Taking your baby on a boating trip can be an exciting and fun experience for the whole family. As you set sail with your little ones for the first time, it’s essential to be well-prepared with the right gear to ensure their safety and comfort throughout the voyage. In this article, we discuss the necessary equipment and tips to make your boating trip with babies a wonderful and memorable adventure.
Safety First: Life Jackets for Babies
When taking your baby on board, safety should be your top priority. The U.S. Coast Guard recommends that infants and children under the age of 13 wear life jackets at all times when on the water. Here are some characteristics of baby life jackets to consider when purchasing:
U.S. Coast Guard-approved – Look for the USCG approval label to ensure the life jacket meets their safety standards.
Size and weight range – Choose a life jacket that is specifically designed for babies and will fit them securely. Life jackets are usually categorized by weight (for infants, 8-30 pounds), so make sure to follow the manufacturer’s size chart.
Head support and flotation – Baby life jackets should have cushioning around the head and neck areas that flip the baby onto their back and keep the face clear of water.
Secure straps – Opt for a life jacket with secure waist and crotch straps that will keep the life jacket in place even in the water.
Remember, even with a life jacket, never leave your baby unattended near water or on a boat.
Babies have delicate skin that is sensitive to sun exposure. Here are some ways to protect your little one from the sun’s harsh rays on a boating trip:
Sunscreen – Use baby-safe, waterproof sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 30. Apply it 30 minutes before going outside and reapply every two hours or after swimming.
UV-protective clothing – Dress your baby in clothing with built-in UV protection, such as rash guards, wetsuits, or lightweight long-sleeved shirts and pants.
Shade – Bring along a pop-up beach tent or a portable canopy to provide shade on the boat when not in motion.
Hat and sunglasses – A wide-brimmed hat and baby-safe sunglasses with a strap will protect your baby’s face and eyes from the sun.
Diaper Changes and Hygiene
Keeping your baby clean and comfortable while boating is crucial. Here’s a list of essentials for diaper changes and hygiene:
Waterproof changing pad: A portable and waterproof changing pad will make diaper changes easier and cleaner on the boat.
Diapers and wipes: Pack enough disposable or cloth diapers and baby wipes for the entire trip.
Sealable plastic bags: To dispose of dirty diapers, bring zip-top bags or a wet bag to seal in the odor and keep your boat clean.
Hand sanitizer: Bring alcohol-based hand sanitizer for quick hand cleaning after diaper changes.
Feeding Your Baby
Plan and prepare for your baby’s feeding needs during the boat trip.
Breastfeeding: If you’re breastfeeding, choose comfortable clothing and bring a nursing cover-up if desired. Also, stay hydrated during the trip.
Formula feeding: Pack pre-measured formula powder and an insulated bottle with cooled boiled water.
Baby food and snacks: Bring age-appropriate baby food and snacks in resealable containers.
Bibs and cleaning cloths: Pack a few bibs, burp cloths, and wet wipes to clean up any messes during feeding.
Keep your baby entertained during the trip by packing some age-appropriate toys and activities. Bring waterproof and UV-resistant toys, books, and soft toys for playtime. Remember to bring baby-safe teething toys for babies exploring with their mouths.
Ensure your baby’s comfort during the boat ride by adhering to the following:
Motion sickness – Some babies might experience motion sickness. Consult your pediatrician for motion sickness remedies suitable for your baby.
Naps – Bring a baby travel bed, a bouncer or a portable crib so that your baby can sleep comfortably.
Clothing – Dress your baby in comfortable layers to easily adjust to the changing weather conditions.
Bringing your baby on a boat trip can be an enjoyable experience when planned well with the right gear, ensuring your little one’s safety, comfort, and entertainment. With the appropriate preparations and essentials, you can create lasting memories with your family on the water.