Anna was 3 months old when we took her on her first canoe trip over 12 years ago. Being a former lifeguard and a new mom, her safety around the water was a major concern for me. Unfortunately, back then there weren’t really any lifejackets for infants. The smallest one we could find was for kids weighing 22lbs. We used it, but it was far from ideal. She was not comfortable and was quite vocal about her displeasure. I found it stressful because the jacket didn’t fit as snuggly as I would have liked and there was no easy way to nurse her with it on.
By the time Eva was born (5 years later) Salus had introduced their Bijoux Baby Vest and it revolutionized our canoeing experience. I have used it with our youngest three kids and I absolutely love it. Auntie Lisa has used it with her youngest three and also loves it.
This jacket is for babies 9-25lbs and is manufactured right here in Canada. According to the Salus website, “the front design ensures that baby turns face-up from a face-forward position. The collar cradles the head when lifted by the strap or while floating. Mesh harness and short front enhance comfort sitting upright, lying down, or in a baby carrier.”
The jacket is fully adjustable so that I can get it on the baby snuggly regardless of what the baby is wearing. This was probably one of the biggest selling features for me because I don't have to worry about my baby popping out of the lifejacket accidentally. The front padding stays in place and doesn’t ride up into the baby’s face, which means that a mom can easily nurse the baby while the baby is wearing the jacket. It also has two little mesh pockets on the front, which are great for storing soothers or safety whistles. The fabric feels thick and is durable, showing no signs of wear after 7 years of use. The padded collar makes a nice headrest and the mesh back allows the baby to lie down comfortably. There have been many trips where our little one would take a nice long nap in front of me in the canoe. My babies never “complained” when wearing this lifejacket and regularly fell asleep with it on, so my guess is they find it quite comfortable.
I tested this jacket out at our local pool and am confident that it would keep my baby floating face-up should we ever capsize. It should be noted that this lifejacket is not Transport Canada or Coast Guard approved, but my understanding is that this is because they don’t test/approve lifejackets for anyone under 22lbs, not because it doesn’t work.
While the price tag may seem a bit steep (it retails for about $79.99) I believe it has been well worth the money. Ours still looks like new even though we’ve had ours for 7 years, it’s been through three kids (1-2 seasons per kid) and we have lent to several friends. You can often find them on Kijiji or in consignment stores for $30-$50.
Overall I would give this product 5 stars out of 5.