Bulletproof vests are an excellent self-defense tool, especially for our children. While 40 years ago people would laugh at the notion of children needing bulletproof vests or bulletproof backpacks, the world we live in today is full of new dangers.
So, what is the best bulletproof vest for kids? The best option for a bulletproof vest for children is a backpack with a laptop sleeve that a bulletproof plate can be placed into. This allows the child to have the ability to use their backpack as a vest if needed. Bulletproof plates can be inexpensive, flexible, and lightweight allowing your child to not be weighed down throughout the day while still providing ample protection if the need arises.
While soft body armor plates might be a good direction for some, its not the best choice for all people. Below, we’ve outlined our top 5 choices for body armor for children and what we recommend.
Bulletproof Vests For Children
The first category we will discuss is the actual bulletproof vests designed for children. These vests are the least common simply because there is rarely a time where it would be necessary for a child to walk around in public, or school, in full body armor.
This does not mean there are not occasions where something like this could be of use. For example, a home invasion, civil unrest, needing to take a child through a potentially dangerous zone in the midst of civil unrest, etc…
Body armor like this will provide the absolute most coverage and protection for your child. These vests are created to go from the waist to the neck, surrounding the rib cage, cover the shoulders, along with full coverage of the back.
The most popular option on the market is rated at Level IIIA meaning it can take nearly all handgun rounds, in addition to even the highest caliber handgun rounds such as 357 SIG and .44 MAG.
Our choice for the best protection in this category is the lightweight Level IIIA Bulletproof vest for children by Bulletproof Zone.
Coming in at only 4.2 pounds is impressive for a vest with this coverage. In addition to being lightweight, it is thin for a vest with this rating making it easier for a child to move in.
For quick application and removal, the vest is equipped with a zipper down the center so it can be put on like a jacket rather than needing to go over the head.
Since this vest is manufactured in Israel, lead times tend to hover around the 3-8 week mark. This vest comes in at a price point of $399.99 making it the most expensive option on the list. But, you get what you pay for. This is the best option for a full coverage bulletproof vest designed for kids.
Bulletproof Plates for Children
As an alternative to a full bulletproof vest, one of the most common body armors suited for children is soft bulletproof plates. This style of body armor is designed to be placed into plate carriers on a vest but also works great in many other applications. It can be used in items like a backpack, lunch bag, or laptop case making it one of the most attractive body armor options for children to use.
Given the extreme lightweight, these plates can be placed in a backpack and forgotten about. If the need ever arose, your child could wear their backpack like a vest in front of them and run to safety with the added protection of the body armor plate inside their pack.
Our number one choice for body armor plates is the Battle Steel Level IIIA Body Armor.
The Battle Steel Level IIIA Body Armor provides the same level of protection as the vest listed above but in a smaller, lighter weight package more suitable for daily use and application.
Coming in at only 1 pound, this soft, flexible armor plate is the perfect companion to a backpack or laptop bag. It has the ability to stop nearly all common handgun rounds such as .22, 9mm, .380, .45 ACP, .40, .44 MAG, .357 SIG, and more.
The 10″x 11″ sizing makes it compatible with most bags and the thin profile allows it to rest against the back of the back not interfering with the ability to use the bag as one normally would.
An alternative to the above plate, if more protection is required, would be the Level III Body Armor by AR500.
This body armor, while not specifically designed for children, could also be used to place in a backpack or laptop bag. The benefit of this plate is the Level III rating which means it can stand up to many rifle rounds in addition to handgun rounds, such as the 5.56.
Coming in at only .22″ inch thick, it is not overly bulky. The major downside, however, is the weight. The 10″x12″ version comes in at 8 pounds making it quite the additional load to an everyday carry backpack or bag, especially for children. At only $65, the price can’t be argued with though.
Bulletproof Backpacks for Children
While a plate placed in a bag might be enough for some people, others might want the convenience of purchasing a bulletproof backpack made for children. Here is our recommendation for the best Body Armor Kids Backpack.
This pack is NIJ Level IIIA certified, as the above plate, making it suitable for stopping all handgun ammunition in addition to major rifle ammunition like the 5.56. The built-in plate offers nearly full protection of the width and height of the pack.
This backpack is created as a universal backpack, so it would likely be too large for very small children. If we had to put an age on this, I would say this backpack would work well for children 10 years of age and older.
While this pack offers exceptional security, it doesn’t fall short in the daily usability category. With over 20 packets for storage and 20 lbs of usable space, this backpack can handle all the books and supplies you throw at it while still offing the utmost protection against threats.
For smaller children or those wanting the cheapest option, we recommend the 16.5″ Kids’ Backpack Camo – Cat & Jack.
This backpack is not an armored pack, but it does have a padded laptop compartment in the rear of the backpack making it the perfect companion to the Battle Steel plate mentioned above.
Together, you can have a backpack suitable for young children with an exceptional body armor rating, for a total of $64.99 making it fit within most budgets.
This backpack can be found at Target.com and includes ample storage space for school supplies.
If you are wanting added security for your child, our personal recommendation is to find a backpack your child likes, that fits them well, that has a laptop sleeve in the rear of the pack up against your child’s back.
Once you have found this, simply purchase the Battle Steel plate and place it in the laptop sleeve. This plate will only ad 16 ounces to the bag making it extremely manageable for day to day use and the padded outside of the plate makes it perfect if your child wants to use for a laptop sleeve for a laptop in addition to the plate since it won’t destroy the laptop like a steel plate would.
This combination is not only the most cost-effective on the list but what we feel to be the most practical day to day solution for someone wanting added protection for their child.
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