It’s no secret that LifeBrite Active is a huge advocate for increased visibility as an added layer of safety. As parents raising children in Central Florida where we’re either in or around water a significant portion of each year, water safety remains a top priority. The sobering truth about water safety is that the failure to take the proper precautions can have catastrophic consequences --the worst of which being fatal drownings.
Most children in the U.S. drown in open water. Open water is a term that includes all natural bodies of water such as lakes, oceans, and rivers, as well as man-made bodies of water including canals, and retention ponds. In 2016, open water drownings accounted for 43 percent of fatal childhood drownings. One major danger of open waters is the use of multiple types of watercrafts. According to the CDC, The U.S. Coast Guard reported 613 boating-related deaths in 2019—79% of these deaths were drowning related, and of those who died from drowning 86% were not wearing a personal flotation device (PFD).
Do I Really Need a PFD?
The age old question, “But do I really have to wear it, Mom?” and the answer is unequivocally “YES!” It doesn’t matter how strong of a swimmer you are, and although laws can be more lenient for adults and older children, a life jacket is still a life preserving tool. If you were to lose consciousness, drift away, or get into a boating accident, a life vest would bring you to the surface and keep you afloat. Each state has different rules and guidelines for the required usage of life vests. We encourage you to educate yourself on the laws and proper use of a correctly fitted coast guard approved life vest prior to engaging in open water activities.
Which Life Jacket is Best for Me?
When choosing which life jacket is best for you or your loved ones it’s important to pay attention to the designated weight range. While each PFD comes in a range of standard sizes such as S, M, L, etc., they are also marked with the acceptable weight range, for example; 35-50 lbs., as well as chest size range. It’s important to choose a life jacket with the appropriate weight range for your child, and continue to update your life vests as needed to accommodate growth and weight fluctuations.
The popular Puddle Jumper style of PFDs are not recommended as they encourage children to develop ineffective swimming posture. However, non-swimmers should always wear a PFD when not in direct contact with a responsible person, and the best life jacket is the one you wear.
We’ve Compiled A List Of Some Of LifeBrite’s Faves
Here are some of the BRITEst options we could find on the market to help you make a visibility conscious decision when purchasing your next PFD.
- Hyperlite Boy's Child Indy Life Jacket
- West Marine Deluxe Kids’ Rapid Dry Life Jacket, Infant Under 30lb.
Liquid Force Fury Child CGA Life Jacket in Black/Green or Black/Orange
While overall childhood drowning rates have declined by nearly 30 percent since 2000, open water drowning deaths have only declined by 13 percent. There are many ways to encourage water safety including but not limited to; enrolling family members in formal swim lessons, never leaving a child or swimmer unattended in any body of water, utilizing personal flotation devices, and emergency preparedness. We encourage all parents and guardians to stay vigilant and to safely #livelifebrite.