Stohlquist Toddler Life Jacket Review

Finding an infant life jacket that works for your child isn’t always the easiest task. However, there are several options on the market that could work for you. One of these options is the Stohlquist toddler life jacket. This life jacket has all the essential design features that you would need in a personal flotation device. There are also several other features that make it stand out from the crowd. To find out more about these features, read on. 

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One of my favorite parts of the Stohlquist toddler life jacket is the collar. To be US Coast Guard approved all infant life jackets must have a wide collar. This helps your child stay in a back floating position while in the water. It is a necessary safety feature. However, the Stohlquist toddler life jacket does this a little bit better.

Double Collar

One of the ways that the Stohlquist toddler life jacket has improved upon the flotation collar is that it created a double collar for more comfort. It has the wide collar that you see in normal infant life jackets, however, there is another smaller collar that lies on top of it. This collar is curved and cradles your child’s head more comfortably. This is an especially important feature for very young children who have a difficult time holding their own heads up. Children who are not at the age of crawling or walking yet will find it very comfortable to have a curved comfortable pillow to lie on while in a boat or on the water.

Wide Collar

Another great feature of the collar on the Stohlquist toddler life jacket is the neckline. The neckline is much bigger than other toddler life jackets on the market. Many toddler life jackets have tight collars that can be uncomfortable for children who are in them. Out of the water, they may sit comfortably in them but once they get into the water the life jacket rides upward and may be uncomfortable underneath their chin. 

The Stohlquist toddler life jacket has a v-neck front, giving your child space between their chin and chest. The life jacket fits just as snuggly as any other life jacket on the market but it just has an added layer of comfort.

Zipper Front

 I personally love life jackets that have zippers. Buckles can be so frustrating because the seams down the front don’t always quite match up. Sometimes one thick layer of life jacket can overlap another, and make it feel even bulkier than it actually is. It can also be very easy to pinch children with buckles. The Stohlquist life jacket does have buckles. However, it also uses a zipper, so there are fewer buckles and less chance of pinching your child’s little fingers in the buckles. 

The zipper can be secured along with the buckles to make a very safe and secure life jacket.

Crotch Strap

As with all US Coast Guard-approved life jackets for infants, the Stohlquist toddler life jacket has a crotch strap. I have mentioned in my other reviews of the other life jackets on this site that I don’t love the single basic crossed crotch strap. This kind of crotch strap makes it very easy to give a child a wedgie as you’re pulling them out of the water. It is very uncomfortable for the child. it can even be embarrassing as a child gets a little bit older. There are some other life jackets out there that I have reviewed that have a different design for the crotch strap that is just as effective but more comfortable and less embarrassing for the child. These are some of the reviewed products with a better crotch strap:

  • The Salus Bijoux Baby Vest has a strap that goes between the legs but it is much wider and is made from a mesh fabric. It covers your baby’s bum similarly to a swimsuit bottom. This is much more comfortable than a strap going up the bum. 
  • The Stearns Infant Puddle Jumper also has a different take on the crotch strap. This company designed a life jacket with two straps that go above the upper thigh instead of one that goes through the legs. 

Safety Strap

Another feature that is required by the US Coast Guard is the grab handle. This grab handle is on the back of the large flotation collar. This is a necessary safety feature so that you can easily retrieve your child out of the water. The Stohlquist toddler life jacket has this feature and is approved by the US Coast Guard. 

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A common complaint of all parents who have children in life jackets is that they are too stiff. So how can you make a life jacket that is not stiff, and also does the job of keeping your child afloat? Many life jackets cannot do both. However, the Stohlquist toddler life jacket does a pretty great job of giving your child the most mobility possible. 

This life jacket has a thin fabric back that doesn’t have any floatation device in it at all. This is because when infants are in the water they should be floating on their backs If children have a floating material on their backs, it can make them more unsteady in the water. Having the float on the front keeps the chest out of the water and their face out of the water. This life jacket has wide-open sides so that the child can move their arms freely in the water and on land. This life jacket is comfortable enough that your child could easily take a nap on a boat or even in the water with parental supervision. 

Water Safety

Many people assume that having a life jacket on their child will guarantee but they will be safe in the water. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. A life jacket will keep your child afloat no matter what,  but that doesn’t mean that your child will always be in the correct position for swimming or floating. 

Many parents complain that their children are unable to right themselves while in a personal flotation device. This is not an isolated problem. In fact, most brands of life jackets have this same issue.  The reason why children end up floating face down in the water when wearing a life jacket is that do not naturally want to float on their back in the water. Most children naturally will want to be on their stomach and attempt to swim. The problem with this is that all infant floatation devices are meant to be worn while floating on their back. The flexible cushion on the back of the head and the chest rotation helps to encourage your child to float on their back. When children fight this they can end up being face down in the water and not being able to right themselves.

Practice With Your Child

For this reason, the US Coast Guard strongly encourages parents to teach their children to float on their backs while in a personal flotation device. Newborns and many infants will resist this kind of floating unless they are put in the water with a parent trying to help them to float on their back. Unless you introduce your child to how the flotation device works when they are in calm waters, a child will likely panic if they are in an emergency situation.

The US Coast Guard also states a child’s life jacket is not a substitute for parental supervision. a child should never be left unsupervised while in a life jacket. Though it sounds silly, a life jacket may not prevent death by drowning even when worn correctly. It is the parent’s responsibility to watch their children at all times in the water, especially when they are infants and toddlers.

Click Here for the Best Price on the Stohlquist Toddler Life Jacket


All in all, the Stohlquist toddler life jacket is a great option for a personal flotation device. This life jacket allows your child to have the mobility that it wants to have in and out of the water. Mobility and comfort are such important things for children and for parents who are watching them. So this point alone is enough to make me want to buy this life jacket. 

The back is not bulky and your child will be able to lay flat in a boat and also swim in the water without the flotation device floating too high up on their ears. There are also not as many buckles and a zipper which makes the life jacket fit nice and snug all the way up. The Stohlquist life jacket has a collar design that I have not seen in any other life jackets on the market currently; a design that gives added comfort for all children but especially for very young infants. This life jacket meets all the requirements for the US Coast Guard safety guidelines. With that and the comfort level, this life jacket is among one of the best on the market currently.