Boating, fishing, camping and playing near water are among my favorite summer activities. My kids also love them. Last time my 5 year old son caught the largest fish. This made him very proud and happy – he was truly beaming!

As parents we should make sure kinds are safe when going on water or playing near water and close supervision is not enough. Is a Lifejacket better than a Personal Floating Device (PFD)?

What is a PFD Designed For?

A PFD is designed for flotation and will keep a conscious person’s head out of water in calm conditions.

What is a Lifejacket Designed For?

A Lifejacket is designed to turn most unconscious persons into a face-up, head-out-of-the-water position.

Then, Why Bother with a PFD?

PFDs are more comfortable to wear and are good for people who are confident in water. They perform well in sheltered conditions, where help is closed at hand.

Lifejackets are more bulky and less comfortable to wear. However they have more buoyancy than PFDs, perform better in the water and should be considered when help is not close at hand.

Regardless of you choice, a flotation device only works if you are properly wearing it. Make the wise decision based on the type of activity you will be doing.

Choose, Try and Test Your PFD

Check for a proper, snug and comfortable fit. Make sure that the PFD does what you expect while in water. Also consider the need to be visible while in water – orange, red and yellow PFDs are highly recommended for better visibility.

To try your PFD, lift your legs off the bottom in chest-deep water a put your head back. Make sure your chin stays above the water and you can breathe easily.

Test your PFD as soon as you get the chance to get assurance that, in case of emergency, your PFD does what is supposed to do.

Choose a PFD for Your Child

Improper fitting PFDs can be dangerous. PFD are not something to grow into!
Moreover, while unconcious most children will float face-down because of their weight distribution, even if they use a flotation device such as a PFD.

It is very important to teach you child to become comfortable with their PFD in water and teach them not to panic, because panic can tremendously add to the danger!

Also, keep a close eye on your child! A PFD is not a substitute for adult supervision.

When Do You Need a Life Jacket?

If you go off-shore, you need a bulky life jacket for greatest buoyancy as opposed to calmer inland waters where you need a PFD.

If you are fan of sailboarding, you should consider a lifejacket specially designed for such activity.

As additional safety measures:

  • purchase a throwable device – one can hold onto such device until he or she gets rescued
  • consider taking swimming lessons.

Support this work, share it with friends ...