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post #9 of Old 03-06-2013
Cruisingdad
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Re: Raising very young children

Nice writeup Jimgo. I pretty much agree with everything.

Sailing with young children is actually pretty easy. Boats are already pretty kid-proof. Exceptions are: Electrical panels and switches, companionway, and electric heads.

Some people attach a locked cover over their switches that prevents the kids from touching them. Just a warning that mine were attracted to them until the learned the rules. Not sure there is anything there that they can really hurt or hurt them, but it is frustrating to find out your nav lights had been on all day!

The companionway kept me awake at nights. At about 3, they can crawl up the ladder (sometimes younger). If you can find a way to secure the companionway, that would be best. We had nightmares of our boys crawling up through it and slipping out when we were not looking. That being said, it NEVER happened with either. Neither even had much of an interest. But it still bothered me. Of note, the only times either of my kids have accidentally fallen in the water was at the dock.

I have no reason why, but my boys were attracted to the head. They loved to throw things in it. On one less than memorable occasion, Chase threw in a tiny matchbox car and beganst to macerate it. The result was a trip to the marina and a bucket until them. I was NOT a happy camper. Most of these you can turn off at the panel until they learn not to touch.

Definitely go with Mustang vests with the crotch strap and head flotation. The jackets float the child right side up and give you a strap to grab them with and pull them up without them slipping out the bottom. Kids will not like them at first, so you know. They even look uncomfortable. But taking them off is not an option unless they want to stay below. That brings up another issue: heat. When you sail south, you will have a problem with days that are very hot and little wind. Fans only help to a point. I think you should consider an air conditioner and if you are cruising, a generator. Others get by without it, and that is fine. But for us and how we spent time on the water, living without a generator would put us at the docks.

You will need a good place to put the child where they can play in safety. For us, it was the Vberth. We fashioned a "crib side" across the head of it and patted the rest with cushions. It worked very well and as the v berth is generally the coolest part of the boat, also helped with the heat issues.

What other questions can I answer? I am happy to help.

Brian

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