• Parenting
  • Safety

How to fit your child's life jacket

  • Posted
Man and two young boys in kayak

All water-related recreational vehicles need to have life jackets aboard. When a boat is moving, Florida law requires children younger than 6 years old to wear a life jacket.

Life jackets designed for adults don't work for children. If a jacket is too big, it will ride up around the face. If too small, it won't keep the person afloat.


  1. Check the manufacturer’s label to ensure the jacket is designed for your child’s height and weight.
  2. Fasten the jacket. This may seem obvious, but just slinging it over a shoulder and not fastening it won't help in an emergency.
  3. Ask your child hold his/her arms straight up. Grasp the top of the arm openings and pull up. Ensure there is no excess space in the openings.
  4. 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 — at low cost

    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 and boating poses different dangers than pools

    From oceans to man-made lakes, open water is everywhere in South Florida. Here are some tips to prevent your child from drowning.

  • BLOG: County parks and beaches make big splash with families

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