New buzzer and kids PFD's - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 07-15-2015   #1
 
Portland, Oregon
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 12
New buzzer and kids PFD's

Hi all. Name's Justin and I've been really enjoying/benefitting from the Buzz forum so I thought I'd join. I'm primarily a raft so I can camp/fish instead of thrill seeker type but in general if I'm floating on the water I'm happy.

My current ride is a 14'9" NRS Sport from oh, way back when (20+ years) with a 2x6 wooden frame. It's awesome. Got a blown thwart and someone once painted it white, sort of. It was given to me and I lovingly call it the White Wonder.

I got 2 girls (5 and 2.5) and they each been on the easy sections of the Clack. The 5 year old got introduced to rafting with a 4 day trip on the John Day when she was 2.5. She loved it.

Well on to a question! I've got two PFD's for the older one (roughly 38 lbs.) One is a type III (first pic) that I picked up at Next Adventure. But I'm a bit anxious about it not having the head float so I picked up the Stohlquist Nemo (second pic). Any advice about the type III vs the Nemo? We're heading to the family friendly section of the Rogue (class II) this weekend so it will be the biggest water they've seen.

For the 2.5 daughter 25lbs. I've got the jacket in the 3rd pic. Stearns Splash Zone.

She seems comfortable in it but wanted to ask the community if there is something else I should be considering for the youngest.

Neither can swim but the oldest is close.

Thanks and I look forward to being a part of the Buzz world!
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Old 07-15-2015   #2
 
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Longmont, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 227
As far as flotation amount, check them out in a pool to see how they float. You've already done the most important thing for kids - you got a crotch strap - way to go.

Have fun with the little ones. You'll build a lifetime of memories.
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Old 07-15-2015   #3
 
Portland, Oregon
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 12
oh yeah crotch strap was non negotiable. we'll be in a pool tomorrow, good idea. thanks.
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Old 07-15-2015   #4
Jared
 
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Dundee, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 730
Two things, welcome to the Buzz! I have a 4 and 7 year old that I pretty much train to swim with their PFDs on. I think it's important that they are adept to swimming with their pfds on in all conditions. I found an awesome place on the North Santiam to have them swim also, just below Santiam state park at the bottom of the island. Both of my kids have fallen of a raft and a tube on the lower Clack this year with great success. I don't have either of them in a jacket that floats them onto their back. They both have crotch straps.
I really need to start getting them to swim in the pool more without pfds. I think they are getting short changed a little bit by always relying on their flotation to swim.
Second thing, I am an Oregon Whitewater association member, if you are based out of Portland I invite you to our club. The fees are reasonable, and only a few club events a year more than pay for the annual dues. We have a great safety program in place, and it is set to grow more in the future. I have been a member for 2 years now, and I will continue to be. There are many families with kids of all ages. We all get to learn from each other and support each other on trips. It has been great!
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Old 07-16-2015   #5
 
Portland, Oregon
Join Date: Jul 2015
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Thanks Learch! Where can I find the club details?

So you have your 4 year old without the head float huh? How did she float when she fell in? Was it in a rapid or flat water?
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Old 07-16-2015   #6
Jared
 
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Dundee, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Jul 2010
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Here is a link to our website, Oregon Whitewater Association | Oregon's Premier Whitewater Rafting Club

Two of the major club events and draws to the club for me is the river safety training class every April, and a wilderness first aid class in September. These are 2-3 day classes instructed by some of the best instructors in the west. The club pays for most of the expenses in these courses, the river safety training was $70 total for the weekend this year.
I haven't taken the wilderness first aid course yet, but from what I hear it is an even more valuable skill set than the river safety training.
Emma fell backwards off the tube in about 5 feet of flat water just below the end of Mciver park where the big clay bank is river left. She popped up facing the raft and immediately started swimming on her tummy towards the raft. My friends wife bailed off the raft and helped her get back in. She was definitely startled, but not scared by it. She wasn't riding in the tube going down the rapids, just in the flat areas where they could swim safely. I will pm you some other info too.
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Old 07-16-2015   #7
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Bellevue, Idaho
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Join Date: May 2005
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I may be the lone voice of dissent but at five years old she should have a proper whitewater PFD that fits correctly without a crotch strap. We started with something similar to those when they were 1.5 and 2.5 when they started rafting class 1 and easy class 2. By 3.5 yrs old I had my youngest in the NRS Youth PFD. I tested it extensively to make sure I could grab her by one shoulder strap and haul her in easily.

The pfds with the large wings around the head may be useful if they are completely unconscious and floating out of a Class 4 rapid. I have found that most kids hate them and they ride up into their crotch strap because they don't have the adjustments over the top of shoulders and the appropriate side adjustments to actually get a good fit. I also think it is good practice for later boating to have something that is actually snug around their body so they can practice active swimming, not passive floating. Your Kids May Vary.

On a side note. I contacted our local pool and got permission during a slow time to do throw bag practice in one end of the pool away. Made sure mine knew how to grab and roll to their back and not ever wrap the line around their hands.

Not faulting you on wanting a crotch strap as that would seem to be the 'safer' call, but I don't like these ill-fitting behemoths at all. These pics are at 3.5 yrs old ( rowing) and 4.5 (sleeping). Every time we boated I would check the adjustment for the clothing of the day. And actually pick them up with it to make sure it wouldn't come off. She is 10 now and still wearing the same PFD. She will be ready for something else in a year or two. My oldest who is 13 has outgrown hers this year finally. With all the adjustments we just kept moving it out.



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Old 07-16-2015   #8
 
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Longmont, Colorado
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I wasn't commenting on the type of the pfd itself. No problem with a more whitewater-friendly pfd, but I know of several absolute tragedies where the child was able to slide out of the pfd and drowned. If you want a pfd for bigger water, then you can do what I did for a time with my grandkids. I ran a short cam strap through the arm hole and between the legs. It doesn't have to be tight. It can be adjusted for comfort.
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Old 07-16-2015   #9
 
Portland, Oregon
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 12
Carvedog, first that is an awesome profile pic! I was practicing that with my kids this morning, just in the kitchen instead of real water. Now my 5 year old can't wait for me to "throw her in the pool" to practice a flip.

I think you raise a fair point about teaching them with a standard white water pfd. My kids are just not good swimmers (or even at all) yet. So I personally feel more comfortable with the head support. Have your kids ever fallen out in a rapid? If so how did their bodies handle without the head support?

Popping them back up face first is one thing. Teaching them when to breathe in a rapid is another. But again, the safest choice for me is to just keep it to easy water and take the safest route.

Thanks again for the good conversation. Sounds like a bunch of parents that take their kids safety seriously.
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Old 07-16-2015   #10
Jared
 
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Dundee, Oregon
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I always check fitment on anybody I am responsible for. (Adults and kids alike) I pick them up regularly by the PFD even during the trips to ensure fitment. You are right Carvedog, it is time for me to outfit both of mine with the NRS youth PFD. But up to this point, they have been fitting properly in the non whitewater/ no flap PFDs.
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