Baby and infant life jackets and PFDs revisited

A while back I wrote a short post about our purchase of a baby PFD / life jacket (what is the difference between a PFD and a life jacket anyway… I can never remember) and my frustation at finding an appropriate size. Let it be known that the sizing, being based on weight is misleading. Our son ‘fit’ his life jacket, but I would be hard pressed to say that he was comfortable in it. Understand however that the Mustang Survival jacket we purchased was the only one we could find that would fit someone of his weight at the time. The jacket in my opinion was meant for a child of the quoted weight, but someone of greater age. The combination of heavy / chubby baby and small life jacket was a questionable one. The one forgiving factor that allowed it to work? Apparently the rocking and white noise of the boat was enough to rock him to sleep on each of his first 5 trips on the water… allowing him to forgive the discomfort of the life jacket.

To recall, the jacket we landed on was the Mustang Survival Lil’ Legends Child’s Life jacket

My takeaway? If you’re looking for the safety of a PFD or life jacket for a baby well under a year you may end up trading comfort for that security. Further, few jackets appear to be specifically made for an infant of that age, so you’ll have to make due with what you can find , and what your son or daughter will tolerate when on the boat.

Finally, welcome the noise of the engines and the motion of the ocean. If you’re as lucky as we were the two combined will have your child asleep in no time and the questionable fit will be a non issue.

Now, once they hit 8 months or so, at least in my experience their willingness to give in to sleep decreases markedly. Gone are the days of quiet sleep while the boats makes the 45 minute trip from dock to dock. Instead fidgiting is the name of the game.