As the mercury rises, those of us lucky enough to live near an ocean, river or lake may decide to take the kids boating. You already know safety tips such as making sure everyone is wearing a life jacket (even the best swimmers!) and that drinking and driving a boat don’t mix. There are a few safety tips that you might not have thought of, though. Even avid boaters should review these points before setting off to sail with kids in tow:
- Slather everyone with sunscreen. Even if you don’t normally burn, you’re more at risk when on the water, because the sun is often reflected back in your face and on your body. Put sun hats on the kids and try to get them to wear lightweight, long-sleeved shirts. Be particularly careful if you’re going out mid-day, and be sure to reapply often, particularly if they’re sweating or swimming.
- Think about seasickness beforehand. Although it’s not a dire health concern, if your child gets seasick, it can make everyone miserable! Ask his pediatrician ahead of time about what seasickness medications he can take. Don’t give him over-the-counter medications without double-checking the dosage. Wrist bands may help, as can encouraging him to keep his eyes on the horizon or occupying him with activities on the deck. If he’s really suffering, have him lie down and close his eyes to help his brain and ears adjust to the motion of the boat.
- Don’t forget about dehydration. When you’re on a boat, there’s water, water everywhere, but nary a drop to drink; stock your cooler full of water jugs. It’s much better to bring too much than to bring too little!
- Consider the risks of hypothermia, or getting too cold. Although it might be a hot day and the water may be warm, your child can get chilled quickly if he gets wet. Keep blankets and towels on board the boat to wrap him in if he starts complaining of feeling too cold. Also, pack everyone an extra outfit; sometimes just changing out of damp clothing can make a big difference in comfort.
- Check the Weather Forecast. It is only happen to us once but, we got caught in a storm while we were out boating. There is no where to run and hide when the storm rolls in so it can be quite scary. We always check the weather forecast and if we notice clouds start to form while we are out there, we check our handy app on the iPhone and see if there is bad weather headed our way!
- Finally, make sure that the boat is in good repair. Check fire extinguishers to be sure that they’re still in working order, make sure that the deck is not slippery with mildew, and that fuel lines and other essentials aren’t corroded. Owning a boat means keeping up with proper maintenance; make sure it’s been done to keep everyone safe.
Boating is a hobby that many families enjoy, and with a bit of forethought, you can be sure that your kids are comfortable and safe on the water.
Do you have any tips on keeping kids safe and happy on a boat?