Water safety tips for you and your child
One piece of equipment that can make a day on the water a happy memory rather than a tragedy is a personal flotation device.
Here are few a tips adults need to know about personal flotation devices for children:
•It is required by Louisiana law that any child 12 years old or younger wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation device that is properly sized and fitted and is in good serviceable condition while a vessel is underway. It is highly recommended that children wear PFD’s at all times when on boats or near bodies of water.
• For a PFD to work properly, it must fit snugly on a child. A good way to check for a good fit is to pick the child up by the shoulders of the PFD.
A properly fitted PFD will not allow the child’s chin and ears to slip through the PFD. Remember to fasten all straps, zippers and ties.
•PFD’s with a safety strap that fastens between the legs can prevent the device from slipping over the child’s head and are highly recommended.
•Test a child’s PFD in the water immediately after purchase. Teach the child to relax in the water while wearing the PFD. A struggling child makes it hard to float safely in a PFD.
The struggling child may not stay face up even with a properly fitted PFD.
•Remember that no one can watch a child every second. A child can drown in minutes with adults around. Wearing a PFD can prevent such a tragedy and make water sports memorable and enjoyable.
For more information on personal flotation devices or recreational boating, visit the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Web site: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating/regulations/requiredequipment
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