Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Just Before I Leave...

I was listening to the radio this morning and heard an interview with someone who was instructing some children on safety in the pool. At first I thought it was the usual stuff about pool safety, but it turned out to be much more interesting. The children we fully dressed and being asked to do various things like try swimming and then to try getting out of the pool by clambering up slippery slabs of foam. The safety feature here was to simulate falling into a lake covered in ice. It was a great exercise in teaching the children what might happen and what techniques work and which ones don't.

Throughout the program, the instructor kept referring to "life jackets". The term "PFD" was never used and I thought that was odd. Then it hit me. "Life jackets" can save your "life". To a child, a "PFD" isn't anything meaningful, because there is no meaningful content in the three letters. Even knowing that the letters stand for "Personal Flotation Device" doesn't convey a lot of meaning to a child and probably to many adults.

So I won't be wearing my "PFD" from now on. I'm switching to my "life jacket"! Maybe we all ought to!

Please note the entire Ckayaker staff will be on leave for a few weeks.


Anonymous said...

It's my understanding that the US Coast Guard has switched back to calling them "life jackets" again. So, if you switch over, and come to this side of the border, you'll just be follow the rules:

Michael said...

That's good news, because I'll be coming over to your side of the border on Saturday for a few weeks. Nice to be legal... :-)

Douglas Wilcox said...

Have a great Spring holiday Michael

pinkandgeek said...

PFD's should not be intrinsically associated with "life-saving devices". A PFD could save your life, but it will not always. Therefor, the term "life jacket" is just nonsense. A PFD does exactly as its name states: floats. Deceiving children into wearing a PFD will only hurt them. They will grow up thinking that the PFD will save their life, but that is not the case.

Tell children to wear their PFD, and if they do not wear it, they can't enjoy the water with the rest of the group. Children don't always need to know why they are doing something.