Total Sailing Novice
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Pacific NW
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Re: How to secure a baby
Ok, When I said "always" in a PFD I wasn't really thinking about down in the cabin. The law around here (and I suppose most places) exempts children in the cabin from wearing PFDs and I have to assume there's a reason (I suppose if a child is in the cabin when the boat goes down, the PFD will do very little to protect them). I was envisioning the cockpit when I was saying that.
And yes, my child always wears a PFD on the docks. We have one similar to the ones that are pictured, although now that she's 30 lbs I need to find a new one.
I disagree that the main point of a PFD, especially for a small child, is to make body recovery easier. If a child falls overboard, whether that's off the deck of the boat or off a dock, a PFD will keep the child from sinking and make it easier to quickly retrieve the child out of the water. Hopefully within seconds. I have lived in (and swam in and boated in - though not sailed in) the pacific northwest my entire life and I am painfully aware of how quickly hypothermia sets in. A typical PFD will do nothing for that except hopefully make it easier for someone to pull you out of the water before it happens.
A car seat will not float with a baby strapped inside it. I am positive it will sink. I spend a lot of time with car seats because I'm a certified car seat tech, and although I admit I haven't thrown a lot of car seats in the water (hmm... maybe I've just found a new use for expired/crashed seats - mythbuster style!) I am quite familiar with their construction and I can't think of any except maybe one that *might* have a chance of not dragging your child into the depths immediately. The amount of foam in a car seat, if present at all, is NOT enough to keep it buoyant, I am sure. Even in a cabin I am very concerned about something that will make a child sink even faster, and make the child even harder to pull back to the surface quickly, than the child would with no floatation device at all.
There has GOT to be some kind of solution for keeping an infant from bouncing around the cabin that doesn't involve using heavy-duty straps and buckles (which, by design are a bit difficult to unfasten) to strap the child to something heavy that will sink like a rock. And if there isn't, perhaps it's time to invent something and market it.
~*~ Complete and total newbie looking for a first boat ~*~ Advice Welcome ~*~ Miniature Sheep Farmer ~*~ Child Passenger Safety Technician ~*~ Will trade my knowledge of shepherding or car seats for your knowledge of sailing! Just ask!
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Last edited by Brigala; 06-06-2012 at 01:00 PM.