One of the most popular activities for people getting older is kayaking with a baby…how have you done it yet? Do you have a long tandem kayak with good boat clearance, comfortable seating and two cockpits? Or do you still use that ugly canoe you’ve had for years? If you’re 45 years old and don’t want to put up with the kind of pain a canoe represents, get a kayak!
I’d always recommend first time kayaker taking some “baby” or children’s equipment with them to go on the trip. I have two girls and both love being on the water. However, in my experience, children get bored and tired quickly (and often throw an overboard when we’re paddling somewhere we aren’t supposed to). Also, I’ve known adult kayakers who would rather stay on land and just sit there on the porch doing nothing all day than go on a long, rough trip in a kayak with their kids. They’d much rather be doing something else, such as reading a book on the beach or playing Frisbee at the park. The key to having an enjoyable, memorable trip with your kids is to make sure they feel excited about it AND that you (as a mom) are excited too!
That means that one of the first things you should do is check to make sure your kayaks are safe for using by babies and children. I’d also recommend a sit-on-top kayak, for obvious reasons. Typically these kayaks are built sturdily and are equipped with everything needed for a comfortable and safe ride for even the oldest baby. Most of these kayaks have enough room for a child’s bike, a food and water supply, a sleeping bag, and even a small diaper bag. You can even buy sit-on top kayaks with built-in seats, so mom and dad can both go kayaking together. These kayaks are generally smaller than most other kayaks, though, so I recommend going with one of these rather than a traditional sit-on-top kayak for your first baby.
Next, you want to find a good, sturdy boat that can handle the size and strength of your kids. Remember, kayaking isn’t just for older kids these days. Smaller kids will have just as much fun kayaking as older kids. There are literally thousands of different kinds of kayaks you can choose from, and finding one that can handle your kids’ weight and size will ensure a great bonding experience. Make sure you choose a high quality kayak that is built sturdy and is designed for the style of water you intend on kayaking in.
If you’re going kayaking with a baby, one of the most important pieces of equipment you’ll need is a life jacket for newborns and toddlers. A life jacket ensures that your kid stays safe in the event that they fall into the water. It can be a tricky thing to teach a new infant how to swim, since their body just isn’t used to it yet. However, a life jacket goes a long way toward ensuring that they are safe in the water, which will give you and your baby lots of fun for the entire day!
Once you’ve secured your infant’s safety gear, you’re ready to start preparing for a fun day on the water. One of the best things about kayaking with babies is that you don’t have to spend hours of time sitting in the cockpit, staring at a screen to keep an eye on your baby. All you need to do is strap him or her to your paddle and let them float around. You won’t even be able to hear the baby for one hour or so thanks to the sound insulation abilities of many kayaks these days.
In addition, with today’s models, babies can sit up and go at their own pace. This is a huge advantage over trips with older kids, because the older kids tend to get bored and clam up if they don’t have a lot of freedom to play. With an infant strapped to your back, though, you don’t have to worry about them getting bored or taking too long on the trip.
The key to a fun kayak trip with your baby is making sure that both of you are comfortable. If you two aren’t used to being alone, try taking turns going kayaking with a friend. This is a great way for you and your kids to get some quality time alone, as well as spending time with each other that’s completely safe. In fact, if you have older kids along, they’ll probably enjoy spending time on the kayak together, as well!