Toddler PFD-harness/ tether - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 04-13-2006
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Toddler PFD-harness/ tether

after much searching seems like the CREWSAVER foam SUPERSAFE might be the best lifejacket for kids. The harness attachment point is in the rear so they do not trip over it. Any suggestions for a child tether? The Wichard 7005 looks interesting because it is elastic and retracts to only one meter- cannot find any shorter tether for kids. Any information would be appreciated.
Thank you.
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Old 04-13-2006
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Unless the toddler is going to be working the foredeck in rough weather, I'm not sure how you want to use a child tether on the boat. Most folks with toddlers do the surroundsound netting on the lifelines, which serves to ensure that little people stay on board. If you do the netting, do you need a tether (for the kid...).

Ggood luck.
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Old 04-13-2006
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most people we talked too said forget the netting. We have jack lines anyway so a tether is best- for at the dock, naturally, not underway.
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Old 04-13-2006
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My son started sailing with us when he was 4 months old. We never used netting. He had to wear a harness and tether whenever he was on deck until he was a strong enough swimmer to be able to take care of himself if he fell overboard. At that time, he didn't have to wear the harness, but he still had to wear a pfd whenever he was on deck or on the docks. You'll know instinctively when they are mature enough so that you can let them walk around the docks without a pfd, somewhere around 11-12 years. IMHO, the netting is relatively useless. A toddler is too unsteady to be allowed on the foredeck unattended. Once they are able to walk, they quickly become able to pull themselves over the lifelines. You need to keep him or her close to you until the child can swim, and the only way to keep them close is with a tether, so they can't get away in those moments when your attention is drawn away.

It might sound like you'll miss out on a lot of fun by having to keep them so close, but my son was frequently in the cockpit when we were racing. At about 2 years, he plopped over the side just as we were rounding up to start a race. I reached down and grabbed his tether, and swung him back into the cockpit, and we hit the start perfectly. I often think that if he hadn't created a little drag and slowed us down a bit, we might have been over early. You'll still have plenty of fun. It'll just be different.
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Old 04-13-2006
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Make sure you get a tether the kid won't be able to open himself. This is far different from an adult harness, where you do want the ability to open the body end under load.
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Old 04-14-2006
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We put up netting to try and keep the toys on board. Didn't work - there are a couple of Teletubbies sleeping with the fishes at the bottom of Puget Sound. I'm putting new lifelines on, and won't be putting the netting back up.

Our rules for the kid (now 4, sailing since he was 2 months) are PFD when we're at the dock, and PFD+Harness under way (if he's above decks). It's great peace of mind.

I agree with Sailingdog - get a tether he's not going to accidentally open. Our son hasn't had any problem tripping on the front tether. I think they get used to it and learn how to cope.
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Old 04-14-2006
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now I;m wondering about having the tether on the back- God forbid they go over the side, even for a moment, the tether on the back might keep them face down? (but then again the tether is really meant to keep them on the boat and should be short enhough that they can't go over the side??)
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Old 04-14-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by h20ski
now I;m wondering about having the tether on the back- God forbid they go over the side, even for a moment, the tether on the back might keep them face down? (but then again the tether is really meant to keep them on the boat and should be short enhough that they can't go over the side??)
Three reasons for having the tether on the back...

First, if it is long enough for them to be in the water... it will help prevent them from drowning if they are towed by the boat. If the tether were attached in the front, the water would be forced up into their face... if attached in the back, they are towed face up, backwards behind the boat, and their bow wave just soaks their hair—doesn't go up in to their face and down their throat.

Second, it is far less likely for them to tamper with it if it is behind them. Kids tend to fiddle with what they can see, and I'd rather have them not fiddling with what might save their life.

Third, it is far more comfortable to be hoisted up aboard the boat via a harness attached at the back than the front if you're a little kid. The spine doesn't like bending backwards...

Last edited by sailingdog; 04-14-2006 at 09:48 AM.
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Old 04-14-2006
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Thank you SailingDog and JM- your posts make complete sense and have been extremely helpful!!!!!!!
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Old 04-14-2006
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You're welcome.
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