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Thread: Canoeing with a toddler

  1. Question Canoeing with a toddler

    Hi,

    We had are first canoe trip today with our 1yr old, he was happy in his life jacket, enjoying the water running through his fingers. Things were going fine until the enviable happened. He started splashing the water, leaning out to far took a drink. No sooner was he in the water than he was out having a cuddle with me and 5mins later was trying the same trick again leaning over the side.

    Has anyone had experience canoeing with a baby and has a tip on avoiding this situation? I was thinking about tethering Joel's life jacker to mine via a quick release mechanism so he couldn't climb out but not sure if there are any safety considerations I haven't thought of.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    I can't remember the tips off the top of my Head but get the Book "Cradle to Canoe" ( I would use www.AbeBooks.co.uk as it is the cheapest usually, no connection etc etc)

    It covers everything you will ever need to know about taking your children in a canoe. From months old to teenage.
    Last edited by Amelia; 1st-June-2008 at 04:12 PM. Reason: fixing the link (not often I get to edit MK's posts!)
    John

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  3. #3
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    Default Secrets to Toddler Paddling

    I would have to ask is the trip for the toddler or for you? Toddlers have a few seconds of attention span so trips to entertain them will have to be very flexible. I have raised three toddlers (now adult paddlers) and started them young. I am now into my first grandchild paddler.

    The reason they fall in, is they want to see the water. You can help those little short arms my leaning the canoe. Look at the facial expression in these images.



    Imagine a canoe trip if the hull was as high as your chin and the paddle weighed 1/2 your weight.



    One advantage of the lean is they will tend to stay on the low side of the hull hence can not move around as much and they can't sit on the seat which keeps the center of gravity low. Also the pictures are much more exciting than the top of the head sticking out of a hull.






    If you want to make a longer trip give them toys to play with in the boat. These could be tethered to the boat with short strings. Nothing longer than 2 feet that will cause a hazard in a capsize. Bring a pail of rocks and sticks to play, "will it float." I have never tied them to me or the boat but usually after they have been in the water a few times the novelty wears off. I carry on a discussion with them about what are they seeing, feeling, hearing, etc. It may seem this is a little early at one year old but next summer he will be 2.



    The reward of doing what they want is a canoe trip smile like this.


    A safety concern with a tether would be falling on him in a capsize. That does not seem like a huge risk if you had a fail safe quick release.
    Dr. Joe
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    JP,

    I would not tie a person by a rope, even a toddler that has no ability to swim. Ropes and water have always scared me...

    Better off to bring lots of extra dry cloths and a towel I'd think, and make sure that you are on water that is "swim" friendly.

    Dr. Joe: Fantastic pictures! thanks for sharing.

    Take care

    Myrl
    So many rivers, so little time
    trailcafe.com/canoeing

  5. Default

    Thanks for all the replies and picture so far - I was beginning to think that the safest thing was just to let Joel learn to stay in the canoe. The bundle of sticks and rocks is a good idea. The 'event' only happened 30m from the car so a quick change of clothes was easily done. We will keep the first set of paddles short and bring plenty of spare clothes.

    As for waiting till next summer till Joel is two - the only problem is that I will have a 6month yr old baby as well.

  6. #6
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    Good to see little ones in canoes

    One thing to remember is that all toddlers are different and constantly changing- so what works one week might not the next

    I'd agree with the above- short trips, lots of getting in and out, lots of picnics, toys, sticks and stones to throw, a boat on a rope (see cradle to canoe) and a fishing net have all worked at some time for mine.

    Happy paddling
    All of life is a journey ...

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    Hi we have an 11 month old and a copy of cradle to canoe.

    (without checking...) I think the book suggests a selection of toys tied to a thwart so that the little 'un can play with them and even throw them out of the boat. They toys need to be washable though!.

    There is also mention of tethering the child to an adults life jacket, rather than the boat itself.

    We've taken our son, Ed, out quite a few times but he's not mobile yet. I'm really looking forward to him being able to look over the sides.




    Jay
    It was like that when I got here...

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    My eldest daughter now 11 (going on 16 I think!) did her first really long canoe trip when she was 1 1/2 to 2 yrs old.

    We spent a week on the Wye.

    We took lots of toys and games and made her own special place in the middle of the boat. She would happily read and play for ages and then suddenly zonk................ out she would go and sleep for ages allowing us to paddle on really nicely while she was asleep!

    It was a great trip and she really enjoyed it, she of course had her own little paddle for when she wanted to splish and she never went in the water!

    Time moved on and we had 5 days on the Broads camping with friends and their kids, another great trip, lots of stops and ice creams, playing and generally not being to pushy to get any where, but still 5 days really good paddling.

    Now I can paddle with her all day and she has the strength and interest to enjoy the day!

    Children 2 and 3, not quite the same!

    My son when he was a baby (now 7) just loved trying to get in the water all the time, he was a lot more active (still is!) and was a real risk at times, so shorter trips, plenty of spare clothes and for the times when I not he, felt uncomfortable, a cows tail, attached to my BA and his!
    didn't like it a lot, for all the obvious reasons, but it did work! now all he does is sit with his feet up and let us paddle him!

    Youngest daughter (5yrs), just loves to be involved, like the other two knows no fear and is water confident.

    Again, lots of toys, clothes and shorter trips seem to work!

    Additionally, I have been on River trips on water that was graded in places or had strainers across the river and seen really novice parents with teeny babies and had my trip affected because I just had to ensure they stayed safe!

    On one trip a novice team got struck by a low branch and all the family were swept into the water, I was having lunch with some friends near by, we all lept into action and quickly rescued boats, babies, kit and parents!

    No real harm was done, but the consequences if we had not been there could have been.......... worse!

    best thing to do, is to stay on safer water until you are confident in what you are doing, and avoid overhanging trees!

    Overall however, you really can, and I cannot recommend it enough, with some simple safety checks and rules, thouroughly enjoy paddling with the family and share some great times together.

    Happy Paddling!

    And if anyone wants details of the trip on the Broads please let me know, it involves a 2 mile shuttle only! From Hickling to Sutton, a very good family trip!

    Alan L.

  9. #9
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    Some great suggestions on here, and great photos too.

    I've only just started teaking my kids out in a boat. They are 3.5 and 2 years old. I waited until my eldest asked if she could go. Her yonger brother hates being left out, so he's keen as mustard. We've been out a few times now, and each time their confidence in the boat (or me, not sure which!) grows.

    They swap positions and we go exploring. It's all about them when they go in the boat. And I agree that heeling the boat over allows them an exciting experience.

    I'll make small paddles soon so they can join in even more.

    I know I've not really added much here, I just wanted to share my proud "Dad" photos.









    You can see they like sitting in all the seats!

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    I started all my kids young and this has helped to develop their confidence in a canoe. Now the oldest ones want their own boats













    Rebecca now shows me how its done








    This one now wants his own boat!
    Last edited by Mitch; 1st-June-2008 at 08:45 PM. Reason: amend
    Mitch

  11. #11

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    The tricks that we have found that help: (our kids are now 4 and 7)

    • The sticks and stones that have already been mentioned are a great hit
    • Take a tub of bubbles. I expect your toddler is still a little young to blow them himself, but for our 4 year old blowing bubbles and watching them blow away across the water is an amusement that can keep him going for hours
    • Ours also like trailing fishing nets in the water. They have never caught a thing and they do get in the way of the paddling, but it keeps them happy
    • Ours like getting the canoe sail up for bits of the time. Our sail is only a cheap one form Augille- just a sheet of pertex really, but they like the responsibility of hanging onto the string and helping with it.
    • Pick a child friendly destination - a beach/ island/ playground usually does it for us, but keep the time out fairly short.
    • We bought a couple of cheap paddles that are meant for kids blow up boats, but they are short and light so they find them easy to handle.
    • Pack plenty of spare clothes!!!

  12. #12
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    I'm planning on taking my 2 yr old out with me this summer if I get a boat in time. Does anyone have a copy of the book (cradle to canoe) that they don't want anymore?
    Tom.
    Old Town Discovery 169. A log of ash is gradually becoming seats & paddles...

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    I have a copy of the employee hand book, get back to work slacker


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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcox View Post
    I'm planning on taking my 2 yr old out with me this summer if I get a boat in time. Does anyone have a copy of the book (cradle to canoe) that they don't want anymore?
    Yes, if you don't ask you don't get

    If you want to send me a stamped address envelope (or similar arrangement)- I'll send it to you.

    Now you can get back to work

  15. #15

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    Hi,

    I'm new to the forum and in the very same situation, I have a 3 year old and a 2 year old.

    My problem is that I can't afford a large canoe, I know I can hire one but I'd also like to have one to take exploring when we go camping.

    Would an inflatable sevylor k109hf be suitable for and adult and two toddlers? I've seen the sevylor inflatables a few times and they look pretty strong so I'm not worried about ripping them but I just wasn't sure about stability.

    Thanks

  16. #16

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    The bottom line in ensuring a child's safety is the competence of the parents. Kids are very adaptable and rarely respond adversely. If the parent makes a fuss over something that's of no real consequence, the kids react to that. Personally... I don't think a quick release is going to be an asset. I'd opt for a simple rope connection and perhaps practice recovery with a substitute "toddler" to ensure you could cope with any given situation. The quick release would take too long if you're really in a situation where you'd need it. Others here have mentioned "Cradle To Canoe" as a resource book of choice, and my thanks for that. My wife and I wrote the book, and if I can answer any questions directly... feel free to ask.

    Quote Originally Posted by jpwhaley View Post
    Has anyone had experience canoeing with a baby and has a tip on avoiding this situation? I was thinking about tethering Joel's life jacker to mine via a quick release mechanism so he couldn't climb out but not sure if there are any safety considerations I haven't thought of.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rolf Kraiker View Post
    The bottom line in ensuring a child's safety is the competence of the parents. Kids are very adaptable and rarely respond adversely. If the parent makes a fuss over something that's of no real consequence, the kids react to that. Personally... I don't think a quick release is going to be an asset. I'd opt for a simple rope connection and perhaps practice recovery with a substitute "toddler" to ensure you could cope with any given situation. The quick release would take too long if you're really in a situation where you'd need it. Others here have mentioned "Cradle To Canoe" as a resource book of choice, and my thanks for that. My wife and I wrote the book, and if I can answer any questions directly... feel free to ask.
    Yea why practice with your own child, when you can use someone elses as a subsitute

    I'd say, just follow your instincts. only you know your child.
    Ratty (Russ)

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  18. #18
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    Boat-on-a-rope always worked for my kids when they very small. Now they are 7 and 8 and quite like to paddle.
    Gibbo.
    Last edited by Gibbo; 4th-February-2011 at 07:00 PM.
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    Hi all

    a great thread, I'm planning on taking my little girl paddling this year when it warms up:-) she's currently 16 months old with the attention span of a gold fish and incredibly inquisitive, so I'm expecting a few swims!! Currently in process of changing boats to something a bit more manuverable than a disco 169, thinking about an Apache Tribe. Struggling to find a copy of "cradle to canoe" so if anyone has a copy they would like to sell please let me know:-)

    Cheers

    nath

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    Bignath - PM Sent about Cradle to Canoe.
    Tom.
    Old Town Discovery 169. A log of ash is gradually becoming seats & paddles...

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    Hi Tom

    thanks, I think I successfully replied?

    thank you guys.

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    OK I'm going to jump on the bandwagon too. Any more copies of 'cradle to canoe' for sale? My kids are 3 and 6 and I'm considering how I can make canoeing more appealing to the youngest because I didn't do as well as I should have with the eldest.
    Cheers

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    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cradle-Canoe...8199954&sr=8-1


    Rolf, you getting rich??? EEks on the "new "price
    "Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing." WS-prophecy about internet postings.

  24. #24
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    This may bear repeating. ........


    Joys of family canoeing by ezwater, on Flickr

    Actually we hardly needed to do anything special for the kids while canoeing. Soon we will get to start over with the grandchildren.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ezwater View Post
    This may bear repeating. ........


    Joys of family canoeing by ezwater, on Flickr

    Actually we hardly needed to do anything special for the kids while canoeing. Soon we will get to start over with the grandchildren.
    The expressions say it all Very familiar with all that....

    Our 2 have gone through sticks, bits of string, bits of string on sticks, bits of string on sticks attached to other things, binoculars, carefully orchestrated pirate treasure hunts, small paddles and a truck load of crisps and sugary snacks. When they are good they like singing, lying on their backs looking at the sky though the trees and looking for wildlife and fungus and even in split second bursts, paddling!

    When they are bad they don't like anything...

    When they are able to get out and run about fairly frequently, they are usually very good

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davy 90 View Post
    The expressions say it all Very familiar with all that....

    Our 2 have gone through sticks, bits of string, bits of string on sticks, bits of string on sticks attached to other things, binoculars, carefully orchestrated pirate treasure hunts, small paddles and a truck load of crisps and sugary snacks. When they are good they like singing, lying on their backs looking at the sky though the trees and looking for wildlife and fungus and even in split second bursts, paddling!

    When they are bad they don't like anything...

    When they are able to get out and run about fairly frequently, they are usually very good
    They appear to like pubs... Didn't see much sign of paddling on Sunday though!
    Covering as many malmiles as possible before being distracted by the pub!

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

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