• Separator
  • Separator

The Life (Strait) Jacket

When my father found out I was pregnant (maybe even before) he purchased life jackets for his grandchildren.  I know he dreams of the day when he can take his grandchildren canoeing, camping and fishing.  This summer we started the tradition by taking Mary on the boat when we visited my parents in Northern Wisconsin.

Aside from it being the law, Mary was required to be in a US Coast Guard approved lifejacket appropriate for her age and weight – since I am her mother and need to follow the rules.

However, I realized how hard this safety stuff is. 

She hated it – imagine a pristine lake, surrounded by trees, eagles flying overhead, my father casting – and Mary screaming! She detested the lifejacket. The moment we put it on her she screamed and the only thing she could do console herself was to fall asleep.  But the moment she would wake up – screaming again!

I don’t know if it was the extra bulk that she had to carry or how it was tighter to her body – or maybe just the heat – but all I know is that my daughter abhorred the life jacket.

And there were so many moments that we thought – we are going slow, we’re stopped because we are fishing, we are on a pontoon boat not a speed boat – but rules are rules and what was safest for Mary was to keep her in the strait jacket.

No doubt this won’t be the last time that Mary isn’t happy with my decision to keep her safe. Regardless of the tears or screams – I know this is requirement of being a parent.


  1. Reply
    Tony Gruenke July 17, 2011


    Great post. For those who are considering a life jacket try to find one with a Neoprene cover. They are like $20 at Target. They breathe better as well as may provide more comfort for your child. They are still bulky and never perfect but highly reccommended.

  • Comment
  • Rate this article
    An error occurred!

eGrowing Together

is a monthly e-newsletter of child health, safety and parenting tips from the pediatric experts at Dayton Children's.

Subscribe to the blog

We have created this blog as a way to communicate key childrens' health and safety issues to parents and other child advocates. It is managed by Dayton Children's department of marketing communications. Comments can be sent to rodneyg@childrensdayton.org.