The Swimming Pool and Spa Program recommends the use of proper-fitting, Coast Guard-approved flotation devices (lifejackets) whenever a young child is in or near water and for all children that are in the water but have not yet learned to swim. While a lifejacket cannot substitute for proper supervision, a lifejacket can help bridge momentary lapses in supervision that inevitable can occur with even the most conscientious parents or caregivers.
Check the weight and size recommendations on the label, then have your child try it on to make sure it fits snugly. For kids younger than 5 years old, choose a vest with a strap between the legs and head support - the collar will keep the child's head up and face out of the water.
Lifejacket Safety Tips
- Teach children how to put their life jackets on.
- Make sure all straps are belted and in the right buckle.
- Loose straps should be tucked securely.
- Life jackets should fit snugly and not ride up the individual’s torso.
- For children, put the jacket and then lift them up by the top of the jacket. The jacket should not ride up over the chin and ears. If it does, try the smaller size. If you can’t drop a size, due to a weight restriction, find a jacket that has a crotch strap.
- Make sure life jackets are not torn or leaking.
- Always dry life jackets before storing.