A puddle jumper is a floatation device for children that is often an upgrade from a water wing or floatie because it has the added benefit of an undershirt that attaches to your child's chest to provide extra float.
This means that your child cannot remove it, or even the water hydrofoil, because it is all attached. They are designed to allow children to swim in them, but they are not designed to keep your child face up in the water.
When should your child use a puddle jumper?
Puddle pullovers are great for your child to wear in the pool where they may be supervised. They are great for kids to play in the water and to familiarize them with basic swimming techniques.
They are usually designed for children between 30 and 50 pounds who may already have some basic swimming skills or know how to keep their head afloat.
A puddle jumper can meet the boating regulations for your child to wear on deck, but it may not offer as many safety features as a standard life jacket.
Infant life jackets and some children's life jackets often have crotch straps so that the life jacket can stay in place rather than climbing up off the child's face. They also usually have head support pillows that provide extra buoyancy for your child's head and help them to stay face up in the water.
However, not all children's life jackets are designed to force face-up floating.
When should children use life jackets?
Children should wear life jackets when they are enjoying water activities such as kayaking or boating.
Children can also wear life jackets when at the beach, pool or water park for added safety.
Swim vests are designed to work with your child and help encourage proper swimming form. They are not designed to keep your child afloat. Your child can still swim underwater in a swim undershirt.
Swim vests can go further than puddle jumpers because they allow your child to move his or her arms more freely, thus improving swimming technique in a more natural way.
When should your child use a swim vest?
Swim vests are perfect for children who are learning to swim. However, since they do not provide enough buoyancy to keep your child afloat, they may be better suited for children who already have a basic understanding of swimming technique and know how to tread water.
If your child can already swim, then a swim vest is ideal for use at the pool or beach. Some swim undershirts also offer UV protection, which is useful for spending the day at the beach or outdoor pool.
Conclusion: Which works best?
Whether your child wears a life jacket, puddle pullover or swim undershirt usually depends on your child's swimming skills and the type of activity they will be doing.
In our opinion, if your child is going to be paddling, a life jacket is probably the best choice. Puddle jumpers are great for kids splashing around in the pool, and swim undershirts are great for kids who are learning to swim without floats.