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Ep. 67 Choosing a Life Jacket with Rukmini Halliwell

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A life jacket is a life saving device! We will say it again…a life jacket is a life saving device! But, do you know what to look for when purchasing a life jacket? Do you know how to check if it fits your child correctly? Rukmini Halliwell is here to teach you everything you need to know!

You’ll find Rukmini Halliwell on any given weekend hiking along the Bruce Trail with her toddler, dog and husband in tow, hunting for mushrooms and sharing her biodiversity knowledge on the ‘gram. With a deep connection to her heritage and a passion to be on trail, she is also advocating for diversity and inclusion in the outdoors. After having her first child, Ruk began focusing on how to break cultural barriers that prevent BIPOC from entering outdoor spaces. Ruk is our Inclusion Manager at Kids Who Explore and we love having her on our team.

Ruk was a competitive swimmer for the majority of her life. She trained as a lifeguard, and practiced as a lifeguard, which got her passionate about the topic of water safety!!

Difference Between Life Jacket and Personal Floatation Device: 

  • A life jacket is a piece of safety equipment. A safety regulation life jacket has very specific check boxes to be “coast-guard approved”
  • Personal floatation devices (PFD) can be any floatation outside of your body. Lots of items can be listed under PFD
  • There are different regulations for what you can call a life jacket or PFD in Canada versus States, and possibly other places

Please refer back to Episode 57 for Water Safety Tips too!

Water Safety Tips: 

  • Life jackets are meant to be life saving devices, but they are not meant to be a replacement of parental supervision, or to teach people to swim
  • Do not lose sight of your child (or anyone you’re attending to)
  • Open water requires a life jacket! [Model appropriate behaviour for your children by wearing a life jacket yourself]

What to Look for in a Life Jacket: 

  • Colour: Red or orange (needs to show up bright in the water) *Tip to correct ones that are bad colours/not visible in the water…use fluorescent duct tape*
  • Crotch Strap: Needs to be done up, so the life jacket doesn’t float up over the child in the water
  • Fit: Multiple buckles, and proper size/fit
  • Material: Made out of foam (still works if there is a little rip or tear)
  • Head Rest: Flips them onto their back, so it keeps their airway open
  • Neck Pull: Allows you to grab them in the water and rescue them
  • NOT Inflatable: Do not use an inflatable life jacket! It’s not reliable

Think of a life jacket as a yearly investment! Buy the red one that fits at that exact time!! 

Smart Wool Base Layers: 
Oh Crap Potty Training Book: On the Podcast – 

Follow Ruk on IG: @rukminihalliwell


Thank you to Elements Outfitters for supporting today’s episode! Check out @elementsoutfitters, @patagoniacalgary, @patagoniabanff, and @patagoniavictoria.

Today’s Host: @adriannaadventures & @laurenrodycheberle from @kidswhoexplore
Production: @kpmediaproductions. Music: @michaelferraro_music