x
Breaking News
More () »

Time to hit the lake! Here's what your child’s life jacket needs to have

Remember Tennessee law requires all children 12 years of age and younger are required to wear their U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket while the vessel is moving.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — It's summertime and in East Tennessee, and that often means hitting the lake.

For parents, that also means finding the proper life jacket for your child. When shopping, look for a seal on the tag or vest itself that states it is U.S. Coast Guard-approved. 

Anything that is not USCG approved is not considered a correct safety device, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Remember Tennessee law requires all children 12 years of age and younger are required to wear their U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket while the vessel is moving.

Also, know that finding the right fit for your child might vary. Some swim instructors can help. 

"It's hard to recommend a specific life jacket because each kid's body is different, and I offer to test them out, but it's trial and error as a parent you need to test them yourself," said certified ISR swim instructor Korey Dye.

Dye emphasizes there is a time and place for your child to wear their lifejacket. 

"I want people to know life jackets are meant to be used on moving vessels; lakes, oceans. dealing with currents they are not really meant to as a learn to swim aid in the backyard pool," said Dye.

She explains the way it holds up a child and floats can cause confusion to those taking swim lessons. 

"It puts children in a vertical position and their muscle memory becomes that vertical position. So if a child wanders to pool without a life jacket on--they will go to that drowning position," said Dye.

She says the best swim aid in the pool is you, the parents. But a float where they aren't vertical can be okay with supervision. 

"What I tell parents is to hold your child, practice swimming with them, play games with them. They can sit on the stairs. They can be in a float where they aren't vertical. Be hands-on and an active supervisor when they are in water. It's not the easy way out, but they are totally worth it," said Dye. 

Interested in CPR? Here are several Knoxville options:

Here are some places that are offering swimming lessons: