Orlando-based Aegis Safety has developed a new type of life jacket that inflates only when users need it.
The Lifeshirt automatically inflates on submersion.
The carbon dioxide-activated inflation expands around the upper body and neck, keeping users’ head above water.
The flotation device wears like a shirt, which makes it more convenient for people reluctant to add extra accessories that may or may not be that comfortable.
This would apply particularly to children who refuse to wear life jackets or personal floatation devices, because they are bulky, uncomfortable or unfashionable.
The Lifeshirt also includes an oral inflation valve on the right shoulder, just like regular life jackets.
It’s a critical innovation with World Health Organisation figures showing that 370,000 people die each year from drowning
It is estimated that 84 percent of boating fatalities occurred when flotation devices were not being worn.