Health

Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital donates 900 life jackets to Utah’s loaner stations

There is a Life Jacket Loaner Station located at the Jordanelle Reservoir

WASATCH COUNTY, Utah — Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital is stepping up to enhance water safety this summer by donating 900 life jackets to Life Jacket Loaner Stations throughout Utah. This initiative, launched in collaboration with local health and community agencies, aims to ensure families can safely enjoy water activities.

“Memorial Day marks the start of summer, and it’s crucial to remind everyone that life jackets and supervision are vital for keeping kids safe around water,” said Wing Province, MD, chief medical officer at Intermountain Park City Hospital.

The life jackets, available on a first-come, first-served basis, can be borrowed and returned at the end of the day. They come in various sizes suitable for both children and adults.

“Drowning is the second leading cause of preventable injury or death for Utah children under 14, with 70 percent of these deaths occurring between May and August,” added Dr. Province.

According to the Utah Department of Health & Human Services, one-third of drownings in Utah happen in lakes, rivers, canals, and other bodies of water. Research indicates that most drownings could have been prevented if life jackets had been worn.

“The goals for the life jacket loaner program are to make life jackets more available and to educate the public on their proper use and fit,” said Karlee Kump, community health manager at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital.

Local organizations, including the Utah Drowning Prevention Coalition, support this initiative. McKell Christensen of the coalition emphasized the importance of adult supervision and life jacket use. “There is never a substitution for adult supervision in the water, and wearing a life jacket can save a life,” he said.

Lance and Danielle Bradshaw of Draper shared their harrowing experience from June 29, 2022, at Blackridge Reservoir. Danielle, a good swimmer, struggled to keep her children afloat after their raft flipped over. She was rescued by bystanders and revived by an off-duty police officer. “There’s no way to repay those who saved us,” said Danielle. “I realize now it’s always better to be safe and cautious than to be sorry.”

Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital offered additional water safety tips, including designating a “water watcher” to supervise children, ensuring everyone learns to swim, using Coast Guard-approved life jackets, and avoiding alcohol while swimming.

For more information about child safety and injury prevention, visit intermountainhealthcare.org/primary-childrens/wellness-prevention. There is a Life Jacket Loaner Station located at the Jordanelle Reservoir, as well as several other popular water recreation spots across Utah.

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