Kayaking is one of the best activities for the whole family to enjoy. It’s something different for the kids to do, teaches them about the beauty of nature, and it’s a super relaxing pastime for adults.
Not to mention, it’s a great way for everyone to make special lifelong memories together.
You have to make sure you’re being as safe as possible when taking the kids out on the water, especially if they’re still pretty young!
Here are 9 things you need to stay safe when kayaking with kids.
Sunscreen is a must-have item when doing anything outside with kids. Their skin is a lot more sensitive than an adult’s, so it can’t hold up as well against the sun’s strong rays.
Putting sunscreen on your children before going kayaking saves you from having to treat a burn later. It ensures the whole experience is as enjoyable as possible.
2. Flotation Devices
Another item you can’t leave home without when going kayaking is a flotation device. This is necessary regardless if your child is a top-notch swimmer or if they only recently learned how to swim.
You never know what could happen out there, and you don’t want your children to panic if something does go wrong.
Even a common kayaking situation like tipping over can be scary for children. You probably know how to deal with this if it happens, but they don’t.
A flotation device keeps them safe while you work on getting the kayak right-side-up again and continue the journey.
3. Emergency Whistles
It’s pretty easy to handle a kayaking mistake when you’re right next to your children or sharing a kayak. However, you should bring emergency whistles with you in case the group gets separated.
What if you have to go back because someone forgot their sunglasses or if one of the kids gets tired? You always want to make sure you have a way to communicate with each other and/or signal for help from people who are nearby.
If you and your spouse separate, or if you leave your oldest in charge, you can’t just trust things will be okay.
Emergency whistles are the backup everyone needs to have peace of mind while kayaking.
4. Safe Clothing
Another important safety measure to take when kayaking with kids is to check everyone’s outfit before getting on the water. The best way to dress for kayaking is to prepare for the temperature of the water, not the weather outside.
Think about it: it could be 95 degrees outside but 70 degrees in the water. That’s a big difference for anyone, but it could be a big surprise to your children. You need to make sure they’re well-prepared for this kind of cold in case they fall in or decide to go for a swim.
More so, it’s a good idea to have a dry change of clothes waiting for everyone once you get back. All the clothes you bring should be a comfortable, breathable material.
Avoid heavy fabrics like denim or cotton and opt for waterproof and/or sweat-wicking pieces instead.
What if your child doesn’t get in the water at all, but it starts to rain? You never know when some rainclouds may roll in, so you want to pack some safety gear that’s suited for this situation.
Bring raincoats or at least a handful of ponchos. Pack long waterproof pants if you have them and even rainboots wouldn’t be a bad idea. You really shouldn’t be kayaking in the rain anyway, but these are still smart things to have on-hand just in case some unexpected rain happens.
6. Children’s Toiletries
If you had to guess what the one thing your child is going to complain about while kayaking, it’s probably that they have to go to the bathroom.
Kids always have to use the potty at the most inconvenient time, so it falls on you to make sure you’re prepared for this to happen at any moment.
This is partly why an extra bathing suit and a set of dry clothes is a smart thing to pack. But, you should also bring diapers (if age-appropriate) or a pack of wet wipes in case an emergency of this sort does happen.
7. Water and Snacks
Water and snacks are pretty much a must whenever you plan any kind of outing with your kids. When it comes to kayaking, though, this can be the difference between enjoying a nice, long kayaking trip or having to cut this adventure short.
Not to mention, it’s good for children who get tired easily or who aren’t very active to have a bit of extra energy available. As fun as kayaking is, being in the sun all day and paddling on a kayak can be exhausting.
Water and snacks help you and your family maintain a healthy level of energy and stay in good spirits, too.
8. A Watch
It might be a little surprising to see a watch on this list, but they make a big difference. You and all your children who are old enough to tell time should have a watch on.
This helps everyone keep track of how long you’ve been on the water. It’s a smart tool to use when kayaking together or in case the children go off on their own and you tell them to be back at a certain time.
9. A Map
The final safety tool to have when kayaking with kids is a map. You can’t always rely on your phone’s GPS to bring you back to your starting point. You need something more detailed and reliable to keep everyone safe.
Grab a few copies of the waterway you’re kayaking before you start your journey. Hand them out in case you get separated and communicate where everyone needs to meet in the event that an emergency does happen.
Stress-Free Kayaking with Kids
Kayaking with kids may sound a little stressful at first, but it’s actually a great way to have fun as a family.
It just requires a bit of careful planning and smart execution on your end. The more you think about all the safety measures and communicate well with your children, the better the whole experience will be.
If you’re interested in learning a little more about kayaking before you go, click here.