safety gear life jackets

How to choose the right life jackets for your boat kids by age and weight

Water safety should be every parent’s primary concern around the water or on a boat. Balancing your kid’s desire for fun with your need for safety can be a tricky yet essential goal to achieve.

The start of each new boating season is the best time to assess whether you have the right life jacket gear for kids. Before boating season is underway – before your kids even step foot on the dock – a review of properly fitting life jackets and potential upgrade of gear is in order.

When it comes to life jackets, size matters. You need to be sure you are choosing the right life jacket for the current weight of children on board your boat.

Life Jackets by Size & Weight

boat life jackets kids

On, we try to highlight some of the best life jacket options for kids by age.

Baby and Infants – life jacket should be labeled “under 30” lbs and have heads-up feature.

Toddlers – jackets include heads up and crotch strap and are using 30-50 lbs.

Youth – weight is the primary factor and most youth jackets will be 50-90 lbs.

Older Kids – most older kids are over 90 lbs or even small adult sizes.

In my recent article in Lakeland Boating magazine entitled “Gear up for Safety: Choosing the Right Life Jackets for your Kids” I shared tips on how to select the proper life jacket for your kids, reviewing the size and style requirements by age.

Lakeland-Boating-Kids-Life-JacketsREAD FULL ARTICLE
You can read more about choosing the right life jacket for your boat kids in the full original article (opens PDF) from Lakeland Boating Magazine.

Lakeland boatingCruising with Kids Column in Lakeland Boating Magazine

As a boater with two boat kids I am thrilled to sharing my experiences in a summer column for a regional boating lifestyle magazine in the Great Lakes region called Lakeland Boating. My “Cruising with Kids” column started in 2016, running during the summer months (May, June, July), and is now in it’s second year.

Be sure to check out my recaps of these columns as they publish, along with links to the full PDFs.

2017 Articles:

May 2017: Gear up for Safety: Choosing the Right Life Jackets for your Kids

June 2017: Fun in the Sun: Protect Your Kids from Harmful Summer Rays

July 2017: Baby on Board: Boating with the Newest Addition to Your Crew

2016 Articles:

May 2016: Spring Prep for Kids: Get your kids ready for the best boating season ever

June 2016: Summer Fun Bucket List: 10 Must-Do Activities for your Boat-Loving Kids

July 2016: Raised on the Water: Inspiring the next generation of boaters

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Diane Seltzer

Founder at
Diane is the founder of as well as the boating lifestyle site Active in the boating industry, Diane is the marketing director for SureShade, maker of patented retractable boat shade systems, and founder of Marine Marketing Tools, a collaborative site for sharing marine marketing best practices. Diane is also author of the children's book The Amazing Adventures of Boat Girl.

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