PFDs for Little kids
- Thanks for the advice, Oldmoore, David and Uwe.
I will be doing some research on the subject over the weekend, so if
I come up with anything unusual, I'll let you all know.
- I took the time to look around for children's PDFs as well. What
appears to be the safest type, particularly for non-swimmers, is what
the coast guard refers to as a life jacket, which has the bulk of the
floatation in the chest area and behind the neck and designed to keep
a person face-up even if unconcious. Both the US and Canadian Coast
Guard appear to be in agreement with this and rightly so.
So far, all the lifejacket styles I've seen are still quite bulky.
So until something new (but approved) comes out, the little guys will
have to remain "bundled up" to stay safe. LOL
As far as PDFs for pets go, I would have liked to have seen them
years ago. Back a lot of decades ago, my fishing partner was a
Corgy, I called Whiskey. The first time I took him out, he was as
good as gold and laid nice and quiet up in the bow seat. But once I
caught my first fish, he got all excited, figuring it was his turn to
get one. With his front feet up on the gunale and peering down into
the water, wagging tail and shivering all over, he kept pushing
farther and farther over the gunale until kerplunk--he was gone.
He really went deep and was a long time coming up, but then I finally
saw some wild eyes and thrashing front paws coming up through the
clear water and eventually he made the surface. As he broke through,
I grabbed him by the collar and pulled him into the boat. He was
pretty subdued for the rest of the outing and he kept giving me those
sideways looks all the way back to the beach.
My first thought just after he went under was that I had lost him and
there is a good possiblity that I could have. Most dogs are adequate
swimmers, but cold water takes away their stanima pretty fast.
I can happen to any of us as well and just as fast. Wear some kind
- There are alot of PFDs out there for both kids and pets -
My son started out in our ski boat when he was only a week old - not
much danger of him bouncing over the side back then - I wore him in
a front pack and straped an extra-large lifejacket over both of us.
But as he got under his own power - we had to make sure his Life
jacket was buckled on securely before we opened the car door at the
river - he loved water, had NO fear, and would have gone straight
off the pier with no qualms whatsover in a busy boating channel!
I like the toddler vest ones with a BIG collar - they have a crotch
strap that keeps them from riding up and the child from slipping out
of the jacket should they land in the water, and the wide collar
keeps their heads up in the water - additionally, most of them have
a strap/ handle on the back of the collar that you can hold onto or
grab if they DO fall overboard. it's also handy for keeping wanna-
be fish like my son, ON the pier! I could always grab that handle
and hold him back!
As he grew, he learned limits, and respect for the water - but he's
always been part fish. As we are very active in scouting, water
rules have ALWAYS been that he MUST wear a PFD on the water, even
though he is a strong swimmer and has more experience in canoes and
boats than most of his troop mates. ANYONE can get klonked by a
passing branch, or hit his head when he falls out of a boat, and he
may not be AWAKE to save himself. The traditional orange - round
the neck vests used at camp may be cheap and they DO work, but they
are hard to paddle in. I have always bought ski-type and fishing
type lifejackets, which are a little thinner - easier to move in,
have more adjustments for size and comfort. In addition, the fishing
ones often have mesh pockets for stuff like sunglasses, compass,
small camera or a whistle.
For older kids - 8-12 - if you can't find a lifejacket that fits
comfortably - look in the catalogues and online for WOMENS
lifejackets - often these are cut a little smaller and more
comfortable in the arm holes. Try on different brands - many are
cut differently - esp have the child SIT & pretend to paddle in the
jacket - to make sure it's not too long and rides up around their
ears and under their arms.
the primary concern for a child is to make sure the jacket will turn
them face up in the water - and some of the ski jackets don';t
guarantee that with children. ( esp those under 10) Their heads are
MUCH heavier in comparison to the rest of their bodies than an
adults - making them top-heavy - thus the need for MORE floatation
bulk around their necks. you have to balance the need for "heads
up" flotation with the kind of use and the amount of supervision.
If they are kids who listen and obey, are fairly responsible, and
you are always going to be one-on-one with the kids, and if they are
experienced with the water, canoes, etc - then you can go with the
ski-vests that allow for more movement. if you can't be one-on-one,
if they only canoe a few times a year with you and aren't going to
get much experience - then go with the most 'heads up' protection
you can find.
Kids are more adaptable than adults - they aren't going to fuss much
over 'comfort' of the PFD's if you are adamant that they MUST waer
them to participate. They are like seat belts in cars - an absolute
must! No PFD, or an improperly worn PFD - and they get beached.
Also, if you don't want to spend a fortune - check out garage sales
in family neighborhoods near lakes and rivers. Kids outgrow these
things fast - and you can pick them up cheap and in great condition!
As for pets - the same thing - I have a golden retriever who thinks
he has gills (he and the kid are soul-mates, water lovers) he's
also an avid swimmer - but even he can get klonked on the head or
stuck in the mud. Another advantage of a pet PFD is that it makes a
handy and safer grab handle for the pet if he's in danger. Even the
BEST trained dog can panic when frightened - and a PFD strap is easy
to grab, supports the pet without strangling it - and you're less
likely to get bitten trying to 'save' your pet!
- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "tristanshuman"
<tlaurat7@h...> wrote lots of good items about PFDs, much of which I
will follow right away. This weekend marks the annual neighborhood
garage sale, and thrift forces me out to look for good-condition PFDs
of the outgrown and suitable varieties. Many thanks, Laura.