Have your child wear a lifejacket whenever boating or swimming in deep water. Young children should have a lifejacket that is labeled “coast guard approved.” Water wings, floaties, inner tubes, Styrofoam noodles and the like are considered toys and do not offer proper protection against drowning. In selecting a lifejacket for your child, you should. . .

A) Check the fit of a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) by gently pulling up on the lifejacket’s shoulders. A properly fitting lifejacket should prevent a child’s chin and ears from slipping through the neck holes.

B) Test it out first under safe conditions. Lifejackets don’t always work the same for each child, depending on how they are made. Especially when it comes to small kids, some may actually just tip the child over so they lie face down in the water. Always test a personal flotation device first so you can see how well it works for your child.

C) Inspect your child’s PFD for wear or damage. They can wear out just like clothing, and children may outgrow them. So check the fit every time your child puts it on.