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Boating with a baby?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

We have been invited to go out boating with some friends for fathers day. We have a one year old son.

 

My question is have you and your family been boating with such young children? What are your views its safety? It is a speed boat, water skiing, tubing, wake boarding and that sort of thing

 

The family we will be going with have children and are very responsible, I have no question about their judgment or knowledge of boat safety, and the have a life jacket that will fit ds properly.

 

I would love to hear your thoughts as I am conflicted between thinking we should go have a fun day and on the other side thinking there is no reason to put ds in risk of the inherent danger that may go with boating???

 

Thanks in advance

post #2 of 26

I see no reason why you should not go boating with your son, provided he wears a fitted life jacket and sunscreen and protective clothing.   

 

(I knew someone who used to tie her child TO THE BOAT to keep him from jumping overboard.  For obvious reasons, this is not a good idea.)  

post #3 of 26

I agree it is safe.  Just make sure he's in a proper life jacket (one that will put him on his back in the water) and keep an eye on him.  Have fun!

post #4 of 26

we've only gone canoeing with our baby, but yes, with a properly fitted life jacket it is reasonably safe. of course, accidents can happen, but the risk wouldn't be high enough to deter me. i would consider having a plan b in place in case my dd wasn't happy on the boat though. she is a bit sensitive to lots of stimuli so i would wonder if she would enjoy the high speeds, noise of the motor and spray in her face. i would want to know if there was a place i could go with her off the boat if she wasn't enjoying it for some reason, only because i wouldn't want to ruin everyone else's fun by making them go slow so she wouldn't get frightened.

 

sounds like a fun day for everyone though! i wish i had friends to take me boating!

post #5 of 26

I should add, I would not count on your friends having the correct life jacket.   Life jackets for babies are a very specific kind of jacket that has a piece around the neck and the back of the head, to force the baby to flip over on its back.   Babies do not do this naturally in the water and will drown even in a fitted 'regular' jacket.

 

Your jacket needs to be a CG approved jacket that has the neck piece and is rated for infants under 30 lbs.  You should be able to find one in any of the big box stores (Target etc) or a sporting goods store. They're not terribly expensive, fortunately.  

post #6 of 26

You're in Vancouver ... Canada? In that case you may not be able to find a Transport Canada approved PFD for an infant, depending on the weight of your child. TC is not mandated to approve them below a certain weight. However, there is a great one for infants, which we used with DS when he was 6mth & 18mth on long camping/canoe trips. It is NOT approved by TC, b/c it can't be, however on the Salus Marine site, there is a letter from TC that we figured was as good as approval. TC approval starts at 25lbs I believe.

 

http://www.salusmarine.com/pdfs/transport_canada.pdf

 

If your friends have young children, that may be the model they already have, as it has been available in Canada for at least 5 years, and nothing else on the market really fit the bill when we were shopping for DS's first PFD.

 

It's quite similar to this one, which is available at MEC (I think there is a location in Vancouver).

http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524442622462&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374302701119

 

They have excellent re-sale value if you don't need it long term :)

post #7 of 26

We go boating all the time (almost every weekend) and my dc loves it. We canoe, kayak, speedboat. We keep life jackets on board but we don't wear them. I would make a 1 year old wear one though for the obvious reasons. Enjoy your day!!

post #8 of 26
Quote:
We keep life jackets on board but we don't wear them.

Please wear your lifejackets! I don't care how old your kids are--you should all be wearing then. You never know what might happen and wearing a PFD is hugely preventive against boating deaths.

"Lifejackets or personal flotation devices (PFDs) can prevent a significant number of childhood drowning or near drowning incidents. During 2003, CDC data showed that 62% of children that died in recreational boating related accidents were not wearing a PFD. Researchers believe 84% of boating related drowning could be prevented by correct use of PFDs."


"Nine out of 10 drownings occur in lakes or pools and most were within a few feet of safety. Most drowning victims had access to a Personal Flotation Device (PFD), but did not wear it. A wearable PFD can save your life – if you wear it."
post #9 of 26

We're pros on the boats and in the water. My SO is a doc he has it down pat. :)

post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by butterflylover View Post

We're pros on the boats and in the water. My SO is a doc he has it down pat. :)



Isn't that the same as saying "well I'm a good driver, so I don't need to wear a seatbelt" ? 

post #11 of 26

Nah....nothing unexpected ever happens when we boat as we aim to hit all scenarios before heading out and if it did we are equipped to handle it. We're serious boating pros. We go all the time for the past 15 years. We know what we can and cannot do. We are familiar with our water conditions and we know when not to go. 

post #12 of 26

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by butterflylover View Post

We're pros on the boats and in the water. My SO is a doc he has it down pat. :)



Who is the lifeguard? Your SO might be a doc, but that does no good if someone's quickly sinking to the bottom of the lake. Even if every one can swim, a hit in the head can knock someone out. Good swimmers drown all the time. I agree that not wearing a life jacket because nothing ever happens is the same as saying why use a car seat? Nothing ever happens when I drive.

post #13 of 26



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maedze View Post

I see no reason why you should not go boating with your son, provided he wears a fitted life jacket and sunscreen and protective clothing.   

 

(I knew someone who used to tie her child TO THE BOAT to keep him from jumping overboard.  For obvious reasons, this is not a good idea.)  



Actually, tying your child to the boat is an excellent idea. In fact they make safety harnesses that clip to the boat specifically for children (and adults). You clip them to a cental hard point in the boat to keep them from falling overboard unnoticed.

 

post #14 of 26
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for your thoughts, we did not end up going on the weekend because the weather didn't comply, but we will have lots of chances this summer. I have seen the life jacket they have for ds and its a great one. He is over 25 lbs so that makes it easier to find a good one!

It dosen't make sense to me to tie him to the boat, what if it somehow flipped??? He would be trapped, I feel much more comfortable making sure I hold on to him my self

 

Thanks again!

post #15 of 26

Er, no.  If the boat flips over, or becomes submerged, and the responsible adult is incapacitated, the child will be forcibly drowned, even in a life jacket!

 

 

For the person who is insisting that because they are familiar with water conditions and the SO is a doctor (say what?), they don't need to take responsible precautions, well, no, that's not how it works either.  
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by childsplay View Post



 



Actually, tying your child to the boat is an excellent idea. In fact they make safety harnesses that clip to the boat specifically for children (and adults). You clip them to a cental hard point in the boat to keep them from falling overboard unnoticed.

 



 

post #16 of 26

Did it have the neck/head support?  If it doesn't, it doesn't matter that he's over 25 lbs, because it's not appropriate for a one year old. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amanda1 View Post

Thank you all for your thoughts, we did not end up going on the weekend because the weather didn't comply, but we will have lots of chances this summer. I have seen the life jacket they have for ds and its a great one. He is over 25 lbs so that makes it easier to find a good one!

It dosen't make sense to me to tie him to the boat, what if it somehow flipped??? He would be trapped, I feel much more comfortable making sure I hold on to him my self

 

Thanks again!



 

post #17 of 26



Or, if the adult in charge of the child is say....steering the boat? Hoisting a sail? Occupied with other children? And the child wanders across the deck and leans over the side to see something he/she can be gone before you can bat your eye. There is a far, far greater chance of THAT happening than the boat flipping over. Actually, I've spent my entire life on boats and have yet to see one flip over,  but I've seen more than enough toddlers go overboard because they weren't attached to the boat - my own kids included. In rough waters a little kid doesn't stand much chance even with a life jacket on, when my little guy went over he almost drown, the lifejacket kept him up but not abover the chop which was constantly washing over his face and in his mouth. Plus, being so small it's hard to spot them, especially if you're in the water and there's waves in your face. So I'll take the chance of the boat 'flipping' anyday and keep my kids tethered when needed over doing a water rescue on an unconcious, hypothermic toddler, thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maedze View Post

Er, no.  If the boat flips over, or becomes submerged, and the responsible adult is incapacitated, the child will be forcibly drowned, even in a life jacket!

 

 

For the person who is insisting that because they are familiar with water conditions and the SO is a doctor (say what?), they don't need to take responsible precautions, well, no, that's not how it works either.  
 



 



 

post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by butterflylover View Post

We go boating all the time (almost every weekend) and my dc loves it. We canoe, kayak, speedboat. We keep life jackets on board but we don't wear them. I would make a 1 year old wear one though for the obvious reasons. Enjoy your day!!


Wow, this is plain bad advice and bad practice. I've dealt with boats my whole life. Knew how to haul in the boat, run the motor, care for the boat properly, haul in the lobster traps by the time I was 10 or so, and my cousins and I were allowed to go solo by 12, but the one thing I would never, ever do is go on a boat without a life preserver. I even have a hard time riding a ferry without a preserver on because this important safety lesson is so entrenched. I agree with pp.....boating without your preserver on is like saying that your car is safe because it has seat belts. Gotta wear 'em, people!
post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maedze View Post

Did it have the neck/head support?  If it doesn't, it doesn't matter that he's over 25 lbs, because it's not appropriate for a one year old. 
 



 


I have never seen a life jacket in Canada that's approved for kids that DOESN'T have neck/head support.  I've only ever seen ones that don't offer neck support in the sizes that would be appropriate for older kids (50lbs and up)/adults.  So unless the people you are boating with have an ancient life jacket, there is no doubt in my mind that it will have neck/head support if it fits for his weight range.

 

And transport Canada does approve life vests for 20lbs and up, for those looking.  My 2 1/2 year old is 24 lbs and is in a transport Canada approved life vest, rated for 20-30lbs.

 

post #20 of 26
One of our family stories is about my dad hitting a (hidden) stump in the lake and the boat flipping over. He righted the boat and used a long handled fishing net to scoop his two life-jacket wearing toddlers back in before heading over to rescue my mom. She was a poor swimmer but was pleading with him to "get the girls first!".


My dad was and is a very experienced boater. We were all so grateful to have been well protected that day and we tell the story to anyone who will listen as a warning with a happy ending.
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