life jacket guide
All cards on the table . . . I am an avid and completely paranoid life jacket enthusiast. I’m just saying, why not wear a life-saving jacket? Could you imagine if we had jackets to prevent cancer or diabetes? I would be wearing those too. Life jackets are incredibly important. Did you know that in over 80% of drowning deaths the person was not wearing a life jacket?! Heartbreaking. So, even though I am a strong swimmer, this is why I wear them when boating and why kids should be wearing them when swimming and boating. But not just any ill-fitting florescent-pink like jacket will do. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind when buying life jackets for you and your family:
1. Children (and adults) should always wear U.S. Coast Guard approved jackets. These include Type I, II, III, or V life jackets and any jacket worn should be in good serviceable condition. It is also important when boating to have a flotation device you can throw. The U.S. Coast Guard also requires that the jackets fit properly.
2. Life jacket fit guidelines:
– Appropriate age and size: small children should not wear adult-sized life jackets. There are many safe jacket options made specifically for children. The label on the jacket will indicate the proper weight and height of the wearer.
– Fasten up: Putting a life jacket on without snapping it shut is like putting a seat belt across your body and not buckling it up. It’s just silly! Make sure you fasten the jacket properly.
– Snug fit test: Life Jackets should be snug. To insure they are snug enough you should perform a little snug test. This test works on children and adults: with the jacket on, lift your hands above your head in a touchdown position. Then ask a friend, parent, or anyone walking by to tug on the shoulders of your life jacket. If there is any excess space on the shoulders of your jacket or if it rides up to your chin/face it is not snug enough. Time for a tighter jacket.
3. Supervision. Supervision. Supervision.
Life jackets save lives, and so do watchful eyes on those little ones. Always remember to supervise your kids when near water!
Now enjoy the summer heat and swim safe!