Originally Posted by Roguelawyer
I have six kids with the oldest being 17. In my opinion the most dangerous thing kids do these days, the biggest threat to their well being and safety . . . is X-Box live. I would prefer my kids' chances with the long term consequences of rafting and mountain climbing over sitting on the couch for hours on end having their minds and bodies turn to mush. Not to mention the language and content of the other players online.
Totally agree with that, and this is coming from someone who grew up playing old school Mario for hours on end. We literally told the kids to leave their Nintendo DS's at their mom's next weekend, because all they do is fight over them and play games alllllll day. But when the video games are taken away, it's like magic in their brains. Suddenly they have imagination again, they're happy, they want to play in the snow, learn how to snowboard, go sledding, have hot chocolate, play with Barbies and board games.
We got them all on the river this year, and it's been fantastic. But we're very careful in the way we calculate the risks. If it's going to be windy and cold, we don't bring them. If we don't know the run, we don't bring them. If the water's too high, we don't bring them. If the water's too cold, we don't bring them.
We let the older two (9 & 7) paddle their own kayaks, while the little one sits in one of our laps-- he fell asleep on the river the last time we kayaked with them. When we raft, the little guy sits between us, and one of us is always prepared to bail after the kids should there be a swim... but we also don't take them anywhere we think there would be a swim, especially if it's just he and I with all three kids. We trust ourselves with self rescues and swims... but those kids are precious and we can't take our chances with losing them.
They got to go down two sections of river this year-- Yampa in Steamboat, and Pumphouse. They kayak the class I section of the Yampa--- we're not even ready to bring them kayak the rest of the town run, despite us knowing it better than our own back yard and having hundreds of runs down it at this point...
Kinda like the water slide... you don't get to go down until you've proven you're a capable swimmer. We do let them swim through C Hole over and over and practice swimming across the river with their life jackets on. And I guess we did let them paddle through it a couple times while one of us was in the water swimming and the other in a boat for rescues.
Just like anything on the river, it's all personal choices and calculated risks. But in my opinion, those kids are too young to calculate the fact that if all of them end up in the water, they're essentially on their own.