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Know Difference Between Life Jacket and Buoyancy Vest, The Wrong Jacket Could Drown Your Child

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A child’s safety is any good parent’s number one concern. From child safety locks on cabinet doors to a fence around the backyard pool, moms and dads tend to look out for their children’s best interests.

Water safety is huge, especially during the hot summer months when pools and beaches are swarmed with sunbathers and swimmers. Many pools or lakes post signs warning parents there is no lifeguard on duty, so it’s up to a responsible adult to keep a close eye on weak swimmers and young kids.

Caucasian boy jumping from canoe into lake
(Mike Kemp/Getty Images)

One viral demonstration video has caused quite a stir on social media. Dan and Holly Mueller just wanted their granddaughter, Marissa, to be safe in the pool.

Not only that, they wanted to warn other parents against purchasing a specific “life jacket” seemingly intended to save a young child’s life.

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In the video, Dan shows the camera everything. From following the instructions to Marissa being of proper weight, he seems to know exactly what he is doing.

But, when he invites Marissa into the pool, the situation takes a turn, and on first glance, parents might be horrified by what takes place. “If your child was to fall out of your boat, you would really hope this would save your child’s life,” Dan explains.

Watch as the toddler flips and struggles. It would appear this jacket does anything but save.

I’ll admit, when I viewed the demonstration, I was personally mortified. No way was I going to invest in a vest like that.

However, after a bit of research, I discovered the video is receiving quite a bit of criticism. Many viewers have pointed out that the jacket Marissa is wearing in the video is not intended to save a life at all.

Critics have commented that the jacket is better known as a “buoyancy aid.” Its purpose is to help a swimmer or snorkeler keep their head above water.

While the video has been both applauded and mocked, with some telling the Muellers to do their research before purchasing flotation devices, one has to wonder … Is there accurate information available to help a parent make such a choice?

How about a warning? A red flag, even?

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According to BoatSafe.com, a NearShore Buoyant Vest, such as the one Marissa is wearing, may or may not “turn some unconscious wearers face-up.” A closer inspection of the warning label inside the jacket Dan shows the camera seems to give a better clue as to the jacket’s purpose, but even this seems a bit vague.

The vest seems to be intended for close to shore, shallow water use only. “Not approved for use on personal watercraft, for water skiing, or similar towed uses,” the label reads.

Yet, at the top of the label it says the jacket is U.S. Coast Guard approved, and the “intended use” is as a “general boating vest.” Seem confusing?

The real problem here is not that the Muellers have failed to do their life-jacket homework. They simply want to keep their granddaughter safe, and should not be criticized for this.

No, the true issue seems to lie with contradictory or vague information on the label. And, meant for boating or not, this jacket seems dangerous for a child, at the very least.

Some commenters have stood behind Dan, stating that “if it puts the child’s face in the water it’s dangerous!” In the end, parents must use good judgment, but even if Dan did make a mistake, isn’t it an honest one?

If the vest shown is meant to keep a child’s head above water, why didn’t it help Marissa? She may just be too young (even though her weight fits within the user guidelines).

Or, perhaps, instructions and warnings should be more clear. You be the judge — was this video a helpful warning, or just a parent failing to read directions?

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Sarah Carri is an avid reader and social media guru with a passion for truth and life. Her writing has previously been published in print and online by Focus on the Family and other well known media outlets. Her experience in ministry and Disney entertainment gives her a unique perspective on such topics.
Sarah Carri is an avid reader and social media guru with a passion for truth and life. Her writing has previously been published in print and online by Focus on the Family and other well known media outlets. Her experience in ministry and Disney entertainment gives her a unique perspective on such topics.

Sarah's experience as a successful working stay-at-home mom and business owner has given her the chance to write and research often. She stays up to date on the latest in entertainment and offers her views on celebrity stories based on her wide knowledge of the industry. Her success as a former preschool teacher and licensed daycare provider lend to her know-how on topics relating to parenting and childhood education.

Her thoughts on faith and family issues stem from home life and ministry work. Sarah takes time to attend workshops and classes annually that help her to improve and hone her writing craft. She is a graduate of the Institute of Children's Literature program and her writing has been acclaimed by ACFW and ECPA.
Education
Institute of Children's Literature, Art Institute of Phoenix (Advertising), University of California Irvine (Theater), Snow College (Early Childhood Education)
Location
Arizona
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Entertainment, Faith




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