Personal Injury

The Importance of Wearing a Life Jacket

You’ve probably heard it all your life: “Wear your life jacket, wear your life jacket.” And you undoubtedly did as a child any time you and your family were swimming or boating in a lake or the ocean or canoeing, kayaking or paddle boarding in a river or lake. Your parents insisted on it. But have you continued the practice as an adult? You should.

A Life Jacket Can Save Your Life

The importance of wearing a life jacket any time you and your family are near, on, or in water cannot be overstated. Life jackets are designed to save lives, but they can’t do so if people don’t wear them. 

Sobering US drowning statistics include the following:

  • An average of 3,500-4,000 people drowns each year, translating to about ten each day.
  • For every drowning death, another 5-10 people must undergo hospital treatment for near-drowning accidents.
  • Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1-4.
  • Drowning is the second leading cause of death for children under the age of 15.
  • Nearly one-quarter, 23% to be exact, of child drownings, happen during a family gathering near a pool.
  • Drowning is the cause of death for most boating fatalities.
  • Drowning can happen in as little as 20 seconds for a child and 40 seconds for an adult.
  • As little as one-half cup of water in the lungs can cause drowning.

The Right Life Jacket For You

Life jackets come in the following three basic types:

  1. Inherently buoyant: made chiefly of foam
  2. Inflatable: require blowing up before becoming usable
  3. Hybrid: a combination of the above two

Life jackets also come in four basic sizes: adult, youth, child, and infant.

When buying a life jacket, make sure you choose one with a label saying it’s US Coast Guard-approved. Then try it on. It should fit comfortably but snugly. Test the fit by fastening and securing all its straps and then raising your arms above your head. The life jacket should stay in place and not ride up. Finally, ask someone to lift the jacket at your shoulders. It should never rise above your ears. This procedure should be followed with every individual, child or adult, buying a life jacket.

Know Your Swimming Limits

Not all swimmers are created equal. You need to be well aware of your own swimming abilities and those of your children. Also, keep in mind that swimming in a pool is considerably different than swimming in an open body of water. For one thing, the water in a lake, river, or ocean likely will be colder than in pool water. In addition, the footing probably will be less stable, containing rocks, pebbles, and possibly sudden unseen drop-offs that can put someone in over their head in an instant. The other important thing to remember is that there may be a strong current or undertow that can get swimmers trapped before realizing it. These are all important reasons why all swimmers, novices, and strong swimmers alike, should recognize the importance of wearing a life jacket.

Be Prepared For an Emergency

Make sure that you and your entire family know how to float, tread water and swim for at least 7-10 feet while face down in the water before heading out for a day of water fun. Also, make sure that you and all other adults know how to perform CPR. These safety measures could save a life.

Call an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

If the unthinkable happens and you or one of your family members suffers a water-related injury, call the experienced personal injury lawyers at Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys. We care about you and your family, and we can help.

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Evan Pappas

Evan Pappas's Bio

Evan Pappas is passionate about helping people that may have been injured in an accident; auto, trucking, motorcycle, medical negligence, police brutality, sex abuse and assault and others.