Mountain Buzz banner

1 - 20 of 61 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
450 Posts
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?
 

·
no tengo
Joined
·
1,873 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
68 Posts
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.
 

·
no tengo
Joined
·
1,873 Posts
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.
 

·
I'm right 50% of the time
Joined
·
899 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
102 Posts
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
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
96 Posts
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.
wayne
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
701 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
68 Posts
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.
Nope. I think a company would be exposing themselves to way too high a liability in producing such a product. However, I did my own testing and experimentation to see what it would do in the water. I was confident that the placement of the flotation would keep the child face up under most conditions. However, either my wife or I were always tethered to it in case it didn't.
I'd like to know what other alternatives you think are better--seriously. (apart from not taking young children at all) There are no PFD's for kids that small to my knowledge. I thought the car seat provided much better protection to the kid than a PFD anyway and it gave a very comfortable place for a child to travel in a raft or canoe. Other parents who saw my system liked it and in fact, once my daughter outgrew it I gave it to an ACA Instructor Trainer who wanted to use it for his own child.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
676 Posts
Nope. I think a company would be exposing themselves to way too high a liability in producing such a product. However, I did my own testing and experimentation to see what it would do in the water. I was confident that the placement of the flotation would keep the child face up under most conditions. However, either my wife or I were always tethered to it in case it didn't.
I'd like to know what other alternatives you think are better--seriously. (apart from not taking young children at all) There are no PFD's for kids that small to my knowledge. I thought the car seat provided much better protection to the kid than a PFD anyway and it gave a very comfortable place for a child to travel in a raft or canoe. Other parents who saw my system liked it and in fact, once my daughter outgrew it I gave it to an ACA Instructor Trainer who wanted to use it for his own child.
do you have a picture of the setup? our first is gonna be born any day now, and i would like to start him/her on ruby horsethief next spring. i've thought about a system similar to what you describe but haven't come up with any notions/ideas yet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
172 Posts
too young is not a concept to applied across the board, different strokes for different folks. Reminds me of the dogs in cars while skiing thread.
One other thing to consider is the "trauma" a safe swim may cause not only on the child but the parents and others on the river.
Also consider your childs ability to be confined to a boat for the period of time you are on the river.
I started my son at 6?(maybe 5) in a duck on the upper c at low water, he has now graduated to a hardshell and absolutly loves the river. What worked for me may not work for you, yes I am talking to you.

peace out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
68 Posts
do you have a picture of the setup? our first is gonna be born any day now, and i would like to start him/her on ruby horsethief next spring. i've thought about a system similar to what you describe but haven't come up with any notions/ideas yet.
I had it in pre-digital camera days so if I have any pictures, I can't easily post them, but I'll look around. What I did was go to a thrift store and look at all the car seats that were there and found one to which it was easy to attach flotation. It had a metal frame outside the plastic seat which allowed for easy attachment. I used ethafoam as flotation and experimented with different amounts in different places to see how it floated. I attached the ethafoam to the seat with multiple zip ties. I also constructed a PVC pipe frame over the top of the car seat for shade. It had velcroed sides and front so that my daughter could sleep peacefully in the shade either on the boat or at the campsite. The tether was a nylon strap with fastex buckles on either end for quick release.
On the raft, it was easy to put the car seat on top of the front box next to my wife. In the canoe, initially I constructed a platform with raised sides that mounted in the gunwales in front of the bow paddler on which the car seat sat. On another canoe I constructed a platform that fit on the gunwales in the center of the boat on which the seat sat. The car seat was never attached to the boat. It would float free of the boat should it turn over.

Just to be clear. I'm not advocating that novice paddlers or river runners take their young children on the river. I'm saying that experienced paddlers can take steps to enjoy the river with their children in conditions that are at least as safe as driving them around in cars in my opinion if they use a little forethought.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,607 Posts
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.
If you take your baby rafting, and it dies, will you be harder on yourself because it was a recreational choice? Sure cars are way more dangerous, and I remind myself every time I drive to the Lochsa on that windy road with wild-fast semi's. But I have the skills and experience to make the choice for myself to put myself in that situation. Driving is an everday activity, pretty much necessary to live in our society. Taking a baby rafting isn't. You have to decide for yourself, but I disagree strongly about comparing risks driving vs rivers. It strikes me too much as rationalizing a choice that you need backup for. We are society, and society and most people would be harder on a child death on a river. You don't HAVE to do that. Patience, there's plenty of time for boating.

Now I don't have kids, but I would NEVER boat with anyone who had a baby tied into a car seat, whatever "safe" contraption is made. NEVER. Especially if a person is tied to it. How the hell are you going to swim with a car seat tied to you if you get dumped in a rapid, on a rock, or a strainer? Lots of strainers on mellow rivers in my area.
 

·
no tengo
Joined
·
1,873 Posts
do you have a picture of the setup? our first is gonna be born any day now, and i would like to start him/her on ruby horsethief next spring. i've thought about a system similar to what you describe but haven't come up with any notions/ideas yet.
stop it already. your home made death traps are going to get someone killed.

here is an infant PFD that will keep the head up as long as it is not strapped to a frickin car seat.

Stearns Recreational - Youth/Child - Infants Heads-Up® Vest - Water safety products for, swimming, boating, waterskiing, tubing, and more
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,314 Posts
why is my life jacket not working or did it come off?? (high quality PFD)Those were my thoughts as I was tumbling in that foaming and bubbly solution pulling me downward. I could not breath it and my life jacket did not float in it. I held my breath what felt like forever. I surfaced, and like a baby inhaling it's first breath, it's good to be alive. Those thoughts always came up when I started rafting with my children. When they turned 12 yrs. old and a proper fitting and high quality PFD could be wraped around them is when I introduced them to rafting. White water rafting was introduced two years later. I always recall this story to them and the importance of holding their breath, along with other rafting skills.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
68 Posts
Everyone needs to make decisions for themselves and think through how they integrate family life into boating. In my view, the lifejacket posted is too big for very young children and suggesting that someone use it for a very small child is on a par with my suggestion that a floating car seat is better. We did use PFD's like that once the child fit in it.
Just because something is home made does not mean it is a death trap.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
371 Posts
My 2.5 year old has done the San Juan twice, Ruby 3x, and cisco to moab twice. I have found that heat and keeping fluids going to be the biggest problem.
 

·
no tengo
Joined
·
1,873 Posts
In my view, the lifejacket posted is too big for very young children
again here is your problem. everything is your view. the only source you consult is kerry edwards. the lifejacket was designed for infants 0 to 30 lbs. i have used it on little kids. it works. its been tested. its been approved by the coast guard.
 
1 - 20 of 61 Posts
Top