As Part Of National Safe Kids Week, U.S. Coast Guard Reminds Parents To Make Their Kids Wear Life Jackets

WASHINGTON – The U. S. Coast Guard reminds parents that their children should always wear a life jacket while boating.

“National SAFE KIDS Week is a perfect time to remember the importance of life jackets,” said the Coast Guard’s Director of Operations Policy, Rear Admiral J.W. Underwood. “It is the parent’s responsibility to keep their children safe when on the water and insisting on wearing life jackets is one of the best ways to do that. “Just like you make your kids wear bike helmets, make them wear life jackets.”

Many adults believe themselves capable of diving into the water to rescue a child who falls overboard. This is a dangerous misconception. Adults may not notice a child falling overboard right away. Children who fall in may not surface immediately. It can be difficult to locate a child in the water—especially when the vessel is in motion.

Life jackets could prevent approximately two-thirds of all boating-related drowning of children ages 14 and under. In fact, in most states, children under 13 must wear life jackets. It’s the law.
According to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign, drowning remains second only to motor vehicle accidents as the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children ages 1 to 14. Furthermore, children are much more likely to practice safe habits when they experience similar behavior by parents and caregivers. “We have done research that indicates children whose parents wear life jackets around water are more likely to wear one themselves,” says Jen Medearis Costello, program manager at the National SAFE KIDS Campaign. “Therefore we recommend that parents not only actively supervise their children around water, but also demonstrate safe behavior—including wearing life jackets.”

The Coast Guard and National SAFE KIDS Campaign strongly recommend adults always wear life jackets as well – not only to keep themselves safe, but to demonstrate safe behavior for their children.

National SAFE KIDS Week starts on April 30 and runs through May 7.

The U.S. Coast Guard is asking all boat owners and operators to help reduce fatalities, injuries, property damage, and healthcare costs related to recreational boating accidents by taking personal responsibility for their own safety and the safety of their passengers. Essential steps include always wearing a life jacket and requiring passengers to do the same; never boating under the influence; completing a boating safety course; and getting a free vessel safety check annually from local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or United States Power Squadrons vessel examiners.

The U.S. Coast Guard reminds all boaters, “You’re in Command. Boat Responsibly!”

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