puddle Jumpers

2. Survival (normal) Life Jackets

3. Learn-to-Swim Life Jackets (yes, they exist)!


Let’s talk about PROS and CONS of each type.

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Each type of life jacket serves a purpose:

1. Puddle Jumpers

PROS: These are really best for introducing young children to the water for the first time – kids under 2 to 3 years old. The torso support in conjunction with the unique arm supports help stabilize children who do not have mastery of their balance and buoyancy. Puddle Jumpers are fantastic at helping children overcome fear of the water, building confidence, and allowing children the freedom to move and play before they would typically be able to.


CONS: Puddle Jumpers quickly move from very helpful for beginner learning, to prohibiting learning altogether. They are too buoyant and restrictive, so although they are great when kids are just beginning to conquer fear and boost confidence – they are NOT a good long-term solution.  

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2. Survival Life Jackets

PROS: Great for boating and open water safety. Great for keeping older kids safe who never learned to swim. Once kids have established balance and the ability to jump and run-on land – puddle jumpers are no longer appropriate, and a Survival Life Jacket would be a better option for any non-swimmer.


CONS: Not good for learning how to swim – too restrictive and will prohibit learning. 

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Now to the BEST KEPT SECRET in all things kid-swimming!

3. Learn-to-Swim Life Jackets:

PROS: Offer the same level of safety as the Puddle Jumper AND the Survival Life Jacket – but also ACCELERATE a child’s learning (we break down how next). Perfect for kids 3 and up who are just learning to swim for the first time.


CONS: Only available in sizes Small and Medium (up to 60 lbs) – TYR needs to design a larger vest for older kids who never learned to swim (we’re working on it). For young kids (2 and under) who aren’t able to sit up on their own and walk/run, a Puddle Jumper is the better starting option because of the additional arm supports that help with core balance (but quickly move to the Learn-to-Swim Life Jacket).


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Learn-to-Swim Life Jackets work just like the training wheels on a bike!



For a first timer, riding a bike is complicated (and kind of scary)! There’s a lot for a child to figure out at the same time – pedaling, steering, braking, and balancing – it’s no easy feat! And it’s more than a little intimidating, especially because there is a very real risk of falling. And kids feel that risk even before they hop on for the first time.


But we have a tool that makes things less scary, by removing the risk of falling and making learning safer – which actually accelerates learning too – training wheels! It’s the safest and fastest way to learn to ride a bike.


Learning to swim is no different – it’s even more complicated for a beginner. Kids have to figure out how to kick, pull, breath, not breath,

float and balance all at the same time! Again, that’s no easy feat. And there’s that same very real risk of falling (sinking) that kids feel when they slide into the pool for the first time… it’s intimidating.


I’m about to show you the tool that makes learning to swim less scary, by removing the risk of sinking and making learning safer – which accelerates the learn-to-swim process too!


See – when your kid doesn’t have to spend all that brain power worrying about sinking, they’ll spend it figuring out how to swim. When kids feel safe, they learn faster.


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Regular Life Jackets are great for safety but PROHIBIT learning – Here’s how the Learn-to-Swim Life Jacket keeps your child safe and ACCELERATES learning. 


You already know training wheels work great for learning to ride a bike. But there comes a day when it’s time to take them off – and your child will go from help to no help. Training wheels are all or nothing, and your child will notice when you take them off – I did when my dad removed mine.


The Learn-to-Swim Life Jacket is even better for learning to swim than training wheels are for learning to ride a bike – because they’re built to wean off of. It’s not help to no help… it’s a lot of help, less help, less help, less help, no help.  Let me explain.


The Learn-to-Swim Life Jacket is built with 8-pieces of removable flotation. It starts out full of flotation, just like a regular life jacket – so, great for safety! Once your child safely learns to swim in full flotation, we’ll guide you to remove a little and allow them to keep swimming and learning. And when they’re strong and skilled enough to rely more on their own skill – we guide you to remove a little more and soon they won’t need the vest anymore at all!


Accelerated learning requires a perfect balance of help & challenge


Normal life jackets give way too much help and not enough challenge. Learning to swim with no life jacket gives way too much challenge and no help.


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Get Started Swimming SAFER today - in 3 easy steps!

  1. Join SwimAble Kid
  2. Choose a Learn-to-Swim Life Jacket size and quantity
  3. Head to the pool and let your child play!


It’s seriously that simple.


When kids are given the freedom to move and play safely in the water, they discover how to swim for themselves. No years of swimming lessons and expensive tuition. Just pure fun and awesome family memories – and a water safer kid who learns to swim faster than those kids in swimming lessons and stays safer the entire time. 

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Watch this video to see how we use the TYR Learn-to-Swim Life Jacket:

Check out our SwimAble Kid, Swim Discovery™ program to see how your child can learn to swim for only $20 a month!