• Parenting
  • Safety

How to choose the right life jacket

  • Posted

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 face. If it's too small, it won't keep the person afloat.


  1. Check the manufacturer’s label to make sure the life jacket is designed for your child’s height and weight.
  2. 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.
  3. Have your child hold his/her arms straight up.
  4. Grasp the top of the arm openings and pull up.
  5. Make sure there is no excess room above the openings.
  6. Try the jacket out in shallow waters. 
For more water safety/boating safety information, contact:
Drowning Prevention Coalition of Palm Beach County
Safe Kids Palm Beach County


U.S. Coast Guard

Back to listing

For a listing of all resources, click here.
Additional Resources
You May Also Enjoy
  • Now's the perfect time to teach your child to swim!

    Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death for children between 1 and 4 years old. Sadly, Florida traditionally leads the country in drowning deaths for that age group. These local organizations can help you find free or low-cost swim lessons.

  • Open water poses different dangers to kids

    From oceans to man-made lakes, open water is everywhere in South Florida. Here are some tips to keep you kids safe around bodies of water.

  • BLOG: Get wet at county parks and beaches

    One of the best parts of living in Palm Beach County is enjoying all the glorious water around us – especially when the weather is sweltering! Palm Beach County’s Parks & Recreation Department boasts six public pools and aquatic centers, two water parks and access to 16 beach parks from Boca Raton to Tequesta.