Hope this is right place to post this. I have a 12 year old daughter as most of you know by law she has to wear a life jacket. The one that she wears in spring and summer and fall that fits her right by weight will not fit her this winter over all of her winter clothes. Would like to know if any other parents have had this issue. The ones that fit her over her big coat and bibs is not rated for her weight. Thanks in advance for any help.
I'd assume the one that fits over her winter clothes would be rated for a heavier weight? If so then it would be logical that it would have more floatation capability. I think the key is ensuring the life jacket is well fitting - mainly that it won't slide up and over her head..... the issue with larger jackets are often that there is too much room in the arms and in the water the jacket would float up and not support the head properly.
FYI, at the January Striper Club meeting on 1/8 we will be having Officer Shannon Smith from DGIF come to speak - would be a good place to address such a question....
On thing to remember is to ensure the life jacket has one or two straps that go between the legs to keep the jacket down. I've seen tests done by the Navy and Coast Guard in SC on Santee Cooper with kids in different garb. Those straps are critical, however a bigger jacket isn't always the answer as some may fit and seem to work until they turn the kid face down once in the water. The main concept they addressed was and unconscious person entering the water. Thus if the one thing you should consider is the person/kid being unconscious when falling or whatever into the water, does the jacket keep their head sufficiently above the surface of the water. I'm not sure a Fish and Game Dept. person has that knowledge. I'm not even that sure that the local Coast Guard folks do. I discussed this with Danny, (Corneliagale) at the free boat inspection a couple years ago and he agreed with me. I put my kids in the clothing and had them jump in the water and checked. Did the same with my grandson when he moved in with us just a couple years ago. Rather be safe then sorry. IMHO, stay the heck away from those damned new devices that go off when the kid/person enters the water. You willing to gamble they will work? I've seen many tests on those things where they simply did not, and in the kids version they might work but didn't keep their head well enough about water. I even had a friend wearing one a few years ago on my boat that triggered when we were in a rain storm! One life jacket that works the best in most of the tests I've seen and done is that cheap version, bright orange, that everyone seems to sell for like 9.99. But it does mold and wear out easily unless stored and cared for correctly.
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