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Thread: Floating with children

  1. #1
    New member DaveLuntz's Avatar
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    Question Floating with children

    Looking at feasability of floating easier rivers with wife and small child. Child is not self suficient. Has anyone got any experiance in floating with infants?? Would you use raft or powered canoe?

    Dave

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    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
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    My first child was born in March of 2003. In June of 2003 my wife and I had him in the cataraft and floating and camping in the canyon of the Kenai for a 4 day weekend. One of my rafts is an 18' Leopard cat and I used a seat bar that I set up to accomadate one of his car seats. This has worked out very well, and the only modifications that I have made are changing out the car seat as he has gotten bigger. My wife just gave birth to our second child in Nov. last year, so now I'll have to reconfigure the seats on my raft to accomadate her. If you want you can pm me and I'll give you all the details and some pics.

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    Default Lower Gulkana:

    I have a summer place in Gakona and I have taken my kids on nice day trips down the Gulkana from the campgrounds or sailors pit down to the bridge at Gulkanna Village. No whitewater and about a 4 hour trip. Kids love it and the trip is nice

    Walt

    www.northwestalaska.com

    your best bet in camps and rafts in all of NW Alaska
    Kotzebue Alaska
    33 miles north of the Arctic circle

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    Member garnede's Avatar
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    It is a bit of a ways from you but the little susitna river in the mat-su valley is a nice quiet float that is do-able with small children. From the parks Hwy to the Burma Landing is ~42 miles with an average current of 3 mph. It is an easy float in a canoe, even easier with a powered canoe.
    It ain't about the # of pounds of meat we bring back, nor about how much we spent to go do it. Its about seeing what no one else sees.

    http://wouldieatitagainfoodblog.blogspot.com/

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    Default kids in the boat

    A few thoughts. YMMV.

    I would be more concerned about swamping a canoe than flipping raft (assuming you are talking a hardshell canoe).

    The bow of a raft makes a nice contained area for kids once they are three or so and big enough to see over the sides.

    You can strap a bouncy seat to a raft thwart for an infant. You can strap a baby backpack (e.g. Kelty) to a raft thwart. Either is a little tricky to fit a PFD around.

    I think the most challenging age is the 18-30 month old who really doesn't want to be strapped down but isn't really big enough to hang the bow area. They also still need naps, but are too big for the bouncy seat. I did find that a two-year old is quite content when seated in a ducky (I know, not a real popular boat in Alaska) because she can see, and participate, but is contained by the sides of the boat. This at least works for a short float.

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    Member tjm's Avatar
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    Default cooler

    we have 2 178 quart coolers...a little bedding, prop the lid open, makes a nice place for the little ones to nap...
    ------------------------------------------------
    pull my finger....

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    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Take your kids floating!

    In the last 5 years I have done multi day trips on numerous rivers with my 5 year old and all have gone well. I think getting your kids out early and often is a very good thing to do. I also think the memories that we are making will be ones that he will remember fondly later in his life. I know I will.

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    Default Infants/small children on boats

    Infants pose some problems on boats; primarily because there really isn't a great PFD available for them other than the typical Type III. We did some experimented several years ago after an infant died in Sitka when the family skiff overturned and the car seat turned turtle...the rest of the family survived, including the two small boys (who were wearing Kid's Don't Float PFD's). We "tested" several car seats and they all went face down. Not an acceptable scenario for boats. In our search for a better infant PFD, we came across this one:


    Thermo Cruise Baby (RE)
    MED/SOLAS approved

    Regatta Thermo Cruise Baby - gives thermal protection

    The lifejacket protects vital body parts and is donned like a normal jacket. It is easy to adjust and is equipped with a hood, zip fastener, click-belt in waist, cords on top and bottom as well as mother`s line and whistle.

    Besides being an approved lifejacket for leisure, it was approved in 2002 according to IMO-requirements for use on passenger vessels in Norway. Lights can and should be mounted.
    Baby 0-33 lbs






    Please note that this is NOT Coast Guard Approved. That being said, I believe this to be a superior product compared with what you find on the retail shelves today. I have two of these as demos, but have not yet field-checked their performance. This is really food for thought; if you take your infant/small children boating, I think special concerns need to be made. If the risks are minimized, I can't think of a better way to introduce a young family to the Alaskan outdoors than to take them boating! Mike

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    Default

    That looks like a great design Mike. I assume it is self righting to roll the child face up?

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    Default Infant PFD

    Jim:
    My apologies, I cannot answer your question authoritatively. The PFD shown has not yet met CG approval (to my knowledge) and I'm not familiar with IMO approval processes. If the design and performance characteristics meet Type I minimums, then it would certainly be the PFD of choice for infants. I'll see if I can contact the company and see what their intentions for seeking CG approval might be and post my findings.

    Mike

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    Default Thermo Cruise Baby PFD

    I spoke with the U.S. distributor representative today and he tells me that the manufacturer does not intend on seeking USCG approval on this product at this time. I've forwarded some suggestions to my program managers in D.C. and we'll see how it goes....for the time being, please just be aware that this PFD is not CG approved. Thanks! Mike

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    Default

    Thank you Mike.

    It's always a shame when our countries good laws get in the way of doing things better. It's probably not that getting CG approval would be impossible for a product like this. More likely it's just not profitable enough.

    Same thing with Tinodazal (sp?). It's the best Giardia medicine available -- but it's not available -- at least not in the USA. There wouldn't be enough profit in it to get it past the FDA. But if you ever go to Mexico, walk into any decent pharmacy and spend $4 for the best cure that might ail you.

  13. #13
    Member chriso's Avatar
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    When our daughter was still car seat sized we managed to strap a medium sized adult pfd to the seat, but being worried about it "going turtle" as was described earlier, I always had a 5' tether from my vest to her in case we got wet. When she got to be a year and a half old and hard to keep ahold of, she got her first kids life jacket with the head supporting collar and such. She flat refused to wear it. We finally got her one of those Stormy Seas kids manually inflatable jackets when my wife was working on her sailing skills down in Seward and she'd wear it without a squawk... and it had leg loops, which are pretty important in a kids jacket in my mind, they seem to always be loosening up the straps or zippers etc, and the thought of her, or now my 3 year old son, slipping through one when swimming has me still tying up some sort of loops when we're on the water in a small boat, or whenever I think theres a chance he'll wind up swimming for that matter, even on the shore. I still tether him up, like I did her, until I can be reasonably sure he'll not dart off and climb over the tubes or something.

    When he outgrew the stormy seas coat, he still wouldn't wear a pfd without screaming bloody murder. I found him a xxs lotus whitewater vest with all the "cool" clips and pockets, hooked him up with a whistle, strobe, mirror, compass, and took a spare river knife to task on a belt sander dulling it down and clipped it to the vest... I couldn't keep him away from it! He wanted to sleep with it, and now gets mad if we leave the house without it in the car. A little webbing for some leg loops and a tether completes the package.

    I agree, kids need to be gotten out as soon as possible and doing the stuff we love which adds so much value to our lives and our views of the world and others. With some forethought and preperation we can make adjustments to ensure their safety in these activites. I just found a stash of spare diapers in the survival kit last fall! What great days to share with your kids! Its my belief that if you let it become too difficult to take them along, you will never overcome it... it becomes a convenient excuse more handily explained every time it's used.

  14. #14
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Default

    I highly recommend taking your kid swimming with the PFD before going boating. My kids got used to them at the pool in swim class and now they know how to swim and recognize the PFD for the safety it provides. At really young ages they seemed to associate the PFD with fun cause if the wife got them out they were going swimming.

  15. #15
    New member DaveLuntz's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Thanks for the Advice ... Keep it coming..

    Guys, thanks for all the advice and ideas.. your experiance is very beneficial.

    Dave

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    Default Thermo Cruise Baby

    Thanks Mike for posting the Thermo Cruise information.

    Could you tell us who the US distribuutor is? Maybe a little pressure from the general public might assist them in seeking USCG approval for what looks to be a great product.

    Thanks

  17. #17
    Member chriso's Avatar
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    Yes it does look like a great product doesn't it?

  18. #18

    Default Rafting with kids

    When my kids were toddlers that always conerned me. What would happen if they seperated from the boat? Wife cant swim well and her rowing ability not the best.
    Settled for easy rivers that I had lots of experience on, like the childs floatation suit.
    Just be carefull and know the rivers you are floating well. We had a lot of fun catching
    Kings on the Kasilof from the Aire Super Puma when the boys were very young.

  19. #19
    Member chriso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kk alaska View Post
    When my kids were toddlers that always conerned me. What would happen if they seperated from the boat? Wife cant swim well and her rowing ability not the best.
    Settled for easy rivers that I had lots of experience on, like the childs floatation suit.
    Just be carefull and know the rivers you are floating well. We had a lot of fun catching
    Kings on the Kasilof from the Aire Super Puma when the boys were very young.
    Thats a good point, I've always limited myself to at least one full ratings class below my comfortable personal capabilities when I'm taking the little one along.

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