PADDLERsmart! Canada Knowledge Base

Module 02 - Boating Equipment


Children should wear a life jacket or PFD at all times, both on the boat and when they are near the water. When selecting a life jacket for a child, always choose one that has been specifically designed for children, and that fits the child properly. 

Never substitute a life jacket for a flotation toy, such as water wings, and never purchase a larger size in the hope that the child will ‘grow into it'.

A children’s life jacket or PFD should have the following features:

  • A label or stamp indicating that it is Canadian-approved
  • An extra large collar to support the child’s head
  • A safety strap that fastens between the legs, to prevent the jacket from slipping over the child’s head
  • A grab strap located on the collar
  • Reflective material and a safety whistle

Always be sure that children understand how to properly fit and use their life jacket or PFD, and never consider a flotation device to be a substitute for adult supervision. Adult or youth style life jackets are not designed for children, and will not properly protect a child.


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