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life jackets for the handicap

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  • life jackets for the handicap

    I was told that there are special life jackets for handicap people, some that have an extra wide strap that attaches between the legs and prevents them from slipping out. Has anyone heard of this?


  • #2
    Re: life jackets for the handicap

    There are many types of life jackets and a visit to larger marine outlets or even checking on-line will turn up one that meets a particular need. You should look for a style that will automatically roll the person onto his/her back and have sufficient support in back of the head to keep the face well out of the water. Having dealt with polio myself, I would suggest that adult size "floaties" like those used for kids arms be attached just above the knees. They can also be used on the arms. Those coupled with a good life jacket will result in the person floating very comfortably and safely. Sort of like sitting in a lawn chair thats tipped back a bit. The lower legs will dangle if they have leg paralysis. The entire outfit is not especially pretty, but it is safe. Life jacket requirements are obviously proportional to the degree of disability so be sure to outfit as required.

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    • #3
      Re: life jackets for the handicap

      The degree of disability will have a greater or lesser bearing on the type of jacket used. The crotch strap that you mention is not standard on most jackets but can easily be made by any sailmaker or marine upholstery outlet & retrofitted.For a severely disabled person with limited intellectual or motor function then a top quality offshore jacket is mandatory. If the person is chairbound or mentally impaired then a low profile self inflating (inflates on contact with the water) CO2 vest may be best. These inflatable vests are not bulky & will not cause discomfort to the wearer.A person with an intellectual disability may also need a tether running to a vessel hard point attached to the vest to prevent them going overboard. The higher end vests have an inbuilt lifting ring which will support an adult being winched back on board.

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      • #4
        Re: life jackets for the handicap

        My Friends son has Muscular Distrophy, and has no real motor functions at all, and controling his arms and legs in an "in the water" situation would be impossible for him, and like I said in the above thread, if he were to slip out of the jacket would be a terrible situation. Thanks so much for your replies, and ideas, they're a great help. I live here in Connecticut, as a last resort, I could call the Coast Guard for information too I guess.

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        • #5
          Re: life jackets for the handicap

          Here's something I found for disabled people. Looks interesting: http://www.pfd-a.com/pfd-a.html

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          • #6
            Re: life jackets for the handicap

            Cobra, This site you sent is EXACTLY what I am looking for!! Thank you very much. His mother will be very happy to recieve this.

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            • #7
              Re: life jackets for the handicap

              Don't forget to consider his dignity. My wife is disabled, but I can guarantee you that she would never be caught dead in of those "adapted" jackets. They are overly bulky and uncomfortable. Think of them as sweatboxes!Let me make a recommendation based on experience. A good off shore jacket is designed to float an unconscious person face up in rough water. If they can do that, they can handle a physical impaired person with ease. There is no need for special straps and modifications.Just our opinion. Hope it helps.

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              • #8
                Re: life jackets for the handicap

                Well you make a good point RFrog. I was just asked to find out about for her about these jackets. I think she is afraid that if he were in the water, he might slip out of it, because he has no way of ajusting, or being able to hold on to the jacket if it were to slip up away from him. I'm like you, and think a standard jacket would be fine. I would just like to see some kind of strap that would fit around the crotch to insure the jacket would in no way slip off of him. Thanks for your opinion, well taken.

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                • #9
                  Re: life jackets for the handicap

                  Mark, crotch straps are a real easy do-it-yourself job. REI has all the webbing and buckles, etc. Costs about 5 bucks to do.As far as adjusting a jacket in the water- remember that unconscious people can't adjust their jacket in the water. Any life jacket should be adjusted and tested before being put into service.

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                  • #10
                    Re: life jackets for the handicap

                    I'm all for his dignity, but in all fairness standard life jackets do not float you on your back...not even the child ones we see. You need to move the child on his/her back and then only does it work. Otherwise, the child can have his/her face in the water and drown if it cannot use his/her limbs.

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                    • #11
                      Re: life jackets for the handicap

                      Cobra, I don't know what a "standard" life jacket is. I assume you are refering to a type II or III. These are the typical cheap life jackets you see at costco/wal mart/discount stores. Sometimes they are thrown in as an "upgrade" from those horrendous orange things when you purchase a new boat.I am not recommending those.What I am recommending is a jacket rated "off shore" or type I. These jackets are rated for use in rough water by an unconscious person.Short of tying the poor boy on his back in a life raft, there is NO guarantee that any life jacket will be 100% fool proof.My wife is disabled and we have tested numerous jackets. Without going to extremes, we have been very pleased with the function AND comfort of a type I. I'm not trying to step on anyones toes but I am speaking from experience here and not just theory.If a crotch strap is a concern, they can be easily retrofitted for about 5 dollars.

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                      • #12
                        Re: life jackets for the handicap

                        I'm not sure which one we have used for our children when they were small, but it had a collar and a loop up at the top as well. If my kids were on there back, it kept them there pretty well. However, I saw them squirm around and wind up face first in these. My kids aren't physically disabled in any way, so they would move there arms and legs around to end up back on their back and safe. I'd hate to think how a physicaly disabled person would do without use of any of their arms or limbs. Without a buddy nearby to flip them over, I'm sure they would drown. This seems totally unlikely with the adapted jackets shown, due to the large collars on them keeping the head out of the water no matter what condition they're in.I suppose you have to guage the disability and see how much of a life jacket is required.

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                        • #13
                          Re: life jackets for the handicap

                          We use one of these for our son- I agree that it won't do miracles. It is only a type II.

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