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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising and Sailing with Children > Life jackets for kids: rigid or inflatable?
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Cruising and Sailing with Children All things sailing and kids related, from safety to life aboard.


Thread: Life jackets for kids: rigid or inflatable? Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
04-30-2012 07:08 PM
goboatingnow
Re: Life jackets for kids: rigid or inflatable?

my kids wore foam PFDs up to about 4-5. then they were good swimmers. Then we switched them to auto inflatables sized for kids. We wear our auto inflatables nearly always. of course for swimming and that we used a buoyancy aid.
04-30-2012 03:15 PM
CapnBilll
Re: Life jackets for kids: rigid or inflatable?

I'm in Texas, we have 100+ temps starting in the next few weeks and ending in the fall.

My kids always wear at least a waterskiing type PFD, (full torso, slim body contoured, bright colored). Grownups also wear a PFD, (I don't use inflatables).

The youngest get a retaining strap, they are allowed to upgrade when they demonstrate a high level of swimming ability.

Also younger kids are tethered to an adult. I like this better than tethering to a boat. 1. safer 2. they don't feel like a tethered pet. 3. less likely to try to detach themselves. 4. Less likely to be accidently forgotten, when grownups move to galley. 5. that one adult is responsible for child tethered to them, instead of group, ("I though someone else was watching?")

If they get hot? Thats what iced drinks are for....well that and the cockpit shower, or a good dunking.
04-30-2012 10:22 AM
MarshB
Re: Life jackets for kids: rigid or inflatable?

Go for rigid. Children around 4 year old are very playful, inflatable are not suitable at this ages for kids.
09-11-2011 02:37 PM
rikhall
Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
That's right, even the President of the United States was issued a PFD that was NOT USCG APPROVED.
The two Mustang Auto inflates that Linda and I wear are not approved in Canada because we happen to have bought them in the USA.

In addition, in Canada, an inflatable PFD is NOT considered as a PFD unless it is being worn. So, four people on board, four inflatable PFDs on the table in the cockpit - no other PFDs on board, if you get stopped you are liable for about $800.00 in fines.

We wear ours almost all the time, but we also have some cheap "legal" PFDs below to satisfy any overly zealous law enforcement persons. But, I have yet to have a marine law enforcement person ask "Can you take that PFD off and show me where it says "Approved in Canada", please."

All that I have encountered on both sides of the border have been polite, professional and pleasant to deal with.

Rik
09-11-2011 02:27 PM
rikhall
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreamstimer View Post
Don't tell me you all wear rigid jackets. Btw, Pdqaltair aside, do you all wear your lifejackets all the time? Honestly...
!
When our grand kids are on board Linda and I both wear our PFDs any time we are not below decks. All the time. The safety rules that apply to the six year old and eight year old apply to us.

Now, that said, if they are not on board we wear our Mustang inflatables most of the time.

Rik
09-11-2011 01:54 PM
lowcountrylisa We live on the coast of South Carolina and do a lot of sailing and power boating with our three and four year old children. When sailing on hot calm days inshore, we have great luck with the following puddle jumper vest for our four year old.

Amazon.com: Stearns Kids' Puddle Jumper Deluxe Life Jacket: Sports & Outdoors

If the weather is bad or the conditions are rough, we use a rigid mustang vest or a neoprene ski type vest with leg strap and neck support.

Our kids are required to wear life vests whenever on dock or boat no matter the conditions. Every now and then you get some whining, but the rule is "no vest, no go." That pretty much nips it in the bud.

Best advice I can give is to put them in the life vest and let them swim and play. Throw them in the pool and see how both respond. A child going overboard will be scared. You need to make sure the vest works as advertised, that the four year old can right themselves if the vest does not have a neck support, and that the child will not fall out of the vest if it has no leg strap.

Have fun!
07-28-2011 12:58 PM
boltnbrew If it were an auto- inflate, we would be buying a lot of cartridges!
07-28-2011 12:57 PM
boltnbrew Our 12 year old does not have an inflatable yet, but that is ok because we also use hers as a kayak paddle jacket.
03-29-2011 10:37 AM
JohnRPollard
Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
..

More of an issue that kids sometimes play rough--and wouldn't be aware of puncturing a PFD.
That's definitely a consideration and, again, an argument for the fail-safe foam pfd for kids.

As far as USCG approval goes, the issue is not so much whether the pfd is effective or not, but more to do with compliance. Most states (and, where the state does not, the USCG) require children younger than a certain age to wear a USCG certified pfd while underway.

Obviously not a primary consideration for folks operating outside of U.S. jurisdiction, although the Canadian regs seem to mirror very closely the U.S.
03-29-2011 09:29 AM
hellosailor USCG approval is all well and good--but it is not always relevant. When I bought my PFD there was no such thing as USCG approval for inflateable PFDs, at all, for anyone. There were (and are) other approvals overseas and I continue to wear one that has gotten excellent tests and reviews in water--but has never been submitted for US approval at all.

If you've ever seen video taken of a US president in trnasit on one of the "Marine One" helicopters? Even back in the 80's, they were wearing inflateable PFDs. That's right, even the President of the United States was issued a PFD that was NOT USCG APPROVED. Because the USCG sadly lagged behind the times, and wasn't accepting the good stuff at all.

Nice if it is approved, not necessarily meaningful if it isn't.

More of an issue that kids sometimes play rough--and wouldn't be aware of puncturing a PFD.
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