How young is TOO YOUNG ????? - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 07-09-2009   #1
 
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How young is TOO YOUNG ?????

So rivers are inherently dangerous. No matter how you look at it from flatwater to class VI there is more danger here than most places and situations the average person finds themselves in on earth.

Anyway with a clouded (biased) mind I would think it okay to take a newborn on a flatwater stretch, I have not mind you, I am just saying I would think a raft trip on flatwater would be okay for a small child/newborn (with a lifejacket of course). On the other hand I bet I could find someone that is staunchly against any river activity for an adolescent at all.

My question to you is what do you think? How young is too young to go floating?

Would you consider someone stupid to take a >1 year old on a raft on flatwater?

If there was an accident what would you think if there was a >1 year old involved? What about a >2 year old, and 3?

Remember that rivers are random, anything can happen. You can always blame lack of preparation but that is not what this question is about. This is about subjecting an incapable/helpless child to happenstance, and what age should something happen would be predictable or a "figures" or "told you so" age?

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Old 07-09-2009   #2
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this isn't rocket science people (no offense russ). start your kids slow where you have for all practical purposes no chance of your infant swimming. so lets say you are competent boater you can probably run the san juan at 3000 with your 7 month old (I did).

today I took my 3 year old through smelter rapid at 1000. for all practical purposes I had no chance of flipping. some other people might flip there and should not take their 3 year old.

once they are older and can swim around a bit on their own you can maybe go to where they have a small chance of swimming but the consequences would not be too bad.

when they are 11 or 12 and going for it, the grand canyon should be fine. once they are 15 you can take them on almost anything if they like it and can swim.

but its all subjective depending on the kid, the oarsman, the flow, the weather, etc. the words COMMON SENSE come to mind.
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Old 07-09-2009   #3
 
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I've had a fair amount of discussion about this topic in the past. In my opinion, most people have a subjective notion of risk in which everyday risks are downplayed and unusual risks are considered more dangerous. For instance, it is dangerous to put your child in a car. There are lots of car accidents but it is considered socially acceptable to expose children to these risks as long as you take the proper precautions like car seats and seat belts. But we could ask, should we not let young children travel in cars? I think we don't because automobiles are a 'necessary' part of modern life, whereas running rivers isn't viewed as necessary.
I took my 8 month old daughter in a raft down Horsethief and Ruby canyons. I modified a car seat so it would float and she was always strapped in the seat and tethered to my wife or I with a short tether and quick release buckles on either end. Compared to the risk of her riding in a car on a daily basis, I think the chances of her being harmed in those conditions were relatively low. At a year or so old she was traveling in a canoe on relatively flat rivers, again in a floating car seat and tethered. We also knew other families who were taking their children in similar conditions. My wife and I had 20 years of river running experience when we began doing this. But we had limits. I wouldn't take my kid in a canoe on class III rapids. I know some people who did but if I wanted to do class III, I took a raft since I thought the odds of an upset were considerably less.
I don't think there's any cut and dried answer. It depends on the parent's and kid's skill and comfort level. And, no matter what, a lot of people are going to think you are irresponsible for taking kids on rivers at all.
I also think a parent has a much greater responsibility to a child they have taken on a river than to any other person they may boat with.
Curious as to how other people have thought this thru.
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Old 07-09-2009   #4
 
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Old 07-09-2009   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kerry edwards View Post
I modified a car seat so it would float and she was always strapped in the seat and tethered to my wife or I with a short tether and quick release buckles on either end.
so I know it is mania pick on kerry edwards day but did you or the US Coast Guard test this 'floating car seat' to be sure that it would stay upright in whitewater? is the PFD rated to work properly when strapped in a car seat? sounds completely sketchy to me.
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Old 07-09-2009   #6
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I posted almost this exact thread in may 2 years ago.. Good thoughts all the way around. How Young is too Young

Blake is now 2.5 yrs. He did a mellow Roaring Fork trip at the end of last summer. He did well at 1.5 yrs and was in a kids life jacket (straps under legs) and Amanda held on to him. He napped most of the trip. Good fun. This summer has been weird with a double peak. We'll get out in the next few weeks more.

I think this is very personal choice for a parent. What might seem incredibly dumb for me, might seem like a good idea for another.

Mania's comments are spot on.
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Old 07-09-2009   #7
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Dammit, Kevin, you beat me to it.
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Old 07-09-2009   #8
 
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Last summer my wife and I took our 8 month old down the Chama on the 4th of July weekend. I was super nervous to pull the trigger and go for it; after being on the water for a couple hundred yards we were comfortable with it. We had such a great time we did it again this year with our first son who is now 20 months along with our new son that is 8 months old. Obviously, We didn't take a planned parenthood class . Going to do the Chama again in the next 10 days with my wife's family.

I agree with Kerry on the drive being as dangerous or more dangerous than the float down the river.

My best advice/consierations would include:

1. Pick a river you are super comfortable with and respect it like tough whitewater.
2. Consider water and air temperatures for a newborns
3. Keep a PFD on them
4. Have an adult in charge of each young child (under 5)
5. Sunscreen/bug spray
6. Umbrella on your raft for shade
7. Be very careful in camp. I found it was much more dangerous for little kids starting to crawl and walk. Keep life jackets on them if camp is really close to the water.

On the last trip a week ago, we strapped a play pen on a deck board for the kids to lay in and sleep on the flatwater. Will post a picture soon.

Overall, these two trips have provided us with some of our fondest family memories so far. I would highly reccomend doing it if you and your wife decide to go for it. Bottom line, weigh the pros and cons. My kids are the most precious things in my life.

Brian
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Old 07-10-2009   #9
 
niwot, Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bshock View Post
Last summer my wife and I took our 8 month old down the Chama on the 4th of July weekend. I was super nervous to pull the trigger and go for it; after being on the water for a couple hundred yards we were comfortable with it. We had such a great time we did it again this year with our first son who is now 20 months along with our new son that is 8 months old. Obviously, We didn't take a planned parenthood class . Going to do the Chama again in the next 10 days with my wife's family.

I agree with Kerry on the drive being as dangerous or more dangerous than the float down the river.

My best advice/consierations would include:

1. Pick a river you are super comfortable with and respect it like tough whitewater.
2. Consider water and air temperatures for a newborns
3. Keep a PFD on them
4. Have an adult in charge of each young child (under 5)
5. Sunscreen/bug spray
6. Umbrella on your raft for shade
7. Be very careful in camp. I found it was much more dangerous for little kids starting to crawl and walk. Keep life jackets on them if camp is really close to the water.

On the last trip a week ago, we strapped a play pen on a deck board for the kids to lay in and sleep on the flatwater. Will post a picture soon.

Overall, these two trips have provided us with some of our fondest family memories so far. I would highly reccomend doing it if you and your wife decide to go for it. Bottom line, weigh the pros and cons. My kids are the most precious things in my life.

Brian
Brought back memories. I remember reading about a boater in Glenwood years ago who hit the abutement in south canyon and nearly drowned his daughter after a rope wrapped around her and held her under. This was in the early 80's. My rule with with my daughters was that I wouldn't take them (at 2- 2+ years) on anything I couldn't run blindfolded. That turned out to be pumphouse in low water. I had them swimming class1-2 at 5-6 years, and at 10 (with me along side) they swam lunch counter rapid on the Snake- at a manageable water level. Make sure you have the pfd sized for their weight and use the crotch strap for smaller boaters. Minimally you need a small (infant) size pfd, then a youth (sometimes even an intermediate jacket size before this) working your way up to larger weights. The flap in the back is a drag in the wind- but unless you insist on them wearing helmets- it really does provide good protection when swimming. I also had a wide variety of warm gear- a XXXXsm wetsuit for instance. If they have a cold lousy experience early on they won't want to come later when they really do have a choice.
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Old 07-10-2009   #10
 
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I told my kids they had to swim a length before they were allowed on a current. My six year old just made it, and now is asking to go in the kayak every night. I'm more conservative, but that's the line we drew.
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