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Life jackets 101: Finding the right fit for your kid

Life jackets are a must have if you plan on being on boats or Minnesota lakes. Here's one test you can do to make sure your child's life jacket is the right size.

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn — As eager as Minnesotans are to hit the lakes this summer, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wants to remind folks before they head out on the water to check the status of their life jackets.

"If you're stopped by a water conservation officer or water patrol, they are going to make sure it's U.S. Coast Guard approved, that it fits and that everybody on the boat has one," said Lisa Dugan, the Recreation Safety Outreach Coordinator with the Minnesota DNR.

"Kids under 10 are required to wear them when they are in the boat," said Dugan. "Find one that's comfortable for your kid that makes sense for what they are doing on the boat."

Even the smallest passengers on board need one. Here's what parents and guardians should be looking for:

  1. Coast Guard Certification
  2. Life jacket based on your kids height and weight

"A couple ways to test is pulling up and if the life jacket comes above their ears that's going to be too big because if she fell into the water that is going to slip right off," said Dugan. 

It's called the "ear test" and takes less than a minute to test the jacket's fit.

Life jacket labels can be a tad confusing too. What used to be based off of different levels for your boating activity... is now based on this scale and level of buoyancy. Check the label on the inside of the jacket for further details. 

Read the Minnesota DNR's boating guide here

RELATED: It's summer in Minnesota; here are a few safety reminders if you're out on the lake

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