PFD's for children

Just a quick question to those of you with either kids or liveries. I have a girlfriend with children. I want to take them out in the canoe or the older one in the kayak or what ever, but more importantly, I want to know if I should just anti-up the $20 a pfd for kids that aren’t mine, and are growing faster than weeds, or if I could get a pack of horseshoe ones in kids sizes. what is the best plan? how do parents deal with an occational boat use, not an every weekend on the water family of kids? I guess it is more of what single parent daters, and grandparents do. How do you all handle it? I am pretty sure i will just buy a few small pfds in thier aproximate sizes, but I am just looking for some input.



I would suggest checking your
local freecylce list. I just gave away a bunch that my kids had outgrown and were still in good condition. As with any safety equipment you obtain second hand, you must thoroughly inspect and test before using. With pfds they say to dispose of them if there are signs of mildew or dry rot.

Yo, dude
" I want to know if I should just anti-up the $20 a pfd for kids that aren’t mine"

You’re kidding, right?

Buy them the zipper kind and make sure they can’t slip out of them, or leave them with their father.

well they won’t slip out of the horse shoe ones either. I was just wondering about the cost effectiveness for of different types and different ways to buy for kids since I don’t have any. I mean these kids aren’t going out with me but once or twice a year. I keep spares for grown ups, but I take them out more.

And you can’t just leave the kids with their Father, the idea is to do things with them. I don’t mind the $60 in gear for them, but trying to cost effectively approach this. It is $60 this year and $40 next and most likely $60 again the fallowing year. then I have a selection of children’s PFDs and no kids to fit in them.

I don’t want to sound too cheap, and I DO NOT want to down play safety, I am just exploring options. When the kids are mine they will all get nice gear, but until then, and DEFINATLY while they are growing I am looking for cheap, reusable, growable options.

Oh plus I didn’t mention the river we will be on is not a scary one. Most places you can stand and be only about waist deep. It is slow and calm and easy and relaxing. I only need these PFDs for teaching good habits and Ohio laws.

Thanks for the input everyone, and sorry if I sound cheap or defensive


Wall Mart has new-style horshoes for $6

– Last Updated: Aug-12-07 8:15 AM EST –

They are actually surprisingly nice.

A couple of years ago my son wanted to have a bunch of friends for a campout overnighter.

I bought 6 of these PFDs for his friends and they worked out great. They did lots of swimming in them too.

couple pics:

Inexpensive PFDs didn't seem to inhibit their fun. That's what adulthood is for.

Looks like you have your hands full, clarion!

I was not aware of the newer type that Walmart sells. They look much better/safer than the older vest type.

liveoutside, sorry to come off that way. I’m sure you’re very concerned for your children’s safety. Take them with you and enjoy their company.

Won’t need new ones each year
Child PFDs are usually good for more than one year as they are set up for a range of weights. There are baby sized PFDs (with the collars and double-crotch straps good until 1 1/2 or 2), preschool ones (still with one or two crotch straps, ages 2-4 or 5), and grade school kid ones (5 ot 6 to 10). My (thin) daughter used a grade school one until she was 12! Her rounder brother went to a small adult jacket at 10.

Personally, I’d stay as far away from horsecollar jackets as possible. They are uncomfortable at best, and you really want the kids to be comfortable in their jackets and in the boat. Check around with other parents, and there may be one or two you could borrow.


kids will grow, but as stated,( the lifejackets often last more than a year. There really aren’t that many kids sizes). Also, you will be able to pass them down to the smaller kids, and only buy the biggest kid a new one next time. (just don’t buy a pink one…girls can be flexible on blue and yellow, but a 10 year old boy won’t wear hand me down “girl” gear.)

What would YOU rather wear?
The kids will want to wear what is comfortable, just like the rest of us. And if they are comfortable, they will be able to enjoy themselves, and not whine the whole time, which will make it better for you.

Spring for the better PFD’s, it depends on the age and the growth rate of the child, but you can get 1 to 3 years use before they don’t fit.

From PFD’s to bicycles, every parent has faced the “what do we do with this after one seasons use?” question.

And if you take the GF’s kids out and they have a good time, what is the benifit to you? :wink: