11 Things to Consider When Taking a Toddler on a Boat

11 Things to Consider When Taking a Toddler on a Boat

Here are some things to consider before taking a toddler on a boat trip:

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  • Age and Development: Toddlers can be a handful on land, and a boat adds a whole new set of challenges. Ideally, wait until your toddler is at least 2 years old and can understand and follow basic safety instructions.

  • Life Jacket: A US Coast Guard-approved life jacket is the most critical safety element for any child on a boat. Make sure to get one that fits snugly but allows for movement. Look for bright colors and a design with a headrest and straps that go between the legs to prevent them from slipping out.

  • Sun Protection: A toddler’s skin is also sensitive to the sun. Keep them out of direct sunlight as much as possible by using a canopy or umbrella. Apply broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher to their exposed skin. Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or more often if they’ve been swimming.

  • Water Conditions: Choose a calm and sunny day for your boat trip. Avoid windy or choppy conditions that could make the toddler seasick. Be prepared for quick weather changes by bringing extra blankets and layers of clothing.

  • Fresh Water and Supplies: Pack plenty of fresh water for drinking and snacks. Bring extra bottles, diapers, wipes and a change of clothes in a waterproof bag. Consider bringing along their favorite snacks to keep them happy.

  • Entertainment: Toddlers have short attention spans, so bring along a variety of toys and books to keep them occupied. Bubbles, balls, and small toy cars can be a great way to keep them entertained. Sensory toys can also be helpful, especially if they start to feel overwhelmed.

  • Establish Rules: Set clear and simple rules before you get on the boat. Explain that they must stay seated while the boat is moving, never lean over the edge, and always wear their life jacket.

  • Constant Supervision: Never take your eyes off your toddler for a second. Assign one adult to be in charge of watching the toddler at all times. The boat deck can be a slippery surface, so be prepared to hold on to them or keep them in a secured carrier, especially when the boat is moving.

  • Plan for Feeding: If your toddler eats solids, pack plenty of easy-to-eat snacks and drinks. If they still drink from a bottle, bring pre-measured formula or pumped breastmilk.

  • Keep it Short: For the first few boat trips, keep the outing short and sweet. An hour or two is plenty of time for a toddler. This will help avoid overstimulation or crankiness.

  • Consider Their Needs: Toddlers can get restless easily. Be prepared to take breaks and let them walk around the deck (while closely supervised) to stretch their legs.

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By following these tips, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable boating experience for you and your toddler.

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11 Things to Consider When Taking a Toddler on a Boat
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11 Things to Consider When Taking a Toddler on a Boat
11 Things to Consider When Taking a Toddler on a Boat
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