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 for that lower weight.

We've tried the bathing suits with the built in floatation devices and 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 face and is like the puddle jumper?

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    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!
    – Marc
    Jul 18, 2014 at 20:54
  • I was hoping for better answers myself. People should stay on topic. I have a 25 lb 2 year old and I want something safe but not too restrictive for a pool. I love the puddle jumper (I have one for my older son) but the starting wt is 30lbs. I will most likely be holding him but I want him to wer something while playing in the pool area when my older son is swimming.
    – user13982
    Mar 10, 2015 at 16:23
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    I find this particularly frustrating because my son is 2 1/2 and very capable in the pool but he only weighs 23lbs. I always just hold him - even when he's wearing a life jacket (I used to be a lifeguard so I'm hyper vigilant in the water) but he wants to swim without me holding him so badly and I know he could if there was a puddle jumper for a smaller weight. We have problems like this all the time. Companies don't take smaller stature toddlers like mine into account so he ends up waiting til he's so much older to wear and do things that other kids his age are already wearing and doing.
    – user16252
    May 18, 2015 at 11:51
  • I found this link for some options for under 30 lbs but they are not puddle jumpers. I'm not taking him anywhere near a pool again until I find something! lucieslist.com/lucies-list-blog/2014/06/18/…
    – user23882
    Jul 24, 2016 at 2:31

15 Answers 15


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.

  • 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, 2014 at 12:36
  • 10 cm/4" can be deathly, and too little to right a child whatever they wear. Never rely on a life jacket or build in floating device with children that young.
    – Willeke
    May 17, 2020 at 12:26

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.

  • +1 for confirming that you can't find anything either which means there probably isn't anything out there.
    – Guy
    Jul 1, 2012 at 3:58

Best I can tell, there is no lower weight equivalent to the puddle jumper.

We have a petite 2 year old who would love to have a "floatie" like her 4 year old sister. Our 2 year old weighs 23 pounds. We put her sister's puddle jumper on just to see if it would work and it is huge.

So far, The best solution we have found is to buy the smallest 0- ring shaped floats we can (usually at the Dollar Tree) and keep her within arms reach at all times. She doesn't try to get out of the ring and generally enjoys floating around rather passively so I don't know how it would work with a different personality type lol but the ring fits pretty close to her body so it works for us.


Just in case anyone reads this and goes with hold the baby in your arms route....there are ring slings made for wearing your baby on your front (against your chest that allows you to be hands free. :)


Our 1-yo loves his swim trainer, it gives him some freedom to swim wherever he wants to go. I would only use it in the pool though, not in the ocean and of course still requires strict supervision because it can tip over. You'll also have to take it off when he just wants to play, it's only for active swimming or floating.

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    Hi Anna, and welcome to Parenting SE! Could you give us a little more information on the swim trainer? Maybe with a link to particular item? May 4, 2015 at 13:33

I bought a puddle jumper in 2012. Then the weight requirement was 20lbs. I began using it with my son at 11 months old. I bought another recently and noticed the change to 30lbs.

I will be disregarding the change as my eldest child was quite safe and secure in his puddle jumper at 23lbs and 11 months old. We were not notified of a recall or a weight change and I see no deaths or injuries reported.

I know multiple 4 year olds who don't meet the 30lb weight and they too use the puddle jumpe.


My 1 year old uses a puddle jumper with no problem BUT that is all she had ever used, other than a sit in floater. I will mention that she is only 24lbs and 17 months old. I think it honestly just depends on the child


My 19 month old son does not know how to counter his weight yet his feet come right up behind him and he goes face first every time we bought a suit with a blow up tube made in it and it came with a blow up ring that I sit him in and it keeps him upper body out of the water and he can't get out of it or flip it over but he never leaves my side either he could pull his arms out of the puddle jumper so we returned it and all the life jackets were way too big or way to small so we will just stick with the blow up suit and baby boat for now, no rush y'all should definitely look into that I think we bought it all walmart



This is the link they should have a blue one like this for boys as well. It has worked very good for us and I see a few others on Walmart.com under baby floats they have a lot more stuff online than instore


My granddaughter started using a puddle jumper at 14 mos she would rest her chin on the front and float around the pool of course with much supervision it did work and kept her floating


It looks like Puddle Jumper now makes an infant sized puddle jumper, for under-30 pound infants.

  • Hi; welcome to the site. In answers we're looking for a complete answer in the text, not just a link (as links often go bad). I'll edit this to do so, but in the future a complete answer is appreciated. Thanks!
    – Joe
    Aug 20, 2018 at 15:44

enter image description here

I am looking for something as well and found above attached image, I searched for 20-30 lbs and this was the suggestion. It is a puddle jumper with arm straps. Per reviews it works well for a 22 lbs 18 month old. I ordered both and we will see if it works and keeps her head up.


Well no judgment needed for this answer because I am very attentive but did have a very independent granddaughter who did not want to be held or restricted in the pool. She has older siblings and cousins and she wasnt having it. So we tried everything but nothing was in comparison to the independence that the puddle jumper gave to the other swimmers so we tried the one with the build in sleeves and made sure it was fitted appropriately to our 20 lbs granddaughter and she did amazing same results as the other children no tipping no struggles she stayed afloat without any problems. No I would recommend that even with the puddle jumper a designated adult be appointed lifeguard as with any little swimmers.


My 19 month old is between 20-22lbs and she has used the puddle jumper (for 30lbs) and it works just fine for her just make sure you adjust it right for their smaller size fit. Other than that it’s perfectly fine❤️


I just tried a puddle jumper on my 25lb 13 month old and he loved it. Obviously he has to stay close cause he wants to drink the water and that's not ok but he was able to float and loved it.

I had my older son in one at 22 months and he was putting his face in, blowing bubbles, etc.

As long as they can't slip out of it and you stay close you should be fine even if they don't meet the "weight limit"

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