If your little ones will be enjoying the pool or the river this summer, keep them safe with a Coast Guard approved life vest, and ditch those plastic inflatable 'floaties'.

Kira Huck is the coordinator for Safe Kids Missoula, and she has powerful advice for parents and caregivers when it comes to keeping kids safe in the water.

"The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you do not use 'floaties'," Huck said. "They tend to give parents and children a false sense of security while they're in the water. It makes children think that they can swim, when in fact, they're not swimming. In fact, 'floaties' actually put children in a drowning position. Most flotation devices that are meant as pool toys put children vertically with their heads tipped back  where they have to swim in a ladder-climb like position, and that's actually the position of drowning."

There are many institutions that provide free or low cost bike and horseback riding helmets, however, Huck is now researching if there are any agencies that can provide free or low cost approved life vests for swimming.

The only option so far is the Missoula Public Library, where, if you have a library card, you can check out an approved life vest for children up to 90 pounds.

Get more details by calling Safe Kids Missoula at 926-2522.

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