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Old 05-09-2008
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Inflatable life vest for big kids??

Does anyone know if inflatable life vests legal for kids under 16? I haven't been able to find any definitive information as to whether there are any inflatable life vests that are USCG approved for kids under 16.

My daughters, 11 & 12 years old, have been begging for inflatable life vests to replace the vest style life jackets they've been wearing. They understand that the law requires life jackets when we're underway, so that's not a problem. The issue is that they see that they're required to wear something that's bulky and hot while on deck when there are less obtrusive options. It's sad that they sometimes would rather hang below than put on the life jacket.

The information I've seen, when ages are included, says, "USCG approved for persons at least 16 years of age weighing 80 lbs. and above" for the inflatable vests. For example, Auto Hydrostatic Inflatable PFD Some versions do not include an age, but the "at least 16" on some makes me wonder if there's a regulation against using them for kids under 16. My daughters are 5'2" and 5'3" (until next week when they grow again) and both weigh significantly more than 80 pounds. Think of petite women, not kids.

Can anyone point me to better information? Or send me a link to an inflatable vest that's approved for adult-sized kids?

(Those of you who are from other countries and do not have the various US state and federal regulations to contend with may be thankful.)
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