The cutest and safety-proven toddler pool floats

What are the various kinds of toddler pool floats for kiddos?

By Liza Munson
The cutest and safety-proven toddler pool floats

Nothing is more enjoyable and refreshing on a sweltering summer day then time spent swimming, playing and splashing in the family or neighborhood pool.  For parents, keeping kids safe while they are in and near the water is essential. Many children are also a bit nervous about getting into the water. Fortunately, there are many adorable floatation products, called swim aids, available in stores and online to help ensure that pool time is safe and enjoyable for your water babies.

Swim aids for young kids to come in many forms. There are vests which are meant to be worn as well as rings and rafts for floating constructed specifically for young children.  Water wings which are worn on the child’s upper arms are also a popular choice for children who are learning to swim. So what are some of the cutest and coolest options which will help keep children safe and happy in the pool? Read on for our suggestions!

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Toddler vest pool floats

Before we share details of some of the best toddler vest style swim aids on the market today, we must point out that there is a very big difference between a life jacket designed for a toddler and a flotation swim vest. A floatation swim vest will not prevent drowning and will only aid the child in floating making him/her more buoyant in the water while learning to swim.

A swim vest will also give a child a confidence boost and may make swimming time less scary and more enjoyable. A life jacket, while also not guaranteed to prevent drowning, is designed specifically to keep a child’s head above water, which is what that extra piece on the top of the back of the jacket is designed for. Parents should be sure that children of all ages wear the proper life jacket size when boating. With both life jackets and vests, it is important to make sure that the product is the right size and fit for the child’s height and weight and that it is worn correctly so that the child does not slip out.

Here are some of the best-loved (and cutest) toddler swim vests on the market today. 

1. Stearns Kids Puddle Jumper Deluxe : Stearns Puddle Jumper Kids Life Jacket | Life Vest for Children, Bam, 30-50 Pounds : Sports & Outdoors

These very cute vests include a chest panel and armbands. A back strap makes the puddle jumper deluxe easily adjustable. Because of their unique design, the puddle jumpers won’t feel restrictive to the child who will still be easily able to move his or her arms and legs. Also available in a large variety of colors and cute designs.

2. Splash About Collection Float Suit Splash About Collections Float Suit, Apple Daisy, 1-2 years (Chest: 51cm Length: 37cm): Sports & Outdoors

This bodysuit style swim aid also allows children to have free movement of arms and legs. The added benefit of this product is that it is adjustable meaning that its 16 removable floating panels can each be individually removed. This allows parents to adjust the amount of buoyancy based on a child’s weight, growth or need as he begins to learn to swim.

3. Speedo Kids' UPF 50+ Begin to Swim Classic Swim Vest : Speedo Kids' UPF 50+ Begin to Swim Classic Swim Vest : Sports & Outdoors

For a more traditional swim vest style, try this neoprene vest which provides 50+ level sun protection. This vest is easy to zip on and off and comes in a fun variety of colors and styles.

Toddler pool floats with shade

While nothing replaces slathering your child with sunblock and investing in swim clothes with added sun protection, these unique floats with shade can make pool time more enjoyable for the young ones on a hot day.

1. SwimWays Baby Spring Float Activity Center with Canopy, Blue/Green Octopus SwimWays Baby Spring Float Activity Center with Canopy, Blue/Green Octopus: Toys & Games

One of the cutest floats we found! So cute in fact we wish this product was also available in adult size. This product features lots of toys and allows young children and babies to play while splashing in the water.

2. Duck Baby Rider

PoolMaster Duck Baby Rider

For the child who loves to play with rubber ducks in the bath, this super cute duck float with canopy will provide hours of pool time fun.

Interested to get your hands on this? Check out the retailers that are near you (in USA) from the website.

Toddler ring pool floats

Gone are the days of those hard rubber pool safety rings, today there are so many colorful and unique ring style pool floats on the market. Here are a few of our faves.

3. Swim School Deluxe Tot Trainer Inflatable Rubber Tube Swim Aid SwimSchool Deluxe Tot Trainer, Fabric Swim Training Aid, Adjustable Safety Strap, Inflatable Tube, 2-4 years, Yellow: Toys & Games

This floatation ring plus more comes with a shirt piece affixed to the top of the ring which slips over the child’s swimsuit. It has a buckle on the bottom that makes it unlikely a child will slip out. This ring also allows the toddler to float upright, on his back or in a swimming position.  

4. Waitiee Inflatable Swimming Float Ring WAITIEE Free Swimming Baby Inflatable U-shape Underarm Swimming Ring Baby Float for Swimming Pool,3-9month: Toys & Games

Better than a traditional ring, this float securely lays your baby or toddler in a proper swimming position and comes equipped with a pump for easy inflation.

5. SwimSchool Aquarium Baby Boat SwimSchool Aquarium Baby Boat, Activity Center, Safety Seat, Inflatable Pool Float, 6 to 18 Months, Blue: Toys & Games

Complete with activities and a seat which keeps toddler or baby upright, this popular and cute ring style float is sure to provide a splashing good time.

Cute toddler car pool floats

6. Poolmaster Police Car Baby Swimming Pool Float Rider - Learn-To-Swim Poolmaster Police Car Baby Swimming Pool Float Rider - Learn-To-Swim: Toys & Games

The only thing cuter than a pool float designed to look like a car? A pool float designed to look like a police car. Kids will love being in the driver’s seat while they enjoy the pool. Also available in a fire truck design.

7. Poolmaster Learn-to-Swim Baby Buggy Baby Swimming Pool Float Rider with Shade Top Poolmaster Learn-to-Swim Baby Buggy Baby Swimming Pool Float Rider with Shade Top: Toys & Games

Toddler's enjoying this car/ buggy style float will never want to leave the pool. Complete with a canopy this adorable car will provide hours of fun.

Toddler Arm Floats

When a child is learning to swim and has gained a bit more strength and confidence in the water, you may choose to purchase arm floats. Arm floats can be worn during swimming lessons to help children feel more comfortable as they learn.

8. Speedo Begin to Swim Fabric Armbands : Speedo Kids Begin to Swim Fabric Arm Bands, Berry, One Size : Sports & Outdoors

These colorful armbands made of fabric are less likely to tear or puncture than traditional plastic material. The soft polyester material also makes it more comfortable to wear over the arms instead of a plastic feel with folds that might cut into the skin.

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Family pool time is not only a great way to cool off but can also foster a lifelong love of swimming for children. However, water safety for kids is paramount. It is important to remember that no swim aid replaces the need for constant adult supervision. It is recommended to never be more than an arm's length away from a baby or toddler in the water. Also, to improve buoyancy swim aids must be worn properly and fit correctly.

While swim aids can improve a child’s level of confidence in the water, children can also develop a false sense of security and may think they are stronger swimmers than they actually are. Be sure pool gates are locked at all times to limit children’s access to the pool and deflate and put away floats and toys when not in use - children who love to play in the pool have been known to sneak off and try to swim unsupervised.

It is recommended that parents, babysitters and anyone who supervises children around water become certified and is able to perform CPR on a child if needed. Finally, it’s recommended to start kids with swimming lessons from a professional swimming teacher as early as age four.