PFD for small kids...

…who needs 'em?

Just kidding. Please don’t banish me to B & B.

My 4 1/2 year old, 36 pound daughter and her 7 1/2 year old 75 pound sister both have properly fitting, Type III pfds. But I recently read a post somewhere that recommended the Type II pfds for young children because the Type II will automatically cause the kid to float face up when in the water. My 7 year old is strong enough and can swim well enough to right herself, the 4 year old is not. Plus there is always the possibility of injury that would limit the kid’s abilities.

Is a Type II the way to go with young children?

While I’m at it, any recommendation for a First Kayak for the girls?

Thank you!


On B&B you’d be pounded for even
suggesting in jest a child doesn’t need a pfd, as you have been for other things said there. As for the Type II vs III argument, it may be more valid for power boating, white water, or in the ocean. But, for the rest, are you going to let the 4 and 7 year old go out by themselves?

more to the point
is that they wear it, with out too much complaining, regardless of type. If you get them type II’s and the give you a hard time about putting it on, and keeping on, or they are so uncomfortable with it on the they whine all day, and don’t have a good time, they will lose interest in paddling with or without you. And we all don’t want that to happen. So get ones that fit and are comfortable for them to wear, everybody will be happier. Also, get the younger one a new one, at least once, it helps avoid the ‘hand-me-down blues’.

First kayak
The Perception Carolina 12.0 and EPI Episea are regularly mentioned as boats that are fast enough to let kids keep up with their parents. For just playing around, a small sit-on-top would be the way to go – no worries about it swamping or someone getting stuck inside.

For whitewater, Jackson Kayak makes child-size boats.

If they get interested, and you like to build things, look at the Pygmy Osprey 13 or Shearwater Rising Star.

Solo? Oh no.
the 7 year old may yet this summer get to paddle alone in my wife’s yak, but I will be right along side.

Leob1, and some other informative sites I have since run across, make a good point about fit and comfort. So far, both kids have only been passengers in the canoe. I suppose when they are ready ot make the leap to the kayak it will be time to get new pfds that will provide more comfort along with safety.

Since momma and daddy are with them,
and especially if the waters are mostly peaceful, I would thing that the regular pfd is fine for the young one. The others tend to hole the head and neck rather stiffly and limit movement. Just go on down to wally world and get one that fits, it’ll soon be outgrown, so no sense in buying top of the line. An inexpensive one will do the same job, what you pay for is comfort and, hopefully, durability.

Hey, jerl…

– Last Updated: Jun-15-06 4:09 PM EST – should know that this Liberal doesn't shop at WallyWorld.


Did you mean to say who needs PFDs? Or who needs Kids?


…My kids have been busy every evening this week with bible school and I HAVE been able to get in a lot more paddling with them not around…

Thats what I’m saying…
Although the wife doesn’t like me taking off too much by myself. Some is fine, but not too much.

Although we now have a third on the way. I guess that means we’re going to be busy for a while still.


Get A Good Type II
for both. When the older one can swim and fend for himself then think about a type III. Generally the Type II vests are more comfortable than the Type III vests. More expensive, yeah likely. And, yes they will both grow out of them quickly. But think about the bottom line.

Go the the USCG page and read what the differances are. Type I will keep your face out of the water. Type II will tend to keep your face out of the water. Type III will keep you afloat, no reference to the face.

Happy Paddling,


When my first grandchild was born…
…I took an infant pfd to the hospital for a baby gift, and everyone looked at me strangely. What’s wrong with my family?