Health Report: Fairbanks coalition sponsors borough-wide life jacket stands for kids

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska Across the Fairbanks North Star Borough there are free-to-borrow life jacket stations for the ‘Kids Don’t Float’ campaign.

Across the Fairbanks North Star Borough there are free-to-borrow life jacket stations for the ‘Kids Don’t Float’ campaign. (Carly Sjordal/KTVF)

The ‘Kids Don’t Float’ campaign initially started in Homer, Alaska in 1996. It has not only spread awareness across the state but grew to become a national and worldwide campaign. Corlis Taylor, a coordinator for the ‘Safe Kids Coalition’ was there to explain more.

"’The Fairbanks Safe Kids Coalition’ is part of ‘Safe Kids World Wide’, which is an international program that's focused on children-childhood injury prevention," said Taylor.

The Fairbanks Memorial Hospital is the sponsor for the local Safe Kids Coalition in Fairbanks and has been working with a number of local partners to help with maintenance and find sponsors for life jacket stations across recreational bodies of water in Alaska.

Taylor says the idea is, "kids can't float, so give them something that does."

The Safe Kids Coalition want it to be known that there should be a life jacket for every passenger on a boat and kids should wear life jackets even when playing near the water.

"So our boards have adult sized life jackets all the way down to our infant size life jackets and everything in between." said Taylor.

In Alaska the fatality rate for drowning is 4-5 times the national average. Drowning is also the second leading cause of death for children in Alaska and over 90 percent of fatality victims were not wearing life jackets according to their website www.kidsdontfloat.alaska.gov . Taylor says this program is especially important in Alaska because 3 quarters of our population live near or on the water.

Members of the community can help by donating life jackets to any of the life jacket stations or sponsoring the cause.