With summer in full swing pools, lakes, and rivers are popular destinations for families, but safety experts know in some cases these trips can end in tragedy. The danger is especially high for kids.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention identifies drowning as a leading cause of death in kids ages 1 to 14. The CDC estimates 3 children a day die as a result of drowning and the highest drowning rates are for children under the age of 5.
These startling numbers are the reason why safety experts say it's not only important to invest in a life jacket for your kids, but to make sure you are buying the right one to keep them safe.
The best advice is to look for life jackets that are U.S. Coast Guard approved. There are five types of personal floatation devices that meet U.S. Coast Guard approval, 1 being the safest all the way up to 5. You can find these numbers on the life jackets themselves.
One of the most popular life jackets for kids is the puddle jumper. While many are cost guard approved, they still may not be the safest option.
"The puddle jumper is classified as a type 3, so if your child is in the water with one and they actually get turned over, it will not right them," said U.S. Coast Guart Lt. Phillip Gurtler.
Experts say some of the biggest mistakes parents make is they will choose a life jacket based on a cute design or color instead of what stands out best in the water and buying the wrong size. If it's too big, your child can slip out of it.
Life guards want to remind all of us even with a life jacket on kids must have a designated water watcher. That means putting away your cell phone when your kids are in a pool, or lake and giving them your full attention and supervision.
For more information on how to choose the right life jacket: https://www.uscgboating.org/images/howtochoosetherightlifejacket_brochure.pdf