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Our 3-year-old 30 lb child is doing very well in a puddle jumper which is designed for children from 30 to 50 lbs. We have a 20lb 1-year-old and we are trying to look for something equivalent but for that lower weight. We've tried the bathing suits with the built in floatation and the life-vests but they all ride up around his face and cover his mouth when he's in the water. What floatation device is available for 20lb babies that doesn't ride up over the mouth and is like the puddle jumper?

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3 Answers 3

I have a 23lb almost 2-year-old and have been searching high and low for something exactly like this since our 4-year-old LOVES his "floatie" as he calls it, and we can't find anything anywhere. We can only find actual life jackets which is frustrating (and she HATES it), but it's better than the alternative. We don't use it all the time, and we actually only bought it because we'll be going to the beach in a couple of weeks and there is no way I'm letting my 2-year-old in the ocean without a life jacket. Otherwise, though, one of us will usually just hold her in the water, or let her play with close supervision in the kiddie pool.

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+1 for confirming that you can't find anything either which means there probably isn't anything out there. –  Guy Jul 1 '12 at 3:58

I suspect the reason they are not available, is that a puddle jumper isn't really safe for a 1 year old; it doesn't orient their heads up automatically, like a Type I lifejacket will (which is what is recommended for a 1 year old). I'd worry that even in a pool a 1 year old would too easily orient face down in a puddle jumper, particularly with the lack of arm and upper body control.

There are some perhaps less frustrating suits out there; while most of the infant suits are going to be Type I and thus have the big neck piece (which is usually what is frustrating), there are also "float suits" and such, many of which have removable flotation pieces (so they are combo bathing suits + flotation devices). You may want to go to an REI or similar that has a large selection and just see what is the least irritating to your tot.

My wife also suggested that at 1 years old, it might be as much or more fun just to be in a regular bathing suit and in your arms. That's mostly how we play with our one year old, anyway; and it's not like you would really be able to be much further away anyhow (particularly with a one year old, it wouldn't be safe for him/her to be more than a foot or so away). I don't know if your one year old has as much body fat as mine does at 27 pounds, but he floats somewhat by himself anyway, which makes it easy to play with him in the water.

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Reread and realized you already mentioned float suits, so perhaps that's not applicable for your particular situation - or perhaps you might find other ones that fit better if you go try a few on your tot. –  Joe Jul 19 at 12:36

Slightly off topic, but only slightly.

Several big families with lots of kids at San Diego's Mission Bay east of the Bahia, everybody watching which means nobody's really watching. My 15 year-old was off soloing in our little sailboat for the first time, so I was alone on the beach with a half hour to kill. I saw a five-year-old boy twenty-five feet off-shore slip off the boogie board he was using as his "floatie". No sound, he went down and didn't come back up, and I was the only one to see. Sprint, splash, dive, and I grabbed him by the hair from the bottom among the sea grass, maybe eight feet deep in murky water. This happened last week.

If they can't swim, they need to be wearing something they can't fall out of, can't flip over, and the adults need to take turns being the designated lifegaurd, because if everybody knows everybody else is watching, nobody is really watching!

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You've done something to be applauded in both noticing and saving a life but unfortunately this answer doesn't address the question at all in it's current form - sorry! –  James Snell Jul 19 at 21:15
    
The moral to my story is "Never trust a flotation device with the life of your child. Never trust the life of your child to group supervision. Eyes on the child around water is the only true safety device." –  Marc Jul 19 at 23:04

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