Safe Kids Kansas

Preventing Accidental Injury.

May 19, 2008

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

Safe Kids Kansas Reminds Kids, Parents: Wear Life Jackets Near Open Water

May 17-23 is National Safe Boating Week

In 2005, there were twenty-one children age 12 and under who lost their lives in a boating incident. 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 life jacket at all times,” says Jan Stegelman, Safe Kids Kansas coordinator. “Look for a life jacket approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. Remember that ‘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 life jackets while boating, and children under 14 are required to wear life jackets 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 2005 study by Safe Kids Worldwide, children are much more likely to practice safe habits when they witness similar behavior by parents and caregivers.

Safe Kids Kansas also reminds parents and caregivers:

National Safe Boating Week is an annual educational campaign coordinated by the National Safe Boating Council ( during the week before Memorial Day.

For more information about safe boat operations visit

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, Elk, Ellis, Finney, Ford, Franklin, Geary, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Labette, Leavenworth, Marion, Marshall, McPherson, Meade, Mitchell, Montgomery, Osage, Pottawatomie, Republic, Rice, Riley, Saline, Smith, Shawnee, Wilson and Woodson Counties, as well as the cities of Chanute, Emporia, Leavenworth, 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.