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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising and Sailing with Children
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Cruising and Sailing with Children All things sailing and kids related, from safety to life aboard.


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Old 03-26-2014
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Life vest or flotation device for infants

Hello Everyone

We have 2 infants onboard one is 8 Months old 27 inches long and 20 lbs

Another one is neqrly one year old and mobile

What are the best flotation devices we should make them wear when under way?

Should we click them into the jacklines?

Any advice is welcome

Andreas


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Old 03-26-2014
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Re: Life vest or flotation device for infants

Sail Far Live Free - Sailboats, Sailing News, and Gear: Cruising with Kids: Don't Leave the Dock Without Them!

Yes Mustang makes very good children's and infant's vests. Make sure they have crotch straps and use them. Tether them at all times when above decks. Car seats work wonders to keep the really little ones in one spot, and they are normally quite comfortable with them already and fall asleep well in them as well.

Calling Cruising Dad.....

edit...

Keep some ginger snaps, ginger beer, and ginger candy for sea sickness. mild and effective, not just for the kids.


Last edited by miatapaul; 03-26-2014 at 09:06 PM.
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Old 03-26-2014
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Re: Life vest or flotation device for infants

we bougth the mustang infant vest for the smaller child and it was wayyy too small for her... Even though she only 20 lbs do they tend to run small or did we make some mistake putting her in it?

A


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Old 03-26-2014
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Re: Life vest or flotation device for infants

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Originally Posted by AndreasNYC View Post
we bougth the mustang infant vest for the smaller child and it was wayyy too small for her... Even though she only 20 lbs do they tend to run small or did we make some mistake putting her in it?

A


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I would take the vest and baby to West Marine (I believe there is one in Manhattan) and see if they can help try on what they have. The Defender sale is this weekend, and while it is good for savings, I don't think you will get much help fitting a baby with a vest as they are pretty busy! But trying before you buy is a big help.
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Old 03-27-2014
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Re: Life vest or flotation device for infants

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndreasNYC View Post
Hello Everyone

We have 2 infants onboard one is 8 Months old 27 inches long and 20 lbs

Another one is neqrly one year old and mobile

What are the best flotation devices we should make them wear when under way?

Should we click them into the jacklines?

Any advice is welcome

Andreas


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Absolutely on the Mustangs! We are huge fans of those lifejackets. They do fit fairly tight. As Miata mentioned, take them to the store and find the one that fits. Just make sure the jacket you choose has: head flotation, will float them right-side up, has a crotch strap. The lifting strap at the head comes in useful too, but not he end of the world.

What are your sailing plans? Offshore? Coastal? Daysail? If anything but the latter, you should consider your options for securing the child. Reality is that in bad weather, at night, when anchoring and when approaching the dock, they need a place they can go which is safe and secure. Your attention will be (and should be) completely on the vessel. We used the Vberth for this, padded with cushions/pillows, and a crib side over the end to keep them in. THis worked very well. The problem with the V-Berth is it is unusable in a large sea. At this point, they will need to be secured or held in the salon. The car seat is a perfectly good option for fair weather and short sails... but they likely will not float so it must be used with caution.

I have just completed a very long article for BoatUS on this issue and others - from newborns - teenagers. I do not know the publish date yet but if you check back in with me, I will try and get one from the editor. It has a lot more info than this that will help you as the season approaches.

Take care. Feel free to write or PM if you have any questions. You may also follow us on Facebook or our blog.

Brian
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Re: Life vest or flotation device for infants

One last word: In all our years of boating, passages, coastal cruising and offshore runs (my kids were aboard at 5 days old), my children have fallen into the water exactly two times/piece. They were both at the dock. Children can drown at the marina as easy as at sea... in fact, in my opinion, easier because you are less diligent.

Food for thought.

Brian
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Re: Life vest or flotation device for infants

Mustangs are great. We put them on the kids first thing when we get out of the car. Only come off when down below. We keep two dedicated lines that we tie to the jackets when up above. Installing lifeline netting this summer. Ages 4 and 2

The wife and I also wear our inflatables while underway to set the example. Also ensure that we can focus on them and not us should something happen.

Josh
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Re: Life vest or flotation device for infants

in terms of storage while under way, my Swan 46 has a bunk that is in the main room behind the dinnette. Its already basically a padded box. We have some lee cloths that go in there and we could attach some netting at the top. We sent back the mustang jackets, will get the next size up..


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Re: Life vest or flotation device for infants

We've used the Mustangs for our kids too, and they are great. I agree, they do run a little tight. For the 1 year old, and the infant, too, if there's enough musculature so you don't risk hurting him/her, put the vest on and actually try picking them up like you'd be pulling them out of the water. If the vest slips off, you have the wrong size, or it needs to be adjusted.
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Old 03-28-2014
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Re: Life vest or flotation device for infants

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndreasNYC View Post

Should we click them into the jacklines?

Any advice is welcome
...
My son has always worn a harness on the dock and on the boat. My wife or I hold the tether on the dock; he is clipped on to a jackline or the steering pedestal when onboard.

On all but the hottest days, he wears a PFD with a crotch strap on top of the harness.

What has been surprising is his affinity for the cabin while underway. He loves to go in the cabin and rummage through the storage areas, pulling out lines, equipment, and bungee cords.

Now that he is almost 4 years old and involved in gymnastics (and soccer and swimming and art class, etc.), he will swing on the halyards dropped through the companionway hatch.

So, don't be surprised if you kids choose to stay below decks playing, instead of sitting in the cockpit with you.

Here is a rare moment when he sat with me in the cockpit:


We have taken out a number of different couples with their kids, too, so you might as well buy an assortment of different sized child PFDs that your children will grow into, and guests can use for their children.

Last edited by jameswilson29; 03-28-2014 at 08:38 AM.
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