Second Annual "A Day in the Park" to be held Sunday at Johnston Memorial Park PROVIDENCE
Environmental police officers from the Department of Environmental Management will demonstrate how to properly fit children for life jackets and provide boating safety information to patrons at the second annual "A Day in the Park" on Sunday, September 6. The event is sponsored by the Jayce "The Healer" Foundation and will take place from noon to 5 p.m. at Johnston Memorial Park. The Foundation's mission is to eliminate childhood drowning by creating awareness of water safety.
This year's event will include CPR instruction and information on drowning awareness and prevention and pool safety. Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death among children between the ages of one and four.
DEM's Division of Law Enforcement is teaming up with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary to sponsor a booth at the event in order to promote the use of life jackets and safe boating. It is a proven fact that life jackets save lives, but in order for the life jacket to save your life, you have to wear it! Accidents on the water can happen much too fast to reach and put on a stowed life jacket. According to U.S. Coast Guard statistics, drowning is the reported cause of death in three-fourths of all boating fatalities - and 84 percent of drowning victims in recreational boating accidents were not wearing a life jacket in 2014.
"As a parent it is essential that you wear your own life jacket," said DEM Environmental Police Officer Jennifer Ogren. "Not only does this set a great example for your child when it comes to boating safety, it also ensures that if an accident were to occur you would be fully prepared to assist your child once you have entered the water. You do your child no good if you can't remain afloat and be there to calm and protect that child."
Not only do you have to wear a life jacket, but it must fit properly and be in good condition. That means no tears, fading, molding, broken straps or zippers. A wide range of life jackets styles are sized especially for children - some with cartoon characters, straps for pulling children from the water and high-visibility schemes. Proper fit is essential, especially when it involves children.
Unlike other clothing items, you do not buy a life jacket for your child to grow into. The life jacket must fit your child's weight and chest measurements. All U.S. Coast Guard-approved jackets have this sizing information and approval labeling on the life jacket.
The life jacket must have a snug fit with all zippers, buckles and crotch straps securely fastened. When you pull up on your child's life jacket from the shoulders, the jacket should not be able to move to the point where the jacket comes up past his or her face. If the life jacket can be pulled up past the child's face, this is what will occur when that child enters the water. This will restrict your child's ability to breathe and move once in the water. You must either tighten the buckles or try a smaller size jacket.
No matter what the activity or style chosen, the most important thing is this: Remember to grab a life jacket and wear it!