Life Jackets for Life is an initiative to change the law in Canada to require children to wear a life jacket while on small vessels. Accidents are the leading cause of death of children in Canada.(1) Many of these accidental deaths have occurred on Canada’s waterways while boating. Not wearing a life jack or personal flotation device (PFD) is the number one reason for drownings in boating related fatalities in all age categories above the age of 4.(2)
Simple, minor amendments to a regulation could save the lives of hundreds of children.
Organizations have been calling for the law to change for many years. The government has done little despite that fact that simple, minor amendments to a regulation could save the lives of hundreds of children. Government-funded investments in awareness campaigns are ineffective and children are still dying. In a study conducted by the Red Cross, 298 children have died over two decades.(3) That’s an entire elementary school population.
This is an issue of boating culture which requires legal intervention to change behaviour, no different from past initiatives requiring young children to travel in car seats, wear bicycle helmets and seat belts. Governments have long concluded that there are certain fundamental safety decisions that we must take out of the hands of parents alone to protect society’s most vulnerable, its children.