Little kids in raft - Mountain Buzz

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Old 07-11-2005   #1
Lafayette, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 33
Little kids in raft

I've got a 3 yr old, and I was wondering what other's do for safety on the water.
No intentions of taking him in anything more than sporadic class III sections.
I was thinking of clipping his lifejacket (quickdraw) to his mom's life jacket as needed.
Any other ideas?
We've only had him on flatwater trips (like Ruby/Horesethief), but we will be spending 2 weeks in Montana/Idaho, and plan on spending all our time floating the classic fly fishing rivers.
We were going to float Pumphouse-Dotsero this weekend w him as a test.
As for my experience level-
I've just been kayaking for the last 10 yrs, but "back in the day" I lived out of rafts in Alaska- working for Fish and Wildlife, guided fly fishing trips in Alaska, and managed a class V+ first decent up there as well. I played college water polo, and am confident of my swimming abilty if need be.
My concern w the little man is mostly that he will jump out, as he has no fear.

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Old 07-11-2005   #2
WhiteLightning's Avatar
Eagle County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 971
He should be ok if you feel good about your rowing skills. Take him down the Upper C and explain that he needs to hold on when you tell him to or something. Be careful with clipping people to anything. I'm not sure I would do that. I can think of too many ways that could result in problems.
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Old 07-11-2005   #3
Dave Frank's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
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Scott, I've been taking Riley (now almost 4) on easy floatsw since before he could walk. He always has a passenger specificallly to hold him. I've thought about, but resisted clipping him to his keeper. All safety classes say never to tie anything to anyone, but you may be on to something here. The only close call we've had, was when my wife hit a rock on pumphouse while I was restuffing the bow bag. The dog ws pitched over board and I just barely grabbed my boy before he went out. A simple clip would have negated this. I've thought about rigging something ever since. Maybe the same teather that you might use on a rescue vest for towing? I'm sure lots of folks will say its a bad idea, but I think if it is set up so the kid wears the ring and the tether doubles back to you, so he would never be left with a dangerous leash to tangle on, it might be a good choice. A fastex buckle or a 'beaner on the kid would certainly be nice and easy, but hard to disengage if it were ever under load. Obviously this only helps the really little kids. Once they are strong enough to swim a rapid, they should not be tied to anything.
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Old 07-11-2005   #4
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 17
Re: Little kids in raft

Originally Posted by spf
....and managed a class V+ first decent up there as well.
Scott, sorry - I have no information regarding kids and rafting, but what was your first descent? Just curious.
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Old 07-11-2005   #5
Lafayette, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 33
Thanks for the input guys.
First decent was the Allen River, it's in the Wood-Tikchik chain (fly out of Dillingham).
I worked for Fish & Wildlife there for a year, before realizing Govt employment wasnt for me.
We used to fly over it year the water was super high, it covered a lot of hazards, and turned waterfalls into pour-overs.
Did it on a free week, w my friend and boss, a couple of the mechanics who worked on our float planes, the woman who ran our base camp, and my dog.
Dog (Jed) and woman (Martha) hiked out/around the nastiness.
No troubles, it was just fun.
Only epic I recall was self induced through over consumption of the hydroponic ganja the mechanics brought...I temporarily lost the abilty to speak.
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Old 07-11-2005   #6
Lafayette, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 33 for the tether:
I was thinking of using a short quickdraw clipped from his back, to his keepers rescue belt.
I can't see how he could get bumped or jump out that way, and worse case scenerio being they both swim...he would be right at your chest.
I may not even worry about it, but I was just curious as to options.
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Old 07-11-2005   #7
Evergreen, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Mar 2004
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I think that the fast tex buckle with a carabiner shoud be on both the kid and the mom so that it can be released from either end. The only other issue that I could see it managing temperature of the kid. kids get cold fast and at the same time overheat quickly. If he did have a long swim that could be pretty dangerous.

my 2 cents,

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Old 07-11-2005   #8
whip's Avatar
Salida, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 571

Tether lines can hook on oar locks, chicken lines, submerged branches. or who knows. If you tether him you better give him a big ass knife and teach
him how to use it. I know a fine young kayaker, locally now in his 20's, who's boated around the world that took a trip under the raft with his momma
at Black Rock on Ruby at less than 2 years of age. I'd say have someone hold him and realize there is always risk around a river.
No amount of money is worth your free time!
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Old 07-11-2005   #9
Join Date: Jul 2005
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I started rafting when I was 4 (Brown's Canyon and other III's) but never had any special set-ups. In addition to the countless safety issues with a tether system, it takes a lot of the fun out of it for a little kid and the rig can make sitting in the raft uncomfortable. I was always just put in the raft next to an adult or two and told to hold on. This worked great. Lots of fun and relatively safe.
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Old 07-13-2005   #10
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 373
If your going to take your kids, don't use a tether. That should go with out saying.

If you want your kid to be on the river, someone should have them with in arms reach at all times. Ropes/tethers are asking for carnage. The extra time it takes to have someone with the kid at all times is worth it. Remember you're the one taking them to a potentially dangerous situation, they would be just as happy on the slip n slide with some cool-aid.

STeve (got kids).
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