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Boating with a 2 year old...

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Old 07-13-2011, 02:31 PM
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Default Boating with a 2 year old...

I've been wrecking my brain over this one. It makes sense to me, but maybe I'm being a total idiot.

Own a 29 Fountain, much younger better half who loves boating, and we have a 2 year old little girl together.

Last summer was one boat trip on the lake with the little one, due to trying to figure out the kid thing and boating and how to make it work together. Moderate success. That isn't going to cut it.

I want to boat as a family. I know others do. So whats the best way to 'transport' the little one when under power?

The male part of me wants to buy a badass car seat and clip the lower straps into the area under the rear seat attached to the engine compartment bulkhead, the upper car seat strap under the engine cover attached to the engine compartment bulkhead, and set her up in the middle of the back seat.
Seems to make sense. Comfortable, well supported, can see where she's going and used to being in car seats.

People freak out when I say I'm thinking of a car seat in my boat. "What if the boat flips over" they say?
I think, what something happens and she's NOT strapped in? What's worse, my kid flying out of the boat and into the water where I'm not - or crashing into the dash / interior of the boat, or the risk of capsize?

Before everyone thinks I'm about to be blasting across the lake at 70 - 80mph, lets get real. That isn't going to happen with the kid on board, and we're responsible parents.
But thats exactly the reason I'm trying to figure out what's safest and asking everyone here.

Anything can happen to any of us. In that unfortunate situation should it ever occur, what's my best option?

1. Strapped in so I know where she is no matter what, and not flying across our boat or into the water, or
2. Being held by Mom, who weighs all of about 108lbs and isn't the biggest / strongest girl around, and who hasn't got a hope in holding onto a 25lb child if we get surprised by a big wake or a boater who turns before he looks?

Isn't trying to hold the kid in your arms about as smart as thinking you can do the same thing in a car should there be an accident?

I'm willing to bet I've have to be dead before anything would stop me getting to that car seat to unbuckle my kid, should the worst thing happen.

Help me out here Dad's. Call me an idiot for considering it, or tell me it makes sense. Or better yet, tell me what you do with your little ones when under way.

Hit me straight. I can handle it
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Old 07-13-2011, 02:57 PM
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car seat idea sounds good to me, or you could just have her down in the cabin, some of my neighbors have a 7 yer old son 5 year old son and 3 year old daughter, the kids are always in the cabin, and that where they have been for the past 4-5 years.... Mommy either stays down their or checks on em occasionally
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Old 07-13-2011, 03:09 PM
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Man, you rookie parents put WAY too much thought into all this.

You don't have to sell your perf boat.
You don't have to ride around at 30 MPH.

A 2yr. old can sit up just fine. Have your wife/gf sit in the back with the child between her and the gunnel. Most boats have a grab rail on the gunnel for back seat passengers. Your wife can hold onto the grab rail with her arm going across the childs chest if necessary. Or, just have the child sit on her lap.

My kids have been boating since 6 mos. Rough water, flat water, hot days, cold days, rainy days, etc. etc. I don't run my boat like it's going to break either.

Good Luck!
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Old 07-13-2011, 03:10 PM
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im not sure where my buddy got it but he has 2 bad a$$ car seats that look like racing seats with mini 5 point harnesses on them. he takes the kids to the sand dunes all the time in their jeep. dont see why you couldnt rig up something similar
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Old 07-13-2011, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Drock78 View Post
im not sure where my buddy got it but he has 2 bad a$$ car seats that look like racing seats with mini 5 point harnesses on them. he takes the kids to the sand dunes all the time in their jeep. dont see why you couldnt rig up something similar
simpson makes one. We used it when our son was first born, for the first summer. By the next summer, he was almost 2, and we didn't need the carseat. He did as mentioned. Sat between mom, and the side. Never had a problem.
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Old 07-13-2011, 03:26 PM
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My kids are 2 and 3 and they sit in the back seat with their mom and she wraps her arms around them. They are usually wanting to go faster and their mom is yelling at me to slow down lol. Just be careful and use common sense, if it's rough slow it down a bit. And don't forget the life jacket
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Old 07-13-2011, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave M View Post
Man, you rookie parents put WAY too much thought into all this.

You don't have to sell your perf boat.
You don't have to ride around at 30 MPH.

A 2yr. old can sit up just fine. Have your wife/gf sit in the back with the child between her and the gunnel. Most boats have a grab rail on the gunnel for back seat passengers. Your wife can hold onto the grab rail with her arm going across the childs chest if necessary. Or, just have the child sit on her lap.

My kids have been boating since 6 mos. Rough water, flat water, hot days, cold days, rainy days, etc. etc. I don't run my boat like it's going to break either.

Good Luck!
+1 We have had my son with since 3 weeks old. He is 11 months now, and he either sits on Moms lap or between mom and the side seat. I dont run like an idiot, but I certainly will not stop boating just because I have a kid. I personally think the car seat is severe overkill, and most likely would not be the most comfortable of things for the child if you do get into anything but smooth water.
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Old 07-13-2011, 03:51 PM
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My first born went for his first ride at 3.....WEEKS!!!! By the time he was 3 months old we were overnighting on the hook in a 26 ft'er. We were pulling 5 day trips before he turned 1. At that age he was placed in a life jacket and left un-buckled in a car seat for support. By the time he was 2 he wanted to sit/stand up and see where we were going.

Put an egg in your lap.......drive like you don't want it to break. The kid will be just fine at 2 sitting in the back with momma.
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Old 07-13-2011, 03:53 PM
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My parents had a lake house when I was growing up. Me and lots of other kids spent many summers on a 28 foot wellcraft nova that probably did 70-75. There was never a close call, and no one ever thought about strapping us in a car seat. In the cabin, in the seats, it doesn't matter. Teach your kid to respect the boat for what it is, teach her how to swim well, and keep a life jacket on her and then just boat like normal.
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Old 07-13-2011, 03:55 PM
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Appreciate all the insights.

Certainly not stopping boating or anything like that. Just trying to be smart about it. The kid is a gearhead already, plays with toy cars and boats and couldn't give a damn about dolls and girl stuff. Genetics I guess, Mom is the same way

The long term GF isn't a big girl though and wondering about her ability to hold the kid if anything ugly happens. Thoughts on the kid being strapped in, good or bad?

I guess thats the biggest question in all of this...

Keep it coming guys, really appreciate the opinions.
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