Boating With Your Kids Can Actually Be Fun!
Boating is a wonderful summer activity and a great way to bond with your children, even the smallest ones! Needless to say, boating safety is still a concern when bringing your little ones on board.
What’s NOT needless to say, however, is that boating safety may not be the same as you remember it when you were still single and commitment free. There are a few extra things you need to keep in mind. Some of them simply come with the territory of being a parent. Others aren’t as obvious.
1) Batten down… …everything.
Think all of your boat equipment is secure and ship-shape? Look again through the eyes of a toddler. Those little hands and feet can sequeeze, climb and run in places you may not even think of. Houses have enough safety hazards as it is, but boats are required to have much more dangerous equipment. Ever wonder what a toddler can plunder into? Use your imagination. The results are pretty scary. Store your equipment properly. And on that note…
2) Now you see them… …wait… where did he go!?
Every parent knows that children are natural-born escape artists. One minute, they’re on the couch playing with LEGOs. Turn your head for a second and suddenly they’re recreating a Picasso on the dining room wall with your Sharpie collection. Lose track of them on a boat, and the results could mean more than just a date with Mr. Clean. Don’t be fooled into letting a personal floatation device be a baby-sitter. Pay attention to your children. Simple as that.
3) Water safety 101… for both of you.
Chances are, if you’re bringing your child on a boat for the first time, he already knows how to swim and/or has had extensive swimming lessons. He probably is fearless when it comes to all things H2O and takes to water like a fish. That’s wonderful and all, but there’s a fine line to toe. Some children see little difference between the safe, climate controlled swimming pool and the large body of wild water below them that houses dangerous rip currents, waves and swells. Assume nothing. The safest thing to do is to explain and discuss the difference before ever crossing the gangplank.
4) Only preserves lives when it’s worn
Babies are typically easier to outfit with a personal floatation device. They’ll complain a little, but there’s little they can do to disturb its purpose. Toddlers on the other hand can wriggle out of them fairly easily, leaving them vulnerable should they fall overboard. Even when properly spoken to, it can still seem like a battle.
Part of the battle, though, is realizing that trying to keep your toddler comfortable in his life jacket is probably doing the exact opposite. Life jackets are meant to be snug and fitting. Keeping it loose not only poses a safety hazard, but is probably getting on your toddler’s nerves. Put it on properly, and not only will you reduce complaints, but it will be very unlikely that he can wriggle out of it or pull it off as well.
Sure, there’s a few extra things to remember, but boating with your little one doesn’t have to be a scary, hair-raising experience. It can be safe, fun, and an experience that none of you will ever forget.
First Baldwin Insurance