USCG advisory: Fitting life jackets for kids

by Tim Flanagan on May 8, 2009

Daren Lewis at the US Coast Guard’s 13th District posted some important reminders about children and PFDs over on the District 13 blog.

Aboard my boat, pills children and adults wear PFDs at all times underway, purchase and children wear them at the dock. As I’ve recommended before, have a PFD protocol! I don’t care what it is. But give it some thought, establish some rules, and enforce them.

Anyway, the Coast Guard guidelines bear repeating, so here they are:

As we enter the boating season and get life jackets out of storage for the first time since last season it is important to pay particular attention to the fit of the life jackets for the kids on our boats. As all parents know, growing out of clothes and shoes is a constant challenge. Children grow out of life jackets too. Life jackets need to be carefully fitted to children in order to be effective. Children can fall out of life jackets that are too large or improperly fastened and may not receive sufficient flotation from a life jacket that is too small. Even a life jacket that appears to fit may allow a child to shift downward so that their face is immersed once they enter the water.

  • Choose the right size.
  • Make sure it is in serviceable condition.
  • Buckle all the buckles, tie the ties, zip the zippers, and use the straps… including the crotch strap if equipped.
  • Tighten the straps, the life jacket should be snug as it will loosen in the water.
  • Pick the child up with the life jacket, vest types should not pull up above the ears.
  • Make sure kids wear the life jacket and wear yours. You are not only modeling good behavior but you will also be able to assist your kids if everyone ends up in the water. WEAR IT!

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June 27, 2009 at 12:35 am

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