A donation of 180 children’s life jackets by Safe Kids of Northeast Georgia to Friends of Lake Lanier has made an impact on this year’s summer boating season. They will be used for the Corps of Engineers Life-Jacket Loaner stations in parks and campgrounds on Lake Lanier.
“This generous donation will go a long way toward helping us keep our life-jacket loaner stations supplied and replenished this boating season,” said Tim Baker with Friends of Lake Lanier. “Safe Kids provided smaller non-adult sizes and these are the ones that we see the most usage and most often go missing.”
The life jackets were delivered to Friends of Lake Lanier several weeks ago and have been installed at the Corps’ 20 stations. Many of the life-jacket loaner stations have been built by Eagle Scout candidates, including the most recent at Duckett Mill Campground. The two at Duckett Mill were constructed by Ryan Brown of Boy Scout Troop 356 in Roswell at Fellowship Christian School. The program is still accepting donations of life jackets to meet the demand this summer.
“It’s a home run for our lake visitors, our organization and the Corps of Engineers to have this large a donation of new life jackets,” Baker said. “This donation, and other life-jacket donations that we receive, help us support our mission to promote water safety in and around Lake Sidney Lanier.”
As a program of the Northeast Georgia Medical Center, Safe Kids Northeast Georgia’s mission is to help reduce and prevent childhood injuries. The program works with community partners to promote advocacy for children’s safety and to raise public awareness.
“This is an excellent way for us to support our water safety mission and reach people who use Lake Lanier and the Corps of Engineers’ parks,” said Elaina Lee, coalition coordinator of Safe Kids Northeast Georgia. “Partnerships in the community are vital to our success and knowing that this donation will help provide life jackets for children who will be enjoying the lake is what we’re all about.”
Serving Hall and Barrow counties, Safe Kids focuses on children’s water safety, child passenger safety, fire safety, wheeled sports safety, home safety, sports and pedestrian safety. Its life jacket initiative furnishes upward of 400 life jackets in various venues, including Hall County Parks.
“At this time of year, water safety is top of mind,” Lee said. “We urge parents to be especially mindful about their children anytime they’re around open water. Even if your child knows how to swim, having them wear a life jacket provides an extra layer of safety.”
Safe Kids Northeast Georgia is funded from monies raised by the NGHS Marketplace each November. Additional funds come from grants, community, business and individual donations.
To learn more about Safe Kids Northeast Georgia, visit www.nghs.com/safekids.
Boating safety tips for kids and parents
Even if your child knows how to swim, Georgia law requires that all children aged 12 and under wear life jackets while on a moving boat.
Here are some tips to help parents and kids be safer on open water:
• Wear a US Coast Guard-approved properly fitted life jacket.
• Babies and infants should not travel on a boat until they are the appropriate weight to wear an approved personal flotation device, according to the US Coast Guard.
• Keep little kids warm because they are more susceptible to hypothermia.
• Don’t rely on swimming aids, such as water wings or noodles, as replacements for life jackets.
• Teach your kids the difference between open water and pools.
• Actively supervise kids in and around open water.
• More children between the ages of 1-4 die from drowning than any other cause of death except birth defects.
• Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury or death after motor-vehicle crashes for children ages 1-14.
Sources: Safe Kids, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Photos: courtesy Friends of Lake Lanier (Home page Feature photo: From left, Corps of Engineers Ranger Henry Way, Friends of Lake Lanier’s Connie Howell, Safe Kids Elaina Lee, FOLL Tim Baker and Ranger Steve Cahn, accept the donation of youth life jackets for the Corp’s Life Jacket Loaner Program.)