While summer is winding down, there is still plenty of time to get out there on (or near) the water. This summer in particular, I noticed way too many kids not wearing life jackets in potentially dangerous situations. I approached my fellow outdoor bloggers for some advice on how to get reluctant kids to stay safe by wearing a PFD (Personal Flotation Device) and add in my own tips too, of course.
Also, just because you are an expert swimmer (which I consider myself to be and definitely stretched this as a teenager), doesn’t mean you are immune from water hazards. Cold water, cramps, and other unforeseen dangers can affect the very best of us.
- Require children to wear a life jacket every.single.time they are on or near the water. Yes, I know, way easier said than done, but less of a battle in the long run. Ken from Big Grey Rocks suggests helping them getting used to it while wearing it at a local pool (if they allow it – not all pools will.)
- Start at a young age. P had a terrible time moving around in a life jacket on the river beaches last year (at a year and a half) but we made sure he did it anyway (though felt bad for him!) We figured the life lesson far outweighed his temporary discomfort (though he just dealt with it anyway.)
- Choose a life jacket they think is “cool”. The SwimWays SeaSquirts one (full review below) has a soft fin on the back for encouraging children to wear it while maintaing the same safety standards as other life jackets.
- Wear a lifejacket yourself. Can’t stress this one enough. Same goes for helmets (which, if you are a regular reader, you know I talk about that ALL the time on here.) Monkey see, monkey do (not that our kids are necessarily monkeys…)
- Nancy from the blog Family on Bikes suggests talking to a respected someone with lots of knowledge (in this case a professional sailor, kayaker, or anyone else that wears a life jacket for their “cool” job every single time.) Erica of CragMama also adds that if you don’t know anyone that fits in that category (we don’t..) that you maybe watch some videos of professionals doing their thing, and point out that they are wearing life jackets.
- Invest in a quality life jacket. The cheap ones are uncomfortably and itchy. No fun for any kids (or adults) to wear. Avoid any rubbing or rashes by wearing a sun/rash shirt. Makes a huge difference.
- Kate of Wild Tales Of… suggests having them wear it around just like a normal piece of clothing: “before our lake trip where we knew he’d need the jacket a lot since boating was involved, we practiced a lot in the backyard. He would just wear it around while playing, which I think helped him get used to the feel.”
- “Let your kids know they don’t call the shots, something that starts in the home. If our kids are fighting us on something like life jackets, they lose the privilege of swimming or the boat ride.” – Alyssa of The Kid Project
- TALK to them about WHY they are wearing the lifejacket (potential dangers, etc. even for the best swimmers out there.)
SwimWays Sea Squirts PFD
This summer we were given a chance to check out this new lifejacket from SwimWays. Quite honestly, I was a bit turned off by any life jackets that had “fins” on them. I thought it was silly and took away from the safety of the jacket. Totally illogical thinking, I know, but what was going through my head. However, quite on the contrary, we found the Sea Squirts PFD to be Coast Guard-approved, safe and is easily the jacket J wants to wear (because of that FIN!)
My biggest (and only) complaint? There is no “pillow” that keeps little heads (and airways) out of the water. While J is definitely old enough that most PFDs don’t come with them in his size, I still think they are a good safety measure, especially for kids that are not swimmers yet.
The vests come in sizes Small, Medium and Large and fit chests 20-29″ and kids that weigh 30-50 pounds. They retail for $60, but can be found on Amazon for as low as $33 (depending on color and sizes.)
A few facts about the PFDs straight from SwimWays:
· US Coast Guard Certified Type III Personal Flotation Device.
· Buoyancy Technology allows for successful balance of a child’s center of gravity, giving them greater control and stability when swimming.
· Quality neoprene outer cover and inner fabric liner for extreme comfort.
· Heavy-duty zipper.
· Cute flexible fins are appealing to kids and they naturally fold flat so they can sit comfortably in a boat or chair.
The Swim Squirts also comes in pink for all the girls out there and some neutral patterns.
You have a chance to win a Swim Squirt PFD for your child! Winners will be asked gender preference and sizes (based on availability.)
As usual, please use the Rafflecopter Widget below (or follow the link if you don’t see the widget) to enter to win. The winner will be emailed and announced on this post in the Rafflecopter Widget. Have questions? Please don’t hesitate to contact me at mountainmamatales(at)gmail(dot)com so I can help! Sorry, this giveaway is open to the CONTINENTAL U.S. only (Alaska and Hawaii – I totally do not make up these rules – so sorry!).
SwimWays generously provided us this gear in order to facilitate this review. However, as always, the opinions expressed here are completely and honestly our own. Additionally, a few of these links are affiliates. Thank you so much for clicking through them to make your purchases – it helps offset the cost of this blog in a (VERY VERY) small way!
You can find my full disclosure here.
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