All water-related recreational vehicles need to have life jackets aboard. When a boat is moving, Florida law requires children younger than 6 to wear a life jacket.
Life jackets designed for adults do not work for children. If the life jacket is too big, it will ride up around the wearer’s face. If it's too small, it won't keep the person afloat.
The U.S. Coast Guard recommends following these steps so your child's life jacket fits safely:
- Check the manufacturer’s label to make sure the life jacket is designed for your child’s height and weight.
- Fasten the jacket. This may seem obvious, but just having your child sling it over his shoulder and not fasten it won't help in an emergency.
- Have your child hold his/her arms straight up.
- Grasp the top of the arm openings and pull up.
- Make sure there is no excess room above the openings.
- Try the jacket out in shallow waters.
Drowning Prevention Coalition of Palm Beach County
Safe Kids Palm Beach County
• U.S. Coast Guard