TUCSON – So far this swim season Pima County’s recorded 10-water incidents involving children. Three of those kids drowned so there’s no substitute for the ABC’s of swim safety.
There is however another layer of protection that first responders want you to know about.
Life vests can be another layer of protection in open water and the pool. They are not a guaranteed lifesaver but a good tool.
After all, we make our kids wear helmets when they ride their bikes.
“We make sure that when we will be going for a ride in a car, that they’re buckled up in their car seat or booster seat,” say Tracy Koslowski with Safe Kids Tucson.
Life jackets are required for kids 12 and under in open water. That’s the law.
Ed Huntsman runs the Boating Education Program with Arizona Game and Fish. He says, you need to get the right jacket for the person who will wear it.
“What you need to know about any life jacket is that it’s approved by the United States Coast Guard. When you’re shopping or looking, if you open up the life jacket, they all have a label inside that will tell you everything need to know about that life jacket.”
He says, it’s critical to follow the instructions. If a vest is too small for the child’s weight it will not hold him up. If it’s too big, it can slip off or entangle the child. And all the buckles need to be snapped.
“Because what happens is little Johnny or Suzie go in the water, the life jacket pops off because it’s going to float, they go down to the bottom especially if they aspirate any water. Game over!”
For information about open water safety and life vests visit the Az. Game and Fish website by clicking here.