Preventing Accidental Injury.
KDHE Office of Communications
Topeka — Whether it’s during vacation or part of an ordinary day, boating can be fun for the entire family – as long as everyone remains safe. In 2005, 21 children ages 12 and under were killed in boating incidents in the U.S. In Kansas, from 2000-2008, there were 15 boating-related hospital discharges among children ages 14 and under. Nationally, of the children who drowned while boating in 2003, more than 60 percent were not wearing life jackets. The U.S. Coast Guard reports an estimated 85 percent of boating-related drowning could be prevented by the use of life jackets.
“On a boat, everyone should wear a life jacket at all times,” says Cherie Sage, State Director of Safe Kids Kansas coordinator. “Look for a life jacket approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. ‘Water wings’ and other inflatable swimming aids such as inner tubes 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 13 are required to wear life jackets on any recreational vessel in waters under Coast Guard jurisdiction.
Safe Kids Kansas urges parents and caregivers to wear life jackets on boats or other watercraft as well. “Your children will pick up and embrace your safety habits,” says Sage. 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 (http://www.safeboatingcouncil.org), running the week prior to Memorial Day.
For more information about drowning and boating-related injuries, call Safe Kids Kansas at 785-296-0351 or visit http://www.safekids.org.
Safe Kids Kansas, Inc. is a nonprofit Coalition of over 70 statewide organizations and businesses dedicated to preventing accidental injuries to Kansas children ages 0-14. Local coalitions and chapters cover Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Butler, Clay, Coffey, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas, Elk, Ellis, Finney, Geary, Harvey, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Kiowa, Labette, Leavenworth, Marion, Marshall, McPherson, Mitchell, Montgomery, Pottawatomie, Riley, Saline, Sedgwick, Shawnee, Smith, Sumner, and Wilson counties, as well as the city of Emporia and the Metro Kansas City Area (Wyandotte county and several Missouri counties.) 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.
Visit us at www.safekidskansas.org and on Facebook