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1000 SW Jackson Suite 230
Topeka, KS 66612-1274
(785) 296-1223
(785) 296-8649 (FAX)

Jan Stegelman

Executive Committee:
Randall Bolin

Dennis Cooley, MD
Medical Advisor
American Academy of
Pediatrics, Kansas

John Drees
Douglas County
SAFE KIDS Coalition

John Halbran
Kansas Safety Belt
Education Office

Jim Keating
Kansas State
Firefighters Association

Elena Nuss
Kansas State
Fire Marshal's Office

Cindy Samuelson
Kansas Hospital Association

For Immediate Release:
May 21, 2007

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

May 19-25 is National Safe Boating Week

Safe Kids Kansas offers boating safety tips

Every year, more than a dozen children in the United States drown in reported boating accidents, and more than 160 are injured in reported accidents involving personal watercraft. Most children who drown are not wearing life jackets, and an estimated 85 percent of boating-related drownings could have been prevented by life jackets.

“On a boat, everyone should wear a personal flotation device – a life jacket – at all times,” says Jan Stegelman, Safe Kids Kansas coordinator. “Look for a PFD approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. Water wings and other inflatable swimming aids do not prevent drowning.”

Safe Kids Kansas recommends that children ages 14 and under wear life jackets not only on boats, but near open bodies of water or when participating in water sports. Kansas law requires children ages 12 and under to wear PFDs while boating, and children under age 12 are required to wear PFDs on any recreational vessel in waters under Coast Guard jurisdiction.

Safe Kids Kansas also urges parents and caregivers to wear life jackets on boats or other watercraft. “Your children will pick up on your safety habits,” says Stegelman. According to a study by Safe Kids Worldwide, children are much more likely to practice safe habits when they observe similar behavior by parents and caregivers.

Safe Kids Kansas also reminds parents and caregivers:

  • Do enroll your kids in swimming lessons taught by a certified instructor, but don’t assume swimming lessons or life jackets make your child “drownproof.” These precautions are important, but they’re no substitute for constant adult supervision.
  • Don’t let kids operate personal watercraft (such as jet skis).
  • Nobody should swim near a dock or marina with electrical hookups or lighting. Swimmers can be electrocuted in the water and drown.
  • Make sure the driver of the boat your child is on has passed a boating safety course approved by the Coast Guard.
  • Install a carbon monoxide detector on your motorboat to alert you to dangerous levels of exhaust fumes.
  • Never drink alcoholic beverages while boating.
  • Learn infant and child CPR. In less than two hours, you can learn effective interventions that can give a fighting chance to a child who has fallen into water and become unconscious. Local hospitals, fire departments and recreation departments offer CPR training.

National Safe Boating Week is an annual educational campaign coordinated by the National Safe Boating Council ( during the week before Memorial Day. Additional boating safety information is also available at . For more information about drowning and boating-related injuries, visit

Safe Kids Kansas, Inc. is a nonprofit Coalition of 67 statewide organizations and businesses dedicated to preventing accidental injuries to Kansas children ages 0-14. Local coalitions and chapters are located in Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Clay, Coffey, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas, Ellis, Finney, Ford, Franklin, Geary, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Labette, Leavenworth, Marion, Marshall, McPherson, Meade, Mitchell, Montgomery, Nemaha, Osage, Pottawatomie, Republic, Rice, Riley, Saline, Smith, Shawnee, Wabaunsee, Wilson and Woodson Counties, as well as the cities of Chanute, Emporia, Leavenworth, Norton, Pittsburg, the Wichita Area and the Metro Kansas City Area. Safe Kids Kansas a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations whose mission is to prevent accidental childhood injury. The lead agency for Safe Kids Kansas is the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. For more information visit