would you take your kids whitewater rafting? UPDATE #76 - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 80 Old 06-20-2010, 08:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Would you take your kids whitewater rafting (using a rafting company)?

Assume you have kids my kids' ages -- 7 and 13.


Thanks for the opinions.

(PS. Life jackets would be worn, of course)

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#2 of 80 Old 06-20-2010, 08:51 PM
 
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Sure. Depending on the river and the class of the rapids. But generally, if your going with a rafting company they're pretty used to kids and know what different age groups can handle, so yeah. Why not?
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#3 of 80 Old 06-20-2010, 08:51 PM
 
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Yes, if they knew how to swim, and for the 7 yr a life jacket. But then again I had free range kids (now 32 and 29), and they did stuff nobody else was allowed to do. If you are comfortable and they want to do it, along with proper instruction in white water rafting, I say go for it!
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#4 of 80 Old 06-20-2010, 08:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Sure. Depending on the river and the class of the rapids. But generally, if your going with a rafting company they're pretty used to kids and know what different age groups can handle, so yeah. Why not?
near Yellowstone, class II and III rapids.


I was fine with it until I read on the website where they say, "You probably won't fall out of the raft."

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#5 of 80 Old 06-20-2010, 08:52 PM
 
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Yes, as long as they meet the company guidelines, the company runs a family-style rafting trip, they can swim, and most important, they follow directions well most of the time. No, if those criteria were not met.

What would make me hesitate were if your 7 year old were at the absolute bottom of the appropriate age range - I might wait a year in that case.

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#6 of 80 Old 06-20-2010, 08:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes, if they knew how to swim, and for the 7 yr a life jacket. But then again I had free range kids (now 32 and 29), and they did stuff nobody else was allowed to do. If you are comfortable and they want to do it, along with proper instruction in white water rafting, I say go for it!
They really, really want to do this. Dh really wants us to do this, too.


PS. I love the term "free-range" kids.

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#7 of 80 Old 06-20-2010, 08:54 PM - Thread Starter
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What would make me hesitate were if your 7 year old were at the absolute bottom of the appropriate age range - I might wait a year in that case.
You have to be at least 50 lbs. He weighs 60-something, and he's only a few weeks away from being 8. He's still learning to swim, but he'd be wearing a life jacket.

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#8 of 80 Old 06-20-2010, 08:55 PM
 
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near Yellowstone, class II and III rapids.


I was fine with it until I read on the website where they say, "You probably won't fall out of the raft."
Well... class III might make me hesitate a bit actually. Have they been on similar adventures?

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#9 of 80 Old 06-20-2010, 08:55 PM
 
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No I would not. Even professionals die in white water, we had a very experienced one die here last year and his body was never recovered. There was also a family that lost a coulple members last year when they went on water they shouldn't have been on. I am leary of rivers though because I almost drowned in our really calm one when I was snagged on a tree branch under the water. I would probably let my child float with a life jacket on a mild river when she is a stronger swimmer and she has an adult who is a strong swimmer with her, but not white water.
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#10 of 80 Old 06-20-2010, 09:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Well... class III might make me hesitate a bit actually. Have they been on similar adventures?
No, they haven't.

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#11 of 80 Old 06-20-2010, 09:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Dh is a very adventurous kind of parent, and I'm always the one holding back, worried about the safety issues.

We try to meet in the middle, but sometimes it's hard for us to know where that "middle" is, yk?

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#12 of 80 Old 06-20-2010, 09:04 PM
 
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yes- took dd 6 and ds 3 on a four day raft adn camp trip with friends (experienced rafers have their own rafts)- the class iv would be a lot but you can always walk around a rapid. kids loved it- was very safe if you do it smartly and have someone who really knows the river.
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#13 of 80 Old 06-20-2010, 09:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Ugh, I want to protect them but not overprotect them, yk? I want to raise ambitious, confident kids. So I often find conflicts in what I want to let them do, and yet don't want to let them do!!

If we do go, I'm going to have them wear helmets as well as life jackets.

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#14 of 80 Old 06-20-2010, 09:11 PM
 
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Ugh, I want to protect them but not overprotect them, yk? I want to raise ambitious, confident kids. So I often find conflicts in what I want to let them do, and yet don't want to let them do!!

If we do go, I'm going to have them wear helmets as well as life jackets.
I was just talking to my husband about your dilemma and we agreed our first step would be to call the company and get a human being and talk to that person about what it's like and any concerns they might have. I think more information would be good. The WW rafting trips I've been on that were organized by companies all included helmets as far as I remember.

~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
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#15 of 80 Old 06-20-2010, 09:12 PM
 
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Sure, class 2 and 3 rapids are really fairly minor - enough to be fun, but not really dangerous yet, IMO, so long as you have some idea of how to swim and have a life jacket on (which you *ALWAYS* will when rafting *regardless* of age, unless your an idiot!!).
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#16 of 80 Old 06-20-2010, 09:13 PM - Thread Starter
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I was just talking to my husband about your dilemma and we agreed our first step would be to call the company and get a human being and talk to that person about what it's like and any concerns they might have. I think more information would be good. The WW rafting trips I've been on that were organized by companies all included helmets as far as I remember.
I did just call.

Good idea! He said it would be safe for my 7 yo., and they could provide helmets for me if I wanted. But their website pictures don't show helmets.

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#17 of 80 Old 06-20-2010, 09:16 PM
 
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Class III is absolutely NOT MINOR. I was knocked unconscious in a class II rapid and suffered a traumatic brain injury even with a helmet. Granted, I was in a white water kayak, not a raft, but just want to put it out there that the water in class II can be moving pretty swiftly, and eddy lines are very difficult to navigate, especially if you do not weigh a whole lot. Make sure all of you have life jackets and helmets on. I don't think I would bring my child, but my past experience gives me a little bit of a bias.

Formerly single Mama to the zaniest boy on the block, born on my birthday on 3/28/07. Soon to be Mama to a new little and can't wait to bfinfant.gif and femalesling.GIF and familybed1.gif again! 
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#18 of 80 Old 06-20-2010, 09:16 PM
 
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Does your 7 year old follow instructions well? Is he inclined to stay calm in an emergency? If he does fall out, would he remember and do what he was told (something like to float on his back with his feet downstream, for example)?

I would have taken my oldest on those types of rapids at that age, but probably not my middle child.

I would call the rafting center and discuss you concerns with them.

I loved the few times I've been whitewater rafting and look forward to taking my kids at some point - I was considering taking all three on a class II trip (ages 5 and up permitted ) this summer, but the cold water temps in Washington state (where we are going on vacation) have me reconsidering.

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#19 of 80 Old 06-20-2010, 09:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Class III is absolutely NOT MINOR. I was knocked unconscious in a class II rapid and suffered a traumatic brain injury even with a helmet. Granted, I was in a white water kayak, not a raft, but just want to put it out there that the water in class II can be moving pretty swiftly, and eddy lines are very difficult to navigate, especially if you do not weigh a whole lot. Make sure all of you have life jackets and helmets on. I don't think I would bring my child, but my past experience gives me a little bit of a bias.
Oh scary!!

Things like this make me want to scream "No!" but then I think about the 13 yo. scaling Everest and the 16 yo. sailing solo around the world, and I think "let your kids live a little!"

So my brain is going crazy trying to decide.

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#20 of 80 Old 06-20-2010, 09:19 PM
 
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I did just call.

Good idea! He said it would be safe for my 7 yo., and they could provide helmets for me if I wanted. But their website pictures don't show helmets.
I absolutely would not go with a company that did not require helmets. Dangerous and not worth the risk. Do you really want to be on a boat going down a river with the possibility of a fellow rafter falling out of the boat and smashing their head wide open on a rock? Think about the "fun" pictures you see of a boat with one end up in the air and then judge the distance you would fall out of that onto a ROCK. You could absolutely die falling from that height, or at the very least be knocked unconscious and be washed down river. Not a reputable company if they don't require and provide basic safety equipment.

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#21 of 80 Old 06-20-2010, 09:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Does your 7 year old follow instructions well? Is he inclined to stay calm in an emergency?
Yes he follows instructions well but no, he would not stay very calm if he fell out (I probably wouldn't either!)

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#22 of 80 Old 06-20-2010, 09:19 PM
 
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People die falling down stairs and walking down the street too. Doesn't mean we don't let'm do it. A rafting drip advertised as 'class 2 & 3' tells me its almost certainly 80% class 2 and just a tiny bit of class 3 thrown in, probably at the end. I'd do it in a heartbeat, as would dh. Honestly, we can't wait for our boys to get old enough to go rafting & rock climbing & backpacking, etc. Can. Not. Wait.
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#23 of 80 Old 06-20-2010, 09:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, some of you say no, and some of you say yes.

You sound like my brain.


I do appreciate all of the opinions, though!

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#24 of 80 Old 06-20-2010, 09:24 PM
 
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Well, some of you say no, and some of you say yes.

You sound like my brain.


I do appreciate all of the opinions, though!
If you do decide to go, please, please wear life jackets and helmets. All of you. Yes, people die falling down stairs, but why not use safety equipment if it is provided? Have fun and stay safe!

Formerly single Mama to the zaniest boy on the block, born on my birthday on 3/28/07. Soon to be Mama to a new little and can't wait to bfinfant.gif and femalesling.GIF and familybed1.gif again! 
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#25 of 80 Old 06-20-2010, 09:26 PM
 
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I did just call.

Good idea! He said it would be safe for my 7 yo., and they could provide helmets for me if I wanted. But their website pictures don't show helmets.
I'd believe him. Have fun!

~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
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#26 of 80 Old 06-20-2010, 09:29 PM - Thread Starter
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If you do decide to go, please, please wear life jackets and helmets. All of you. Yes, people die falling down stairs, but why not use safety equipment if it is provided? Have fun and stay safe!

This makes sense. Thanks!

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#27 of 80 Old 06-20-2010, 09:36 PM
 
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I would if that were something my kids would enjoy!

I used to go white water rafting before I had kids and I LOVED it. When you go with a tour, you have a guide who goes through those rapids every day (or at least several times a week). The guide is steering and knows the best course. It isn't the same as being in light weight boat on your own.

However, I have a child with autism and vacation items like this aren't possible for our family. I hope you go and have fun!!!!

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#28 of 80 Old 06-21-2010, 12:07 AM
 
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There was a Mothering article about a year ago featuring a mother who took her boys rafting at the end of their summer break... it was a great article...do you think it's on the website here somewhere?

mommy to Christopher 2/29/08
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#29 of 80 Old 06-21-2010, 12:40 AM
 
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I've been rafting several times & have brought my girl guides rafting on 3 different occassions. In my experience the companies are VERY safety minded & wouldn't hesitate to bring my child. Many companies have different sets of rapids/rules they use for children under 90lbs. We had a girl once who wasn't 90lbs yet & she couldn't participate with the other girls.

I have never seen a company who doesn't provide lifejackets & helmets & don't think I'd feel comfortable using one who did. Even when I went in Costa Rica they used the same standards as I'm used to in Canada.

Is it an activity with some risk - yes. But it's also a fabulous experience & the risks are manageable.

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#30 of 80 Old 06-21-2010, 12:43 AM
 
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I forgot to add that every time I've gone the river guides have been VERY good about adjusting the trip to suit the people in their boat. So the time I had a really brave, rambuctious group of girls the guide had has trying some more challenging stuff & taking rougher lines. When I had a quieter, more cautious group the guide kept to the easiest lines & when we went through the more challenging areas he had the girls duck down in the boat to really minimize the chance of anyone falling in.

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