Originally Posted by vince
I personaly wouldnt recommend an automatic roll up type, in fact i dont know if you can get them that small.
I think they start about 3yrs old - but I wouldn't recommend them even at that age. No auto inflation system is 100% reliable. For an adult the fall backs are manual gas inflation and oral inflation but neither of those are likely to be much use with a pre-school non-swimmer just falling into very cold water.
So I agree that fixed foam, full life jacket with collar is the only way to go. Our little-un has one of these
Its quite bulky but I think they all are - or they really just looked like bouyancy aids with collars. He has never complained (and he would) about comfort etc.
I think it was reviewed in PBO alongside some others a wee while ago and scored OK (but not the best). IIRC their main criticism of it was the small area of reflective tape. Since we don't go out in the dark - and certainly not with Ben I felt this was a relatively low priority for me. I was more concerned that it felt nice and secure, and was comforable.