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The 10 Best Toddler Floaties for Splashing Around

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Child in swimming pool wearing colorful inflatable armbands. Kids learn to swim with float aid. Floa...
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To give your little one added support — and perhaps a boost of confidence at the pool or beach — the best toddler floaties can be a helpful tool. Your toddler will love the floating assistance (and, likely, cute designs). Just keep in mind that floaties are not a safety device or a substitute for a life jacket, and they can deflate; you or a caregiver should always be within arm’s reach of your would-be swimmer. With that in mind, floaties are a popular accessory for a day by the water, as are other must-haves you’ll want to put in your tote, including sunscreen, a change of clothes, snacks, and water toys.

What To Consider When Shopping For The Best Toddler Floaties

Toddlers should always be supervised in the water and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also recommends a few things like assigning a “water watcher,” who will be responsible for keeping a constant eye on children playing in the water, especially since the addition of a floatie can give them a false sense of confidence. The AAP also suggests using “touch supervision” and encourages parents to stay within an arm's length of their children at all times when in the water.

Another thing to keep in mind is a younger toddler may prefer a different style of floatie than an older toddler approaching pre-kindergarten. Younger toddlers may be more comfortable in a sit-in floatie, and you’ll appreciate those that come with a sun shade. Older toddlers will love the freedom of movement granted by arm floaties, and you may prefer those with an added vest for a more secure fit. Be sure to also take a look at the weight limit and recommended age range for each floatie; this has been noted for each of the picks below. Keep reading to find the best one for your toddler.

In a hurry? Here are the top picks for best toddler floaties.

1. The Best Classic Arm Floaties: Dark Lightning Toddler Swim Vest

2. The Best Zip-Up Swim Vest: Limmys Premium Neoprene Swim Vest

3. The U.S. Coast Guard-Approved Floatie: Body Glove Paddle Pals Motion Life Jacket

01

These Classic Arm Floaties With A Kid-Friendly Design

This popular toddler floatie features a vest with adjustable straps that are double-stitched for added durability. Plus, the buckle on the back needs to be clicked in two places to unlock, so an adult will need to help remove the floaties. The colorful design with an eye-catching crab (or six other kid-friendly design options) will help your kiddo get excited about splashing around in the pool.

Review: “Cute. But most importantly it gave my 4 year old support and confidence in the water. Helps toddlers stay afloat while learning to swim. By the end of the day she could doggy paddle.”

Recommended Age: 1 to 4 years old | Weight Limit: 50 pounds | Dimensions: ‎12.36 x 7.95 x 6.42 inches | Item Weight: ‎4.44 ounces

02

A Zip-Up Swim Vest With Customizable Buoyancy

This swim vest stands out for its customizable buoyancy. The float system has eight packs that can be added or removed based on your toddler’s increasing ability to swim. The zip-up style makes it easy for parents to get on and off, and it has a zip guard to keep toddler hands from messing with the zipper. The neoprene design stretches for comfort, and an adjustable strap at the bottom keeps the vest from riding up.

Review: “Superb product, easy to carry with the carry bag provided and the floats can be taken out if needed washing. Good sizing too”

Recommended Age: Small: 1 to 2 years old; Medium: 2 to 5 years old | Weight Limit: Small: 33 pounds; Medium: 50 pounds | Dimensions: ‎2.2 x 8.98 x 4.8 inches | Item Weight: ‎11.2 ounces

03

A U.S. Coast Guard-Approved Life Jacket

With this one, your kiddo sees a fun, colorful pool accessory, and you see a Paddle Pal backed by the U.S. Coast Guard’s approval. It’s similar to a classic puddle jumper but with a shoulder harness that prevents the jacket from sliding off. Parents also love that the buckle is on the back, making it nearly impossible for toddlers to unclip themselves. Just have your toddler choose from a mermaid, plane, or race car design.

The life jacket is made from durable polyester and designed to fit comfortably and prevent chafing, so you’re less likely to hear complaints about itchiness or irritation. All around, it’s no surprise this one maintains a 4.8-star rating after nearly 2,000 reviews. Though a recommended age isn’t provided, the weight range is 35 to 55 pounds for this vest.

Review: “Very happy! This is the only swim vest I’ve found that keeps my toddlers head above water. And we’ve tried 6 different ones. Love the design. I don’t have to worry about them slipping out or getting rubbed by a strap between their legs. Far better design than the competitors. And it works great. Bought 2. They fit for my 2 and 3 year old who are 35 and 45lbs.”

Recommended Age: n/a | Weight Limit: 55 pounds | Dimensions: ‎‎15 x 11 x 6 inches | Item Weight: ‎13.7 ounces

04

The 4-In-1 Pool Floatie — For Just $15

Toddlers will have just enough independence to feel like they are actually swimming in this buoyant vest, and you’ll appreciate the multi-purpose use of this floatie for less than $20. Toddlers can use it as a floatie, pool chair, splash and play center, and swim aid. It’s made from heavy-duty vinyl to support any way they play with it.

The vest style with a wraparound tube make it easy and comfortable for your toddler to experience the water in an upright position. Plus, the quick-drying fabric makes it a top choice for vacations or day trips to the beach when throwing it back in your bag.

Review: “So easy to use and it built my sons confidence quickly!!!! He is now in a puddle jumper swimming around the pool.We bought this when the puddle jumper still scared him. This gave him a huge confidence boost since it kept him stable all the way around. So glad we purchased!”

Recommended Age: 2 to 4 years old | Weight Limit: 33 pounds | Dimensions: ‎3 x 10.5 x 9.75 inches | Item Weight: ‎.5 pounds

05

This Multi-Pack Of Old School Arm Band Floaties

Arm bands are a classic choice when it comes to floaties, and if you have a few kiddos who need them, this set comes with three pairs of arm bands and a convenient pump to inflate them. These PVC arm floaties are designed to comfortably roll on and off little arms, and you’ll appreciate the handy pump instead of having to blow these up yourself.

Review: “These are fantastic! Not the plastic that they’re normally made from but a thicker material. Also they slide right on. No sticking to the arm when it’s wet.”

Recommended Age: 12 months old and up | Weight Limit: 70 pounds | Dimensions: ‎7.1 x 6.3 x 2.1 inches | Item Weight: ‎10.41 ounces

06

A Back Floating Device For Older Toddlers Learning to Swim

This back floatation device keeps kids buoyant while giving them the freedom to move their arms and legs. It also helps kids maintain balance as they are learning to swim for the first time. The float has four levels of buoyancy, and it can be adjusted by removing or adding one of the layers as their skills improve. This is a great alternative for kids who can’t stand bulky arm bands.

Review: “This really helped my 4 year old learn how to swim. She hates the puddle jumper life jacket. It always leaves rashes on her. So I thought I'd try this. And oh my, am I glad I did. She LOVES IT! It gives her the freedom of not having a life jacket, or being in a float. She can swim freely with ease. It's a great buy. She has almost mastered swimming, and it's only been a month and a half.”

Recommended Age: 3 to 10 years old | Weight Limit: 165 pounds | Dimensions: ‎ 8.2 × 7 × 3.1 inches | Item Weight: ‎.55 pounds

07

This Stylish Rash Guard Connected To Arm Band Floaties

How about a rash guard that connects to arm band floaties? The short-sleeved Lycra shirt provides sun protection and the floaties buckle directly onto the shirt to give your child with some extra buoyancy. The floaties can be removed when no longer needed.

Review: “I love these for my toddler. I don’t worry about him slipping out because the floaties are attached to the shirt but can be removed.”

Recommended Age: 2 to 4 years old | Weight Limit: 66 pounds | Dimensions: ‎12 x 10 x 2 inches | Item Weight: n/a

08

A Multipurpose Swim Floatie For Younger Toddlers

Your younger toddler may be more comfortable in this sit-in floatie they can hold onto. It functions as a baby boat that little ones can slide their legs through with full support, a kid cruiser that gives them slightly more freedom, a boat that they can ride on top of, and a kickboard to help them learn to swim. This multi-functional pool float is perfect for passing down to younger siblings.

Review: “So far my son (3) has used it in our pool. He loves it! It holds him. He's about 35lbs. We got the xl size and it's perfect.”

Recommended Age: 18 months to 3 years old | Weight Limit: n/a | Dimensions: ‎2.75 x 10.5 x 9.75 inches | Item Weight: ‎6.6 ounces

09

This Fan Favorite Floatie With Thousands Of 5-Star Reviews

With over 12,000 five-star reviews, this floatie is a clear favorite, and it’s fairly easy to see why. First, it places babies and toddlers in a comfortable swim position so that they can learn to kick and paddle while floating with support. A back strap keeps your toddler from sliding. Second, it’s incredibly easy to inflate and deflate, making it perfect for packing on trips. It comes in three sizes: small, large, and extra-large.

Review: “We love this float because it gives my little one a chance to really swim. We have other floats too, the ones where he sits in it and his feet hang in the water but babies can’t really swim in those. This one is unique in the way they lay in their stomach but strapped in, able to kick their legs and swim without getting their face in the water.”

Recommended Age: Size Large: 1.5 to 6 years old | Weight Limit: 48 pounds | Dimensions: ‎8.31 x 7.72 x 2.72 inches | Item Weight: ‎1.1 pounds

10

A Pool Float With Built-In Shade For Long Pool Days

This pool float has a built-in sun canopy that can be adjusted to offer protection from UVA and UVB rays during pool time. There’s also a soft play mesh area so toddlers can stay entertained with their favorite water toys. We also love that it is easily portable.

Review: “This item is an amazing area for them to play and keep little ones shaded from the sun if needed. At a great price point.”

Recommended Age: 6 to 24 months old | Weight Limit: 34 pounds | Dimensions: ‎2.25 x 11.5 x 12.5 inches | Item Weight: ‎1.57 pounds