Safety equipment

Children's life jackets

All children should wear a life jacket, when they are in any open area of a vessel. During an incident you may not have the opportunity to help children.

It should not be worn when a child is within a deck-house, cabin or secure enclosed space as it could stop them making a safe exit.

A life jacket must be securely zipped and clipped at all times to be effective. If not appropriately fitted, a child may slip out of the life jacket when in the water, or may be forced into a dangerous face down position when in the water.

Choosing a child's life jacket

  • Do not compromise on quality.
  • It should be appropriate for your child's weight, fit them securely and not move around in any way that may impair its performance.
  • A crotch strap fitting will prevent the jacket bunching up around the child's neck and will prevent your child falling out of the bottom.
  • Choose a life jacket Type 1 that complies with the requirements for all waters and will support your child in a face up position if in the water in calm water conditions.
  • Remember that a life jacket Type 2 or 3 may not roll your child into a face up position in calm water conditions should they be unconscious.
  • Match the weight range of the jacket with the weight of your child.
  • Check that it complies with the appropriate standard for the type of life jacket being used - see Adult life jackets for more information.

It is extremely important that a life jacket is fitted correctly, as per examples provided below.

This life jacket is the correct size
Personal flotation device that is the correct fit

The weight rating of 22-40 kg is the appropriate for the child's weight of 24 kg, and the size appears to be proportionate to the child's body size.

This life jacket is too bigPersonal flotation device that is too big

If a child fell into the water they would probably fall straight through the bottom of this jacket.

This life jacket is too smallPersonal flotation device that is too small

The child's weight may exceed the weight rating and if the child fell into the water it may not keep them afloat.

This life jacket is too big
Personal flotation device that is too big

Even if the child didn't fall through the large fittings, it may be too bulky to keep the child afloat face up and out of the water.

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Page last updated 29 November 2016

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Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure
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