Being out in the water is a fantastic way to spend a day with the family, but it can also put your child in situations that may lead to injury or risk of death if the correct precautions are not taken. Here are six ways you can increase the safety of your little ones while on the boat.
Make sure all children have life jackets on at all times when near or on the water. They should be appropriately sized and properly fit. Even if a child can swim, a life jacket is necessary. Children will often try to emulate grown-ups, so be sure adults on the boat are also wearing one. Keep extras on board in both child and adult sizes for the occasions when a guest joins.
Have more than one adult in the boat when children are present. The adult driving should be able to focus completely on that task while another adult watches over the kids. The safest place for a small child is on an adult’s lap, so take this into consideration when curating the guest list. If you have multiple children on board, especially younger ones, have enough adults to keep an eye on all of them without having the attention spread too thin. This will also allow for a more enjoyable and stress-free boat ride for the grown-ups.
For longer outings, have the children bring along a few small toys or recreational items to keep them from getting bored. Hold one or two items back, ready to bring out in cases where exhaustion or crankiness sets in.
One of the best defenses against mishaps on the water is to teach your child the basics of swimming. This allows a little one to avoid panicking should he or she fall in unexpectedly.
Create a shaded space on the boat to allow respite from the sun. Apply sunscreen at regular intervals and check to see if it is waterproof to know whether it needs to be reapplied after a dip. Hydration should always be a priority when playing in the sun so keep plenty of water bottles nearby and encourage drinking often.
Nothing puts a damper on a boat outing like the sudden onset of a storm. Not only can a child’s emotional state become quickly heightened but the little ones can also be easily thrown around the boat when on rough waters. Be aware of the weather and take a rain check on the boat ride if choppy waters or impetuous conditions look to be in the forecast.
Anytime you are out on the water with a child, risks can arise. However, with a little foresight and planning, many of these risks can be greatly minimized, leaving you to worry less and enjoy the ride.