Boating Lake County Blog

Safe­ty First: Keep your chil­dren pro­tect­ed with an approved life jacket

Kids Boat Safety 2

We want your kids to be safe when boat­ing in Lake Coun­ty—and that means wear­ing life jackets.

In Illi­nois, any­one under the age of 13 must wear a life jack­et while aboard any water­craft under 26 feet at all times the boat is under­way, unless they are below deck in an enclosed cab­in or on pri­vate property.

But be aware — and this is very impor­tant — life jack­ets designed for adults won’t work for chil­dren. You must choose a mod­el made specif­i­cal­ly for them.

Here are some tips:

  • Select your child’s life­jack­et based on his or her weight. There will be a User Weight” indi­ca­tion on the label.
  • Although there are infant life jack­ets’ on the mar­ket, the U.S. Coast Guard doesn’t advise tak­ing infants onboard recre­ation­al boats.
  • Make sure your child tries on the life jack­et before buy­ing it. To work cor­rect­ly, it must fit snug­ly, and not allow the child’s chin or ears to slip through.
  • Have your child wear and prac­tice swim­ming with the life jack­et in calm, shal­low water so that he or she can expe­ri­ence how it will feel and act.
  • Nev­er let your child wear arm float­ies” in lieu of a life jacket.
  • Inflat­able per­son­al flota­tion devices are only autho­rized for those at least 16 years old.

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