While there is a number of things you can do to entertain your kids during summer, water activities are probably their favourite. Water wings and inner tubes look like instant fun, but can they really keep your children safe? According to experts, no, they can’t. They say that kids should always wear kids life jackets when they’re in or around water, riding on boats or walking on docks. And even if your child can swim, their ability won’t protect them in all situations – it’s important to consider the water conditions and the quality of supervision.
What Is the Use of Life Jacket?
A life jacket is an instrument designed to keep children and adults afloat in water. It will automatically turn your child into a face-up position, keeping their mouth and nostrils clear of the water to prevent drowning. This is particularly important if, for any reason, your child is unconscious when they fall into the water.
However, in order to fully protect your child in all water conditions, you need to make sure you buy the best kids life jackets. These pieces can be heavy and inconvenient if they’re not in the right size for your child. Plus, your child may not want to wear them if they’re uncomfortable. Here are some tips on what to look for to ensure you get the proper fit for your little ones so they can enjoy a fun and safe day at the pool, beach or lake.
Make Sure the Life Vest Meets Safety Standards
You can save money on swimwear for kids, but when it comes to life jackets, you should invest in high quality pieces. To ensure that, the life jacket should meet safety regulations. Keep in mind that water wings, noodles and inflatable rings are not considered standard water safety gear and should not replace a life jacket.
Get All the Right Features
There is a truly diverse range of kids life jackets on the market, so it’s important that the one you buy has the features necessary to save lives. Check to ensure that the life jacket you purchase has:
- A wide collar (to support your child’s head);
- A looped grab strap on the collar (for easy grabbing);
- Functioning, durable, rust-proof buckles and zippers;
- Waist-tie with snug-fitting drawstrings or elastic on the front and back;
- A safety strap that fastens between your child’s legs (to keep the jacket in place);
- Reflective tape (to increase visibility);
- A plastic whistle (for emergencies).
Choose the Right Size
It’s important to understand that not just any life jacket will do. Choosing the right size ensures that the gear can do its job and keep your child safe. If the vest is too big for your child, it can ride up around their face; if it’s too small, it may not be able to keep your child afloat in the case of an accident. Note that adult life jackets should never be used for children.
When it comes to finding the right fit, every kids water vest comes with a manufacturing label that indicates the weight and size it’s designed for – pay attention to that. Then, try the jacket on your kid and make sure it is properly fastened and cinched to ensure a snug fit. With your little one holding their arms straight up over their head, grasp the top of the arm opening and gently pull up. If the jacket moves up over your child’s chin or face and if there is excess room above the armholes, then it is probably too big for your child.
Go for Bright Colours
When it comes to children life vests and colour, the brighter the better. Vivid colours like yellow and orange ensure that your little munchkin will be clearly visible in and around water.
Do Life Jackets Have Expiration Dates?
There is no expiration date for life jackets. However, they should not be used if they have been repaired or altered. In this case, they should be replaced and discarded for recycling.
With constant wear and tear, the material of the life jacket will get damaged and will eventually lose its buoyancy. This can severely reduce its performance and protection. In order to maintain your life jacket in optimal condition, keep it in a dry and cool place and use it for its designated purpose.
Can Life Jackets Be Washed in the Washing Machine?
One of the best ways to keep your life jackets in good condition and prevent the build-up of oils from the skin and sunblock is washing them from time to time. However, washing shouldn’t be done in the machine. Instead, lay a tarp on the ground and fill a bucket with cool water and a bit of liquid detergent. Place the life jacket with all straps and hardware unfastened on the tarp, and scrub all surfaces of the jacket using the detergent solutions and a soft brush. Rinse the jacket well using a hose or plenty of clean water. Hang the jacket to drip dry, preferably keeping it away from direct sunlight.