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Chicago Personal Injury Blog

Child Life Jacket Safety

by Jared Staver in Product Liability

Swimming is a fun and popular summer pastime. For smaller children, parents often help ensure their safety through the use of a life jacket. However, it is essential to understand how to use a life jacket safely and to choose one that is appropriate for your child.

If you or a loved one were injured due to a defective life jacket or while swimming due to someone else’s negligence, contact a skilled Chicago product liability attorney at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. Our lawyers work with those who have suffered due to a malfunctioning product. You should not have to suffer for something that was not your fault. Call us today at (312) 236-2900 for a free consultation regarding your case.

Choose a USCG Approved Life Jacket

Make sure any life jacket you select is U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) approved. The USCG has standards that approved life jackets must meet to be considered safe for use by adults or children. It’s especially important to make sure your child is using a personal flotation device (PFD) that has been certified safe.

Make Sure the Life Jacket is the Right Size

Your child’s life jacket should be the appropriate size for their height and weight. Every life jacket is rated for a minimum and maximum size, so it is important to measure your child before selecting one. While some life jackets are flexible and can stretch, they may not maintain their safety in swimming conditions. Instead, know your child’s height and weight before selecting a PFD of appropriate size.

Select a Brightly Colored Life Jacket

Life jackets come in many colors, but it’s often best to choose one that is brightly colored. While your child is swimming, it can be difficult to see them amongst other swimmers or with waves splashing. If your child’s life jacket is bright, then you can easily spot them in the water and ensure they are safe.

Choose a Life Jacket with the Right Features

Life jackets for children have many different features. Some have cartoon characters and others are plain. However, it is most important is that they have the right safety features, including:

  • Support for your child’s head
  • A grab strap attached to the collar in case you need to retrieve your child
  • Durable plastic buckles and zippers
  • Nylon waist and shoulder straps
  • A safety strap that fastens between your child’s legs
  • Reflective tape or a safety whistle attached

Additional Tips for Life Jacket Safety

Selecting the right life jacket is essential, but other safety practices are also instrumental in keeping your child safe in the water. Make sure an adult is watching the children at all times while they are in the water. Even if your child has a life jacket, an adult should be aware of their location and condition. Also, don’t use a PFD as a cushion or toy. Using life jackets for other purposes can cause the flotation material to squish or plastic parts to break.

You should also test your life jacket before going to a potentially dangerous location. If you are planning on going to the lake, test your child’s life jacket in the bathtub at home. Practice putting it on and taking it off, and make sure your child understands the importance of wearing a life jacket while in the water and when on a boat.

Contact a Chicago Product Liability Attorney at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. For Help

If your child is injured due to a defective life jacket, then you may be able to recover under a product liability claim. A skilled Chicago product liability lawyer at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. can walk you through the claim process and help you understand your rights in this challenging situation.

For a free consultation regarding your case, contact us at (312) 236-2900 today.