The brand Stearns and their puddle jumpers have been the talk of the town when it comes to toddler life jackets for the past few years, but have you ever wondered if they have anything to offer for younger babies? Getting out into the sunshine can be difficult when you have a young baby, but it’s so important to get outside–especially for new moms who could use a little more vitamin D. And Stearns has the perfect life jacket for infants under 30 pounds that makes it easier than ever to bring your baby to the water and enjoy the summer sun. Here are some of the finer details of the Stearns Infant Puddle Jumper.
No Water Wings
One thing I love about the Stearns Infant Puddle Jumper is that it remedies some of the issues I have with other life jackets and the toddler puddle jumper. In the toddler edition, the child has to put on these stiff water wings on their arms. This isn’t an issue at all if the jacket is dry and the child’s arms are dry, but if either is wet, then it can be very stressful putting it on. Their skin can stick and drag along while you put them on.
The Infant puddle jumper on the other hand does not have this issue because it doesn’t have the water wings feature. Instead, the flotation is focused on the chest and a head cushion to encourage your baby to float on their back in deep water. There’s no pain or uncomfortableness with this design.
You can watch how to put on the Stearns Infant Puddle Jumper in the video below, but I’ve also explained the steps here:
- Slide your child’s arms through the life jacket
- Zip up the back of the life jacket
- Fasten the buckles of the neck and leg straps
And while I’m here talking about how easy it is to put on, can we just take a second to applaud the zipper choice? I love life jackets that use zippers along with buckles to give them a more snug fit.
We’ve all tried those life jackets that have buckles up the front and they can be a bit scary when you get in the water with them. They might be tightly buckled but it doesn’t seem to fit snugly at all when the water is pulling it up and away from your chest. However, if you have the zipper life jackets, it stays closer to your body and isn’t so frightening when you get in the water as it doesn’t have as much give.
The Stearns Infant Puddle Jumper has been approved for a personal floatation device, which is the standard that you want to put your baby in. This means that instead of it being just a fun little float to play in, it is actually a device that you would expect to save your child’s life in case of emergency. The guidelines for this approval are pretty rigorous, especially when getting approved for an infant floatation device, so you know it’s going to be good.
Here are some of the safety features that I personally enjoy in the Stearns Infant Puddle Jumper.
This life jacket comes with an oversized head cushion that is not only very comfortable when your baby is lying on their back in the water, but also ensures that your child will float face up in the water.
Head Cushion Loop
Another safety feature that I love about this life jacket is the straps and their placement. First of all, the head cushion comes with a safety strap loop that someone can use to hoist your child out of the water. This is convenient especially when you are in a place of safety and you are trying to get your child out of the water, say if you are on a pool deck and need to get the child out of the pool or if you’re in a boat wanting to hoist the child out of the water. This is a very handy feature and it is a safety must, in my opinion.
The next safety loops on this life jacket are placed around the thighs. And this quite possibly is my absolute favorite feature of this life jacket. We’ve all been in that position as young children where we had that one safety loop that went between our legs. And I don’t care how old you are, it is embarrassing and uncomfortable to be hoisted out of the water with that strap wedged in your nether regions.
The Stearns Infant Puddle Jumper doesn’t have that one wedgie loop, but instead has two loops that rest underneath the thighs. Wedgies will be a thing of the past and your child will never experience that embarrassing moment.
The Sterns Infant Puddle Jumper claims it is made from hydroprene, which is actually a misnomer. It is actually made of neoprene. Hydroprene is actually an insecticide, so don’t get too worried if you looked that up and wondered how many children are wearing insecticide-soaked life jackets.
Neoprene (sometimes called hydroprene) is a rubber derivative material. This material is flexible and comfortable, which makes it perfect for infants who need a tighter fit than other people and also women, who have more curves than men. This material is also a little heavier and it offers more warmth in the water.
The fabric that Stearns uses for the Infant Puddle Jumper is antimicrobial. What does this mean exactly? Well, according to Aseptic Health LLC, “Antimicrobials destroy or inhibit the growth of all microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi and viruses.”
Why would you need this in a life jacket? Because people use life jackets in some pretty dirty conditions. Sure, if you only use it at a pool, the chlorine might be enough to keep it fairly clean, but if you use it at the ocean or lake on a hot, sweaty day, you could be literally swimming in germs. The last thing you want is to put your child in a vest that has been soaked in fungi and bacteria. So it is very important, especially for infants to have a material that is antimicrobial–since you can’t easily clean life jackets.
This life jacket also dries quickly, and the best way to keep it fresh and clean is to let it dry out in the blazing sun where the UV rays can get rid of the bacteria that the antimicrobial material couldn’t.
It can be difficult to figure out what kind of life jacket will work for your child and when. Your child has different abilities at different ages, and it is important to know when your child will be able to use what life jacket.
As mentioned earlier, Stearns makes the classic Puddle Jumpers for toddlers. They are a great product and many parents and toddlers alike love them. The Infant Puddle Jumpers are for children who are under 30 pounds. A child as small as 3 or 4 months old can wear this life jacket comfortably and it can help to keep them afloat in the water.
However, once children get a little bit older and are ready to start trying to swim in a breaststroke swimming position, it is time to move on to the toddler puddle jumpers. This particular lifejacket is made primarily for young children who cannot swim and likely cannot move in the water very well. When your child starts attempting to swim independently, it can be a bit dangerous in these life jackets just because the head cushion can possibly tip them forward if they are in the breaststroke position.
These life jackets are only for use when nearby a parent and they are primarily for very young children who are not attempting to swim and paddle on their stomachs. Once they start swimming on their stomach, it’s time to look into the next size up.
Overall, the Stearns Infant puddle Jumper is a great life jacket for infants. It has all the safety features that you would want in a life jacket, but as always parents should be near their child while they are in the water. There is potential for a baby to flip onto his or her stomach and not be able to right themselves, especially if the baby is very young. Your child will mostly use this life jacket when in a boat or when he or she can be closely supervised.
However, if you just want to introduce your young child to the water and play, I would suggest some of the baby floats that I’ve reviewed here: