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Life Jackets

Life Jackets

Life Jackets When Appropriate

U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) tested and approved life jackets should be worn by everyone, when in or around open/natural bodies of water, and when boating. Life jackets should be sized appropriately for the wearer.  When other layers of protection may break down, life jackets can help prevent unintentional drowning.

Layers of Protection - When to use Life Jacket

When to Use a Life Jacket

Always wear a US Coast Guard (USCG) life jacket in or around natural bodies of water and when boating. Because supervision can never be perfect, life jackets can also be an important layer of protection for children who lack water competency or when other layers of protection are not in place. Caregivers should not overly use flotation devices in swimming pools and never use as a replacement for practicing touch-supervision or gaining water competency. There is no evidence that life jackets alone can teach a child to swim. A life jacket is only effective if worn BEFORE someone enters the water. Never replace or substitute arm bands, inner tubes, or other inflatable water toys for tested and approved life jackets.

Layers of Protection - Approved vs Not Approved

Approved vs. Not Approved

If a flotation device is used as a layer of protection, it should be a USCG approved flotation device that is tested and meets accepted industry standards. Many flotation devices available from retailers for young children don’t include information about being USCG tested and approved. Not all devices sold by retailers are tested and approved flotation devices. Devices that are not tested and approved cannot be considered a safe layer of protection and should not be part of a family’s water safety plan. While some swim lesson programs utilize flotation devices as a tool in formal lessons, there is no evidence a child will learn to swim independently or gain water competency skills by only using a flotation device.

Know the 5 Layers of Protection

Prevent the tragedy of drowning by implementing the 5 layers of protection.

Barriers & Alarms

BARRIERS & ALARMS — It's important to use four-sided fencing with self-closing, self-latching gates, pool safety covers, and alarm systems, to help prevent children and unauthorized adults from accessing water unsupervised.

Learn More About Barriers & Alarms

SUPERVISION — Stay vigilant and aware of your surroundings with close, constant, and capable adult supervision from a designated water watcher or lifeguard anytime children are in or around water.

Learn More About Supervision
Water Competency

WATER COMPETENCY — Every child and adult should be equipped with the skills to protect themselves in water by learning and enhancing their basic water safety skills to reduce the risk of drowning and aquatic-related injuries.

Learn More About Water Competency
Life Jackets

LIFE JACKETS — When used appropriately, life jackets protect you when you are not expecting to be in the water, especially around open water. Ensure your life jackets are tested & approved by the USCG.

Learn More About Life Jackets
Emergency Preparation

EMERGENCY PREPARATION — Knowing how to prepare for an emergency with CPR training with rescue breaths and basic water rescue skills can make the difference between life and death. Have a phone available and ready to call 911.

Learn More About Emergency Prep.
Layers Work Together

LAYERS OF PROTECTION — Water safety isn’t just during swim time. Each layer should be used together when in or around water to help reduce the risk of drowning. You never know which layer will save a life.

Learn More About Layers