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How to fit your child for a life jacket

A life jacket is a crucial piece to water safety. Here’s some tips on how to fit your child for one.

With temperatures rising, a lot of Pacific Northwesterners will be heading to the water to cool off. But the water temperatures are still dangerously cold, and life jackets are a good idea for kids, even when they’re just wading. 

How can parents make sure their kids’ life jackets really fit?  U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary member Kent Brown offered the essential information on life jackets.

First make sure any life jacket you buy has “U.S. Coast Guard Approved” printed on the jacket. With increased online buying from sellers around the world, you need to see that seal to make sure your child’s life jacket really floats and is well designed for safety.

For a good fit (and to make sure your kids like and will wear a life jacket) bring your child to the store and let them help make the choice. Kids who like their life jackets and find them comfortable are much more likely to wear them.

They’re also more willing when their parents set a good example by wearing a life jacket too. 

RELATED: Know the risks on the water this boating season

The inside back of the life jacket should clearly state the weight range in a child’s life jacket. There are even infant sizes available.

Have them try on the life jacket. Fully zip or buckle the jacket, and tighten any belts until the jacket is snug but still comfortable. Have kids raise their arms. If you see a large gap between their shoulders and the life jacket, double check that you have the right size.  A properly fitting life jacket is your child’s best chance at survival in the water.