Tips finding the perfect lifejacket for your child

Published: Jul. 16, 2021 at 5:53 AM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - It’s always important to practice safety around any body of water, especially when out boating, and the most important thing you can do is wear a life jacket.

KSLA’s Adria Goins spoke with Lt. Billy Jones with the Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office marine patrol, and he demonstrated which lifejackets are best for every boater.

For kids, it’s all about fit.

“Well there’s a couple of options. For infants, and it’s just like shopping at any clothing store, I mean, the lifejackets will be on a rack and it will show you. I mean, this is an infant lifejacket and it says less than 30 lbs, so a lot of mistakes that are made on the water, people have good intentions and they’ll have lifejackets, but they just don’t fit everybody that’s on board,” Lt. Jones said. “If there was an accident and this child was thrown out of the boat, it [lifejacket] would hold him for a really long time without any problems.”

The lieutenant says lifejackets can save lives even when the person is somehow knocked unconscious.

“Most of these life jackets are designed, if the victim was thrown out and say knocked unconscious, it will roll them over on their back so where they can breathe,” he said.

Lt. Jones says some lifejackets are better than others, of course.

“This is more of a generic, baseline youth lifejacket. It’s less expensive, but it does meet qualifications and it will work if you don’t have anything else this works fine. This is what you call an inflatable lifejacket. The nice thing about the inflatable is it’s a lot lighter. It’s not hot. You can wear it all day. Once you get in the boat, you can keep it on. It’s comfortable. The drawback to some of them is if you were to get thrown out of the boat and knocked unconscious, you have to pull this cord, so if you were knocked unconscious, it doesn’t do you much good,” he said. “We have what we wear and it’s an inflatable also, but when it comes in contact with water, it expands on its own.”

The issue though, is that many people don’t want to wear lifejackets, even when they’re available, because they can be bulky, uncomfortable, and/or hot.

“The reason why I think these [inflatable lifejackets] are interesting is because I think a lot of people don’t want to put on life jackets because of the way they look or how bulky they are. This is a good solution to that. Average adult would fit in something like this and this is your most common. Most people buy these. They store really easy. They’re a lot less expensive than the inflatables,” said Lt. Jones.

Many states have laws requiring that people under a certain age wear lifejackets while out on the water.

“Well you are required to have a lifejacket and you do have to have one that fits you, so if you’re a child and you’re listening to this, make sure you go with someone that has a lifejacket that fits you,” Lt. Jones said.

Lt. Jones also says it’s important to let people know where you are on the water, when you go out, check the weather first, and most importantly, don’t drink while you’re on the water.

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