Kids Life Jacket Loaner Program

Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death for children and young adults. Even being a strong swimmer is no guarantee of safety; injury from boating accidents, hypothermia, and currents can all contribute to drowning. The best defense on the water is to wear a properly-fitted life jacket, also called a Personal Flotation Device (PFD), or life vest. These not only help you stay afloat, but they can also help keep you warmer in cold water. Life vests need to be Coast Guard approved, and need to be properly fitted for the wearer. Inflatable toys and "water wings" are not PFDs. While wearing a life jacket on a boat is required for children 12 and under, it’s a good idea for everyone to wear a vest while boating. Kids learn by watching their parents, so it’s important to set a good example.

The Palatine Fire Department, in cooperation with the Boat/US Foundation provides Coast Guard approved life jackets in a range of children’s sizes for short-term loan at no cost, as part of the Foundation’s "Life Jacket Loaner Program for Kids." We have life vests available to fit children up to 90 lbs with a chest size up to 29." Some basic information, including a driver’s license number is all that’s needed to check out a life jacket for up to two weeks. Remember to bring your child(ren) with you if possible to ensure they’re properly fitted. If you only need a life jacket once or twice a year, this is a great alternative to purchasing a vest! For more information on the program, call the Fire Department at 847-202-6340 regular business hours. View an information sheet on the Kids Life Jacket Loaner program (PDF).

Life-jacketed boy putting a worm on a hook.Get Your Life Jacket

Life jackets are available at the following locations:

  • Fire Station 82, 1475 North Hicks Road
  • Fire Station 83, 987 East Palatine Road
  • Fire Station 84, 220 West Illinois Avenue
  • Fire Station 85, 39 East Colfax Street

Have fun this summer, and stay safe at the same time. Wear your life jacket on or around the water. Remember, "They float, you don’t!"