What to Pack for a Fun Boat Day With Kids
When it comes to beating the hot summer heat, family boating can be a great idea. It not only provides children with hours of water fun, but it’ll also give parents a lot of opportunities to teach their kids valuable life lessons. You guys can head to different locations such as rivers, lakes and oceans, find caves to explore as well as platforms to jump off from, and do many other water activities such as swim, snorkel, paddleboard, etc.
In order to ensure you have a stress free boat day with your kids, there are a few things you need to remember to bring with you. Take full advantage of the time you spend on the water by being prepared for a variety of situations.
First Things First – Life Vest
Children, no matter the age, should wear approved life vests or floatation devices at all times while boating. After all, we never know when a boat could jostle our child from our arms. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. The same appl
ies to preparing to board the boat. Children are naturally curious and will likely find themselves exploring the dock’s edge while loading up the day’s gear.
When buying kids boating life jackets, make sure the one you choose is an approved one and that it fits your child’s size and weight. A baby life vest should have a loop at the back of the neck and a strap between the legs. This will ensure your child won’t slip out in case you need to lift him/her out of the water using the neck loop. Models that have armbands and wrap-around child’s torso also work fine.
Proper fit is also imperative. When shopping for a baby life vest, you may be tempted to purchase a larger size based on the assumption that your child will grow into it. Understand that a life jacket won’t provide proper protection if it doesn’t fit your child properly. If the life vest is too big, it could end up slipping above your child’s head, hence be unable to offer proper support or keep their mouth and nose above the water. A good way to determine that the vest is the right size for your child is to fit and adjust it on your child and then lift the vest from the top. If the fit is correct, you shouldn’t be able to lift it more than 2.5cm from your child’s shoulders.
Make sure you check the weight of the child against the guidelines of the life vest, as a heavier child will need more buoyancy. Buoyancy is measured in Newtons (N) and 100N is the standard for boating in calm water.
There are many ways to protect yourself from the sun. Using sunscreen is one of them. The reflection of the sun off of the waters, make you and your kids more likely to burn. Keep them safe from sunburn, skin damage and skin cancer by making sure they wear sunscreen.
Nowadays you can find a wide range of sun protection products available on the market, which can make it confusing knowing which one to choose. Sunscreen creams and lotions provide more even coverage than sprays and tend to be absorbed less through the skin, which is what you should aim for. When it comes to which ingredients to avoid, oxybenzone (a hormone disruptor) and retinal palmitate (which can amplify sun damage) are two of them. You should also avoid the use of sunscreen products containing nanoparticles. Experts still don’t know their impact on children to recommend their use.
The safest sun protection products are those that contain metal oxides, such as titanium or zinc. Also, choose sunscreens that protect against UVA and UVB rays. You also want to see the terms like “broad spectrum” or multi-spectrum” on the label. As for the SPF range, pick something in the 30-50 SPF range. Anything over 50 SPF doesn’t actually offer any additional benefits. According to experts, SPFs over 50 don’t provide a good balance between UVA and UVB rays and may pose health risks due to the higher concentration of chemicals they contain.
Sunscreen should be used on children 6 months and older. For babies younger than that, other measures for sun protection are recommended such as keeping them in shady spots, using had and wearing protective clothing. For best results, you should consider reapplying sunscreen every time your kids are done swimming or every few hours.
Plan for Activities
Children aren’t much patient when it comes to waiting hours for a fish to bite or enjoying the scenery. So, make sure to pack small toys or games for your children to play while cruising or anchored. Magnet shapes and books are great options as well as water colouring books and small dolls.
Bring Lots of Snacks
Being out in the water all day makes for extreme hunger and thirst. Be sure to bring lots of snacks, packed lunches and water for everyone on board. Consider filling up water bottles with ice before leaving. This will keep the water cold as the ice slowly melts during the day. Plus, bring extra drinks and a variety of food.