The Red Cross advises EVERYONE to wear a life jacket when boating or rafting – however, particular caution should be taken with children and inexperienced swimmers. Children should wear life jackets when in, on, and around the water, even if a lifeguard is present. Here are some additional tips for life jackets:
• Make sure it is the right type for the activity.
• Make sure it is U.S. Coast Guard approved. Look for the stamp.
• Make sure it fits. Check the label for weight limits.
• Check buckles and straps for proper function. Discard any life jacket with torn fabric or loose straps.
Source: American Red Cross