Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Float on!

Coast Guard Approved Flotation Devices. Those are always the words that plague a parent who just wants to get into a boat with their kids! Why are life jackets so important for everyone to be wearing?! We can all swim, so we don’t need one, right?   
Photo courtesy of theblaze.com
Wrong! There is a big difference between jumping into a pool and swimming with your friends and family then being knocked or flipped off a boat in a river, lake, or ocean. So, I went and did a little research online at the United States Coast Guard (USCG).  They have great information about the importance of Personal Flotation Devices (PFD (for the purposes of this blog post I‘ll be referring to lifejackets solely as PFD)) and why individuals should be wearing them.  
So, the main question I wanted answered when on my research was one I always used to ask my parents when out on a boat… why do I need to where a PFD, I’ve been through all of my Red Cross swimming certifications! (Ok, I didn’t say that last part, but I did say that I could swim) My parent’s response never had to be very succinct, after all, they were my parents and if they said I needed a PFD on before I boarded the boat, I was going to have one on.  But, it now makes total sense why everyone should have one on.  
As the USCG website so perfectly states, “you need your PFD before you’re unconscious, otherwise, how would you put it on?” If you’re going over board against your will, you won’t have enough time to put on your PFD, and the chance of you hitting your head, going unconscious or just getting tired of treading water before help comes for you is pretty high.  Just think of a PFD as a seatbelt in the car.  Wearing one protects you IN CASE.  We would never be able to buckle ourselves in before the accident happens which is why we put them on before that could even happen.  
Something else I learned while looking through the USCG website is that kids often panic when suddenly put into the water.  This panic causes them to often flail and kick there legs, which does not allow a traditional PFD to do it’s job.  The child will stay afloat, but not necessarily face up, which could cause them to begin to panic even more.  The USCG urges parents to teach kids about their PFD and to practice using it once or twice in a pool so that they are comfortable in it and will know how to maximize it’s effectiveness if they ever need to use it in an emergency situation.  
Now that we all understand the importance of the PFD, I’m sure that you are ready to finally buckle down and purchase them for the safety of yourself and all of your boat mates! So, if you’d like to find some stylish ones, you can click here to see some USCG approved PFDs from Overton’s, Amazon, Jamestown Distributors, and Best Buy Pool Supply.  
If you would like to learn more about how to choose the PFD that is right for you and your family, click here to visit the USCG online.  
For more information on our Learn to Swim, First Aid or CPR/AED training courses, click here to visit the American Red Cross online.
Pets need PFDs too!!
Photo courtesy of srslycute.com

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