JSI RESOURCES: Journal article

Use of life jackets and other types of flotation for in-water recreation in designated swim areas in Washington State

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Most fatal drownings worldwide occur in open water. Flotation devices may protect swimmers. Their use by those recreating in water has not been described. This observational survey of swimmers and waders at designated swim sites at lakes and rivers evaluated them by age group, sex, type of flotation used (life jacket vs substandard flotation, eg, water wings, noodles, inflatables) and, for children <6 years, being within arm's reach of an adult.

Flotation devices were frequently used for recreational wading and swimming in open water by all age groups. Life jacket use was limited to children. Promoting use of flotation devices with safety standards that provide protection as well as fun could potentially decrease open water drowning rates.

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Authors: Linda Quan, Thomas Mangione, Elizabeth Bennett, Wendy Chow, 2017

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