Well, when these pictures were taken, we weren't planning to use them to show the benefits of puddle jumpers, but at least they give you an idea. For us, the biggest benefit of Puddle Jumpers is of course that they are Coast Guard approved, so when kids want to wear them all the time they don't have to change into a different life jacket to get onto a boat. The other reason everyone seems to love Puddle Jumpers is because of course, the kids love them! Time and time again you can see kids jump into a pool or lake worry free because they are wearing their Puddle Jumper. It helps build confidence while they are learning how to get used to water and even start to swim, and the Puddle Jumper does not ride up around their neck, so kids are happy to wear them.
We would also like to answer a couple questions that often arise about Puddle Jumpers:
1: Why do they only fit 30-50 pound children? Will they make a different size? - The reason there isn't a Puddle Jumper for children under 30 pounds is because at under 30 pounds life jackets are required to turn the infant over when they are in the water. This requires a neck support which doesn't fit with the Puddle Jumper design. It is basically a safety feature to help infant and toddlers who are unable to flip themselves over. Please, if your child is under 30 pounds, use a Type II Infant rated life jacket. Also please note that this blog is for informational purposes only, according to personal and reported experiences; if you are looking for exact information about life jacket requirements, visit the Coast Guard website.
2: What do the different styles mean? - Stearns has come out with a couple different styles in the last couple of years so they can be available at every price point. Here is a list of what are currently available:
Basic Series or Cancun Series - These life jackets are made from a durable nylon. This fabric is strong but cheap, so they are right for every budget.
Maui Series and Bahama Series - These are made from a woven polyester, making them softer on children's skin and less likely to cause chafing. They are also made with an antimicrobial fabric to prevent odors.
Tahiti Series - Made of Hydroprene, these life jackets are the softest and most comfortable Puddle Jumpers yet. The fabric has antimicrobial properties built in as well, to resist bacteria that causes odor.