Essentia Health, Kohl’s gives kids life-saving jacketEssentia Health-St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital and Kohl’s Department Store in Duluth are teaming up to give kids free life jackets just before Memorial Day Weekend.
Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital and Kohl’s Department Store in Duluth are teaming up to give kids free life jackets just before Memorial Day Weekend.
With a $45,277 grant from Kohl’s Cares for Kids, the two organizations are working together on “Alive with Life Jackets,” a campaign to reduce accidental drowning.
To help keep children and teens safe, Essentia Health and Kohl’s plan to distribute 1,300 free life jackets from 4-6 p.m. Thursday in the department store’s parking lot at 2115 Miller Trunk Highway, Duluth.
The event also encourages adults to become “Water Watchers” who pledge to give their undivided attention to children who are swimming.
Drowning consistently ranks among the top causes of accidental death for children, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. It’s also a leading cause of death for adults in Minnesota. And most boating deaths occur because people are not wearing life jackets.
“Children drown quickly and silently — they just disappear under the water,” says Jenn Hoff, injury prevention coordinator for Essentia Health’s Trauma Services. “It can happen in as little as 30 seconds. Often children drown while an adult is nearby but distracted by a conversation, a phone call or reading.”
Federal law requires all children under age 13 to wear a life jacket on any boat or watercraft that’s not docked. Life jackets are recommended also for children who are on docks or playing along beaches or shorelines.
“We want parents and kids to think about wearing a life jacket in the same way that they think about wearing a seat belt or using a car seat,” Hoff says. “We want to instill healthy habits for life.”