When in a swimsuit our three-year outdated daughter is fearless! She splashes about, chases waves, and giggles in pure delight. She holds her nostril as she “dunks” herself, then she jumps-up to “surprise” us… a brand new rendition of the peek-a-boo recreation. While I am thrilled that she is spunky, assured and likes to discover, nonetheless… I ponder… is she protected? As a mum or dad I take note of too many heartbreaking tales about Moms distracted for under a second, generally sitting at solely an arms-length of her baby, but the kid drowns; a horrific accident; a reminder that drowning is commonly silent and un-dramatic.
I’ve a Puddle Jumper strapped round my daughter’s chest (an improve of the well-know water-wings or inflatable armbands that maintain children afloat within the water), however is it sufficient? The Puddle Jumper is a U.S. Coast Guard authorised, Type III private flotation system. As I proceed to surprise about my daughter’s security I grow to be curious, what does “U.S. Coast Guard Approved” imply? It sounds spectacular, like a prestigious endorsement. A product that owns this seal of approval should imply that the product is an effective one and can, due to this fact, maintain my daughter protected. This was my pondering once I purchased the Puddle Jumper.
But now because the phrase “endorsement” echoed by way of my thoughts I used to be questioning what the phrase “U.S. Coast Guard Approved” actually meant. My free-associations to the phrase “endorsement” conjured-up uncomfortable photos: political endorsements, which I not often belief; TV-ads that includes public figures, or worse, Hollywood actors endorsing services. Yikes! Have I been too naive? Have I blindly accepted an “endorsement” put forth by the U.S. Coast Guard? Have I put my daughter in danger?
What Does It Mean: U.S. Coast Guard Approved
Who are we to belief as “the expert” about children and water security? Who are we to go to because the authority on how accidents occur and stop them? Who is rightly esteemed and who possesses sufficient credentials to talk on the grave nature of my concern… the breath-of-life of our little ones, our youngsters, my daughter? I admit, for me the United States Coast Guard was the one company that got here to thoughts, however not as a result of I had personally investigated their integrity.
To ease the anxiousness that my free-associations had been conjuring-up, i.e. my rising mistrust about an “endorsement” put forth by the U.S. Coast Guard and an “endorsement” broadly utilized by retailers who promote, and due to this fact promote, the Puddle Jumper, I wanted to know precisely what the “endorsement” meant.
I used to be shocked once I found that the Coast Guard was prepared to level to a “best” life jacket. Reading additional, nonetheless, I discovered that the “best” private flotation system was described in solely a generic means and with circumstances hooked up.
The “best” one, says the Coast Guard, is:
- The one you are prepared to put on!
- The one which saves your life each time it is wanted.
- The one which matches your wants!
In the very subsequent paragraph the Coast Guard voiced a vexing downside: “The perfect life preserver, lifejacket, or PFD (personal flotation device) has not yet been designed.” Not even the United States Coast Guard was a definitive one-stop, end-all and be-all authority.
Further, I discovered that with a selected life jacket “endorsed” as “U.S. Coast Guard Approved” comes an hooked up “Think Safe” pamphlet. The pamphlet is an integral element of the endorsement. When I purchased my daughter’s Puddle Jumper I had not even learn the pamphlet.
The stamp-of-approval plus the “Think Safe” pamphlet equals the total that means of: U.S. Coast Guard Approved. The one can’t be separated from the opposite.
The “Think Safe” pamphlet is a listing of circumstances that the Coast Guard attaches to the approval of a selected private floatation system. Using the Stearns Puddle Jumper for instance: The Stearns Puddle Jumper is Coast Guard authorised…
- If the kid sporting it’s 30 to 60 lbs.
- If the water is calm and/or if the physique of water is an inland physique.
- OR If there’s a good probability for quick rescue in or across the physique of water.
Also, in relation to kids and the collection of a PFD the Coast Guard presents extra recommendation:
- You should educate your children correctly put on a PFD.
- The PFD should match snugly on a baby.
- The bought PFD must be examined instantly after buy: in a swimming pool, and on the kid who will likely be sporting it.
- PFDs are usually not babysitters; an grownup ought to at all times be current.
You Must Teach Your Kids How To Properly Wear A PFD
The Coast Guard is aware of that kids panic once they instantly fall into water. The suddenness of the autumn causes them to maneuver their legs and arms violently which makes it exhausting to drift safely in a PFD. While the PFD will maintain the kid afloat, it may not maintain a struggling baby face-up. I remembered studying an anecdotal story in regards to the Stearns Puddle Jumper; a mum or dad had a “just-learning swimmer” and he or she stated, “She (the child) had to learn in the first few times (of using the Puddle Jumper) how to use it… that she would have to balance herself to keep her face out of the water.”
The PFD Must Fit Snugly On A Child
To verify for match the Coast Guard recommends selecting the kid up by the shoulders of the PFD. Since the Puddle Jumper doesn’t have a shoulder-section I may take a look at it by selecting my daughter up by the chest-piece of the Puddle Jumper, then proceed and conduct the snug-fit take a look at. In both case a baby’s chin and ears mustn’t slip by way of the flotation system.
The Purchased PFD Should Be Tested Immediately After Purchase
The Coast Guard cites the plain. They word that kids are available in many shapes and sizes, and due to this fact, simply because a PFD works for one toddler or baby doesn’t imply it is going to work for one more in the identical method. The Coast Guard due to this fact urges that PFDs be examined instantly after buy: take a look at in a swimming pool and with the kid who will likely be sporting the PFD. They urge mother and father and guardians of youngsters to verify for 3 issues:
- Proper Weight Range
- Comfortable match
- (And particularly) A steady face-up place in water.
PFDs Are Not Babysitters
The U.S. Coast Guard reminds mother and father and guardians, greater than as soon as, to by no means go away a baby unattended on a dock, on a ship or within the water, even when the kid is in a PFD.
Conclusion: Lessons Learned
It was good and proper to rethink my senseless buy of the Puddle Jumper. While the Puddle Jumper is a nice product, I had merely purchased the “advertising hype”on the tags: “U.S. Coast Guard Approved.” I had uncritically trusted an “endorsement” put forth by an unknown authority, i.e. the U.S. Coast Guard. The blind belief I exercised in buying the Puddle Jumper left my daughter susceptible as a result of I used to be unaware of my position and accountability about safely use the product that I had bought.
U.S. Coast Guard Approved merchandise are nice, however, learn the hooked up “Think Safe” pamphlets!