Children enjoy splashing in the pool and taking a relaxing boat ride just as much as their parents. However, it is important that every child has a proper fitting life jacket anytime they are near the water.
To keep your child safe while on the water, here are some helpful tips to ensure your child’s life jacket has the proper fit:
- Check the manufacture’s tag on the life jacket to see if your child is in the correct height and weight range. There are typically three sizes to look for: Infant – 30 pounds or less, Small Child – 30-50 pounds and Youth – 50 to 90 pounds.
- Be sure to fully zip-up all zippers and connect every buckle and strap. Younger children may have an extra strap in place to go between the legs to prevent the jacket from sliding off, be sure this is secured as well.
- Tighten all buckles and straps for a snug fit. Remember this rhyme as a guide, “A life jacket should feel like a warm hug by being comfortably snug and hard to tug.”
- To check if the life jacket is too large for your child, place two fingers under the shoulder straps and lift straight up. If the jacket comes up to the child’s ears it is too large. Another test is to have your child lift their arms straight up to check if the jacket comes up and around their face or the arm holes are too wide.
- All life jackets should be replaced when the color of the inside label begins to fade or the child has outgrown that size.
Click here for a downloadable guide for choosing the correct children's life jacket: STF_ChooseCorrectJacket_infograph
Once you think you have found the perfect match, have your child practice wearing the life jacket in shallow water with constant adult supervision. This will help your little one become more comfortable wearing the life jacket. Just like using a seatbelt, life jackets only work if you wear them.
Now that the children are properly fitted, show off your life jacket to co-workers on Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day on Friday, May 19. Send us your pictures of you sporting yours and we’ll share it on our Facebook page.