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Parents Don't Let Kids Go Without A USCG Childs' Life Vest

Updated on April 6, 2009

Drowning Is The Second Leading Cause Of Death In Children

The statistics don't lie. Next to automobile accidents, drowning is the second leading cause of death of children. Most of these drownings occur in backyard swimming pools and bathtubs, however another 26% occur in lakes, rivers, reservoirs and oceans.

According to the CDC (Center For Disease Control), "More than one in four fatal drowning victims are children 14 and younger.1 For every child who dies from drowning, another four received emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries."

So "How Big Is The Problem And Who Is Most At Risk? You can view the full article here on the CDC website and you may be surprised at who is most at risk and why. One of the interesting statistics quoted by the CDC was that 9 out of 10 of those who drowned in boating incidents (and freshwater incidents), were not wearing life jackets. Almost unbelievable when you think about it.

The water is a much much stronger force and opponent than our children. It can take your child and "pin them to the mat" in a matter of seconds! No matter how strong, or how good of a swimmer your child may be, under the wrong circumstances the water will always be the victor.

Parents Don't Let Kids.......?????

We've all heard the term "friends don't let friends drive drunk". Same thing applies to parents who take their kids boating or camping. "Parent's Don't Let Kids Go Without USCG Approved Childrens' Life Vests".

USCG (United States Coast Guard) has set rules, guidelines and regulations for boating and personal flotation devices for adults and children. You can view all of the federal regulations for USCG approved personal flotation devices here.

Boating and lakefront camping are two extremely fun family activities in the summer. There is nothing like spending family time together on the water, but parents need to be keen to all the necessary precautions they must take when planning these summertime trips with their children. One of the most important items to pack in the car or camper is the proper childrens' personal flotation devices.

Infants' Life Vest (0-30 lbs)

Infants' Neoprene Life Vest and Infant's Personal Flotation Device (0-30 lbs.) Head & neck rest, crotch strap, pull ring on back of vest
Infants' Neoprene Life Vest and Infant's Personal Flotation Device (0-30 lbs.) Head & neck rest, crotch strap, pull ring on back of vest

Child's Life Vest (30-50 lbs.)

Child's USCG Approved Life Vest for 30-50 lbs.
Child's USCG Approved Life Vest for 30-50 lbs.

What To Look For In A Childs' Life Vest

The message is the same no matter where you look, "Always wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved personal safety device around oceans, rivers, lakes or when participating in any water sports".

So what should we are parents look for in a childs' life vest and childrens' personal flotation devices?

  1. Always always always make sure that the label inside the childs' life jacket reads that "this jacket is approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. Do not invest in a child's personal flotation device that does not have the USCG approval.
  2. An Infants' life vest (infant personal flotation device) should always have a hook on the back of the vest which makes it easy for an adult to quickly pull the child out of the water. It should also have a safety belt or strap in the crotch of the device to hold the child up and a head an neck rest on the back of the vest to prevent the child's head from falling forward into the water. The vest shown above illustrates all of these requirements for an infants' life vest (the head rest is not visible in this photo however it is attached on the back of the infants' life vest).
  3. The fit and size of the life vest should be weight appropriate. The vest should not be too large or too small. If the life jacket is too large your child can easily slip out. A good test of size is when your child raises their arms above their heads (if they're old enough to do so), the top of the jacket should not go above their ears. If the jacket is too small, the child will feel restricted and uncomfortable in the device (which is a problem in avoid purchasing a PFD which is too small). Reputable dealers with USCG approved vests will have the appropriate weights on the vest. Above you can see the difference in size and fit between the infant life vest (for 0-30 lbs) and a child's life vest for 30-50 lbs. You can visibly see the difference in fit and style of the vest.
  4. The colors of the childs' life jacket should be bright and highly visible. Bright colors assist in water rescue and are also visible to other boaters in the water, which is extremely important.

Neoprene Youth Life Vest And Adult Life Jacket

Neoprene USCG Approved Youth Life Vest (also adult personal flotation device)
Neoprene USCG Approved Youth Life Vest (also adult personal flotation device)

Materials And Fabrics To Consider In A Childs' Life Vest

You really don't need to get too fancy and spend too much money in a childs' life vest as long as it holds the USCG (United States Coast Guard) approval.  However, there are some considerations you may want to know about as far as the differences between nylon fabrics and neoprene fabrics (which are the 2 most popular fabrics for childrens' life vests). 

When it comes to the safety of your child, there is no difference between the nylon and the neoprene personal floatation devices (pfd).  The differences really life in the comfort, warmth, cost, and potentially the life of the vest. 

Nylon vests tend to be less expensive than neoprene life vests.  The nylon tends to fade quicker than neoprene too.  However, as we stated...if it's a matter of financial investment nylon is no less safe than neoprene.

Neoprene fabric life vests are softer and therefore less scratchy and more comfortable.  They also are more resistant to sun fading.  Again, they are no more safe than a nylon childs' life vest.  Above is an example of a neoprene youth life vest that is YES visible colors according to the Rangers and USCG, but just has a different look and feel than the nylon childs' life vests. 

Oh...and one more thing.  Adults should also be wearing life vests and personal flotation devices when boating!  That['s speaking from personal experience as boaters and parents. The life vest shown above is also available in adult sizes. 

How A Childs' Life Vest And Infant Life Jacket Should Fit

Have A Fun Safe Summer And Enjoy The Water!

No doubt about it, summer provides us with tons of fun things we can do together as a family. You're creating great memories with your children when you take them boating and camping. Just keep those memories alive for years and years and years to come by keeping your children safe with the proper and approved personal flotation devices.

You Can Get More Information On The Best Childrens' Life Vests And Youth Life Jackets Here


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