Recommendations needed - baby/infant PFD and harnesses - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 30 Old 05-08-2013 Thread Starter
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Recommendations needed - baby/infant PFD and harnesses

Hi all,
Well I'm guessing this has been covered before, but I can't seem to find what I'm looking for with search. Maybe someone here can help with either the information or a link to another thread that I should read.

We have a new little one who will be going sailing for the first time soon on our 34 footer. He's 6 1/2 months old now, about 19.5 lbs, so "infant" PFDs will be the need for this season. I'd like to have a PFD for him as well as a harness. We may not use each of them all the time, but sometimes a harness is better than a jacket, other times the jacket is in order. I would like to have options.

Any specific recommendations on either a PFD or harness you particularly like for infant types? There are a lot out there, so it's a bit much to sort through.

Thanks for the help!
J

1984 Sabre 34 Mk I
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post #2 of 30 Old 05-08-2013
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Re: Recommendations needed - baby/infant PFD and harnesses

When mine were that small, I rigged a harness myself and tethered them so they could not leave the cockpit.

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Re: Recommendations needed - baby/infant PFD and harnesses

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Originally Posted by johnnyquest37 View Post
When mine were that small, I rigged a harness myself and tethered them so they could not leave the cockpit.
Did you just make the harness out of line (as opposed to sewing one with webbing, etc.)?

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Re: Recommendations needed - baby/infant PFD and harnesses

J,

We have two of these on board, Cal June / Jim Buoy Child's Safety Harness

I have a Mustang Infant PFD if you want it, it yours, we have no need for it anymore.
Mustang Lil' Legends Infant Floater Life Jacket / PFD

In addition, if you can find space, a "pack & play" is great for the boat
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Graco-Pack...hford/14707380

Also something like a car seat or seat with harness can be useful such as this

Cheers,
Shawn

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Re: Recommendations needed - baby/infant PFD and harnesses

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Originally Posted by josrulz View Post
Did you just make the harness out of line (as opposed to sewing one with webbing, etc.)?
I used line I had on the boat already, both for the harness (think Swiss seat) and the tether. A six month old won't need heavy duty line or hardware. The idea was to tether them so they could not get out of the cockpit, not to keep them on the boat in a knockdown.

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post #6 of 30 Old 05-08-2013
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Re: Recommendations needed - baby/infant PFD and harnesses

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Originally Posted by josrulz View Post
Hi all,


. We may not use each of them all the time, but sometimes a harness is better than a jacket, other times the jacket is in order. I would like to have options.



Thanks for the help!
J
please keep in mind that they are required to have an approved device on at all times while on the boat. Yes I know, but at all times and even while in the cabin. even while in the slip. as they get older you can never under estimate the speed at which a toddler can get from anywhere in the boat to the rail.

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Re: Recommendations needed - baby/infant PFD and harnesses

Belated congratulations on the birth of your son! Boys are a lot of fun.

Funny, I was going to say the exact opposite of Johnny. We gotthe Mustang PFD's for our boys, and feel good about their use. They make an infant version, too. I sewed a strap through the back to which the tether can be attached. My boys were 4 and 6 when we started sailing, though much like an infant, they still can't swim well.

With an infant, I think its a tough call as to whether a tether or a PFD is best. The tether and harness are designed to keep the baby from going overboard, while the PFD is meant to keep them afloat if they do go over. In the end, you have to do what makes you most comfortable, but with a child that young, I would probably insist on the PFD because it will get them into the habit early. I'd tether them, too, and I'd probably consider netting around the cockpit area. Not that netting is the be-all and end-all, but at $30-50, it seems a no-brainer.

With our new boat, we have a bigger foredeck and easier access to it, so I'd like to start letting my boys go forward. My plan is a jackline with tethers, the tethers being attached to the webbing loop that I added to the PFD (it's literally a loop that goes all the way through the arm holes of the PFD). I'll probably also add netting to the foredeck area.

With an infant, I'd be more worried about how to secure the seat/carrier, and how to keep him entertained while he's aboard. I've seen some jumpers that attach to the boom, and some other neat toys for little ones.

- Jim
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Re: Recommendations needed - baby/infant PFD and harnesses

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Originally Posted by overbored View Post
please keep in mind that they are required to have an approved device on at all times while on the boat. Yes I know, but at all times and even while in the cabin. even while in the slip. as they get older you can never under estimate the speed at which a toddler can get from anywhere in the boat to the rail.
I am not necassarily in disagrrement that a infant should wear a PFD, but it is not required by law in Maryland so your statement is incorrect.

"Effective April 1, 2010, Maryland law states that all children under the age of 13 must WEAR a United States Coast Guard approved Personal Flotation Device (life jacket - Type I, II, III or V) while underway on a recreational vessel under 21 feet in length on Maryland waters. Recreational vessel includes motorboats, sailboats, canoes, kayaks, rowboats, and any other device capable of being used for transportation on the water, when the vessel is being used for other than commercial purposes. The life jacket must be the proper size for the child and must be in good and serviceable condition.

This requirement does not apply when:

A vessel is moored or anchored.
A child is below deck or in an enclosed cabin.

Also a child under the age of 4 must wear a PFD which features additional safety precautions, as appropriate for an infant, toddler, or young child, so as to:

hold the child securely within the PFD, including a strap that is secured between the child's legs to fasten together the front and back of the PFD;
maintain the buoyancy of the child, including an inflatable headrest or high collar; or
ensure the ready accessibility of the child from the vessel, including a web handle.

This does not apply to a vessel that is moored or anchored or a child who is below deck or in an enclosed cabin. "

Maryland Department of Natural Resources - Boating



Of course conditions/sea state, where you are sailing, type of boat, etc should all be considered when choosing where, when, what a child/infant should be in a PFD or Harness

Cheers,
Shawn

S/V Windgeist
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Re: Recommendations needed - baby/infant PFD and harnesses

Shawn, that's interesting. I'll have to look at the NJ law. It says the requirement only applies to vessels under 21 feet. Your boat, my boat, and the OP's boat are all over that size. Well, my Albacore isn't but I will insist that they wear PFD's on that thing anyway.

I wonder if there's a regulation for larger pleasure boats.

- Jim
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Re: Recommendations needed - baby/infant PFD and harnesses

Once my kids could walk, we got them into PFDs. Crawlers, we tethered. In the car seat, we just strapped them in and secured the car seat. In dicey conditions, the little ones should be below. In good conditions, you are (or should be) keeping an eye on them. I've got six kids who have been sailing before most of them could walk. We managed not to lose any of them.
T37Chef, josrulz and jimgo like this.

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