Getting Kids to Wear their Life Jackets

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.  

If our kids are fighting us on something like life jackets, they lose the privilege of swimming or the boat ride.

Yes, I know, way easier said than done, but less of a battle in the long run.  We suggest 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 and make it standard

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.)

Make Wearing a Life Jacket “Cool” 

Take your kids to talk 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.) 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.

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…)

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.

TALK to them about the WHY

It’s important to point out the potential dangers, review again that even expert swimmers wear them and sometimes it’s not about us, but about the other dangers out there.

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1 thought on “Getting Kids to Wear their Life Jackets”

  1. I have to agree that I like the collar on my son’s life jacket but these do look like “cool” lifejackets. It’s also important to make sure it fits properly for the activity. We’re kayakers and the first life jacket we had in his current size was too high in the chest and was very uncomfortable around his neck when sitting. We found one that was cut lower that proved to be way more comfortable.

    For our son, life jackets are simply in the “safety” set of rules. These are the rules he knows are non-negotiable and not flexible because we want him to be safe. These are the rules that if he breaks, the adventure ends. He’ll push the other “rules” (bedtime, chores 😉 ) but he’s gotten to know that we won’t budge if we say it’s a safety rule and he’s great about those.

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