Review Stearns Puddle Jumper

Making Safety and Peace of Mind Adorable

Stearns Puddle Jumper flotation device.
Stearns Puddle Jumper flotation device. Pricegrabber

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We're a summer focused household, but I believe that key to enjoying the sunshine and outdoor activities of the season is being smart about summer safety. That means, among our other preparations, having a good, Coast Guard approved flotation device for each child is imperative. The Stearns Puddle Jumper is the perfect water accessory to ensure safety in the backyard or public pool -- and it is so adorable and affordable that it's a triple hit for parents of toddlers.

How it Works

Most standard life vests for children are designed to save their lives, but can actually make it hard for them to practice swimming because of the fit or the way they tilt a child to encourage floating on the back. Some parents prefer to use the blow up arm floaties to support new swimmers or pre-swimmers, but there are safety concerns about these devices and public pools often won't allow them to be worn.

Enter the Puddle Jumper. On each arm is a buoyant band. Across the child's chest is another flotation support. The two pieces are connected and the entire thing buckles in the back. This genius design allows a young child to float on the water with her head held completely out of the water



These Stearns Puddle Jumpers are US Coast Guard-approved. They are available in a number of styles and colors.


  • Woven polyester for softer fabric with less chafing
  • Learn-to-swim aid for beginners in the water
  • Comfortable design gives more freedom to swim and play
  • Adjustable buckle snaps in back
  • Antimicrobial properties built in to the vest resist odor-causing bacteria
  • Fits kids 30-50 lbs


Why It Stand Out

My kids are pretty good about putting on their life jackets around water -- even Little Guy knows that no flotation at the beach or on a boat means not going near the water.

But they don't "love" their jackets. Puddle Jumpers, on the other hand, are designed to be loved. They come in a wide variety of colors with fun characters on the front. There is a line of 3D versions that have a character face pop out a bit -- really cute.

The style goes more than just looking good -- the kids are comfortable with them. They definitely fit better and are quicker on and off than any flotation device I've used before.

These are also made not just to save a life, but to support a child as he learns to swim. Toddlers who are taking swim classes will probably not wear these flotation devices during lessons, but at other times, I would put it on your child whenever he was near the pool. There are some parents who worry that a device like this prevents a child from learning to swim properly faster. Jim Reiser, our Expert to Swimming, disagrees, saying that he's never witnessed a child become dependent on a progressive flotation device, and that we should teach children to wear proper safety devices around water.


Keep In Mind

The Puddle Jumper is great for building confidence and practicing swimming skills, but it doesn't make your child independent in the pool. This is a flotation device that can support your child -- but it doesn't replace constant supervision.

An adult should always be within reach of a toddler who is in the water. A child could still take in water while wearing this device, which could cause serious medical problems.

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