Originally Posted by mesaliving
PFD suggestions for 2-4 yr olds?
We just used the $20 Stearns PFD's from the local sporting goods store. We didn't see any point in buying "performance" paddlesport-specific PFD's when they weren't actually making many paddle strokes. :laughing:
They wore the PFD's with the neck/shoulder pad designed to turn them face-up in the water, and the crotch strap until about age 3. When they could reliably control their own body attitude in the water, they went to the more common "ski vest" style. At that age, they also swam frequently in pools with the PFD on, and I didn't want to put a nice $60 PFD in chlorine.
They've had decent NRS PFD's only for the last couple of years. They're just now to the point where they can actually be some help holding a raft paddle and need the bigger shoulder openings, and they've started dabbling in kayaking and need the shorter PFD so it doesn't ride up over a sprayskirt.
Our 9yo seems to wear her Stearns Youth PFD as frequently as she wears her NRS PFD, especially when just goofing off in the water or on the motorboat. I like that I don't have to ask her to wear one, so the PFD she chooses to wear is less important to me...and we're not exactly in ginormous hydraulics. Our 11yo grew so fast in the past year that she moved into my wife's old Women's-XS Lotus Lola.
So, in my opinion, simply get one they're comfortable in. If that means Barbie or Transformers, get that one. Make it easy for them to take ownership in deciding to wear it instead of Dad mandating the vest. It's not like you need a swiftwater rescue vest for a 3yo.