Today is officially the first day of summer, which means the Northland will be enjoying the outdoors more than ever.  The Minnesota DNR wants to make sure that kids are wearing life jackets anytime they are near the water.

When you consider that most drownings occur silently and that it takes as little as 30 - 45 seconds for a child non-swimmer to drown, getting a proper life jacket is crucial.

According to the DNR, you should check for the following things when buying a child's life jacket:

  • U.S. Coast Guard approved label.
  • A snug fit. Check weight and chest size on the label and try the life jacket on your child right at the store. Pick up your child by the shoulders of the life jacket; and tell them to raise their arms and relax. The child's chin and ears won't slip through a properly fitting jacket. Do NOT buy a jacket that is too large, hoping the child will grow into it.
  • Head support for younger children. A well designed life jacket will support the child's head when the child is in the water. The head support also serves to roll the child face up.
  • A strap between the legs for younger children. This helps prevent the jacket from coming off over the child's head.
  • Comfort and appearance. This is especially important for teens, who are less likely to wear a life jacket.

Also, remember that kids look up to adults so it's very important for all adults to wear life jackets around kids to lead by example.

Follow the link below for more information on life jacket safety for both kids and adults.