Are all life jackets for kids created equal? During the summer, so much of our travel plans revolve around the water. We are either staying at hotels with pools, traveling to visit friends with pools, or spending time on lakes and beaches. I have four-year-old twins that love the water but haven’t yet mastered swimming on their own. Water safety has been a huge priority in my family and my kids always wear flotation devices when I am alone with them in the pool. It is just too hard to keep my eyes on both of them every second and still have an enjoyable time in the water. Are all kid’s life jackets created equal? I decided to find out. Recently, I had the chance to test out Sea Squirts life jackets, which claim to be step above the typical children’s life jackets found in big box stores.
The first thing I noticed about Sea Squirts is the design. The one we received is brightly colored orange, black, and white to resemble a clownfish. Its defining characteristic is the dorsal fin on the back, perfect for grabbing a kid out of the water. My son was very excited to try on the “Nemo shark” and get out on the water. It took about 2 minutes of swimming in his new life vest to convince my son to never go back to a traditional life vest or water wings. I could tell he felt more in control of his body in the water and he was literally swimming laps around his sister in her water wings.
- Very cute designs with color themes such as great white shark and pink dolphin made out of neoprene
- Easy to use zipper (as opposed to a series of clips) which feels and has acted quite durable
- Jacket comes in three sizes and fits more snug than other life jackets we have used in the past
- Child floats more evenly in the water compared to traditional life jackets we’ve used
- Fin on back makes it easier to grab a kid that has fallen overboard (and makes for some great imaginary “shark” play)
- Unlike water wings, children wear Sea Squirts can use their arms properly, practice swim strokes, and get around quicker
- The $69.95 price tag may be a bit steep for some parents
After seeing the difference in quality between what we had (a life jacket bought at Costco which was very standard for the market) and the Sea Squirt, I have no doubt that the Sea Squirt is the better life jacket. My only issue with the jacket is the cost, which is about double what I paid for our other life jackets. I feel like the difference in cost is worth it for families that spend a lot of time boating or in the water, and want something that is durable, adorable, and makes swimming easier for their kids. If the use is going to be more sporadic and your family is on a tight budget, it might not be as enticing.
Bottomline: My son, the Finding Nemo Shark Boy, gives this life vest two thumbs up!
Disclosure: I received a complimentary Sea Squirt life jacket so that I could review the product. I received no other compensation or requests from Sea Squirts that I state any particular opinion. All opinions, as always, are my own.
“Note: This article contains affiliate amazon links.”
updated: August 06 2011 by doubleadventure
at 07/26/2011 09:56PM lajollamom wrote:
I also think it’s tough to get kids to wear things like this. Or at least I have a hard time convincing my daughter. So, for me, it’s worth a little extra $ for just the Nemo aspect, because I know the odds of her wearing Nemo are higher. And if it’s a better life jacket then it’s win-win!
at 08/01/2011 05:49AM keebz wrote:
I assume the fin folds flat if sitting against the back? I can see a child whacking people in the face, accidentally, on a small boat wearing this.