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Old 15-02-2015, 01:54   #1
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Advice - securing baby capsules

Hi all

So we took our 2 week old out to the boat today just to show it off to the mother in law and it raised a few questions. We want to head out for a sail in the coming weeks, nothing major just close to shore. I was thinking of somehow securing the car capsule in the cockpit ( covered ) and maybe somewhere below also. Is there anything else people have done to make sure new borns are kept safe and happy. We have a heavy displacement steel 50ft LOA Ketch. I don't foresee big seas etc any time soon so will be pretty easy sailing.

Any suggestions for a first time dad much appreciated!
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Old 15-02-2015, 05:26   #2
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Re: Advice - securing baby capsules

Your baby should not ride on a boat until he/she weighs at least 18 pounds and can wear a snug-fitting infant's personal flotation device (PFD).
The average weight baby reaches 18 pounds at about 7 months for boys, and 9 months for girls.
IMHO: Using a car seat on a boat probably isn't safe because the seat would sink instantly if it fell in the water.

See ➥ http://www.boatus.org/life-jacket-lo...quirements.asp
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Old 15-02-2015, 11:42   #3
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Re: Advice - securing baby capsules

I had my newborn out at about that age. Just a motor, didn't set any sails until he was a couple months. We have a very compact centre cockpit. We did not secure the car seat in any way. A parent, grand parent aunt or uncle paid 100% attention to him 100% of the time.

Down below the car seat wedged nicely between the settee and the dining table. This allowed the care giver to get up and make a sandwich or something but still remained within arms reach.

Gord makes a good point about life jackets, but I found a PFD at MEC starting at 9 lbs. "Naya Water Gear Baby PFD".

We were full time live aboards (moved him aboard at the salty age of 27 hours), so not taking the baby on the boat simply was not an option. At the very least we had to take him on the ferry to reach the island and to the pump out dock every two weeks.

Honestly, I felt the riskiest part of the operation was boarding the boat from the dock. I keep my boat in a seaworthy condition and I am not worried about it unexpectedly sinking when out for a 20 minute motor. Or a 2 week old spazing out and deciding to jump over board. I think given proper care, it can be done safely.

I would feel uneasy about lashing the car seat down in any way. Keep it mobile so you can move it if you have to. Also, I towed my zodiac when I had the newborn aboard for extra security.

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Old 15-02-2015, 23:51   #4
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Re: Advice - securing baby capsules

I commercial fished mostly in the days before car seats. There were several families with children aboard the boats and the occasional newborns. Laws and USCG aside, they all did well. Some were on the boats in the summer only and some - home schooled - all the time. Babies had built in cribs below deck and usually a crib/playpen on a fish hatch. I can't remember one child accident. They also never get sea sick or car sick and seem to grow up healthier.
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Old 16-02-2015, 04:36   #5
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Re: Advice - securing baby capsules

We've had grandchildren on board almost from birth. Our granddaughter spent a week underway while learning to walk.

The big rule, as FamilyVan said, is that there's always an adult whose only job is to watch the kid.

Being realistic, it would be a pretty rare occasion in settled weather on a decent-sized sailboat (or trawler-style power boat) when something comes up so quickly that an adult can't take whatever action is needed to protect the baby.

In the end, my guess would be the baby is 100 times less likely to come to harm on a sailboat, even under sail, even in moderate to rough conditions, than driving to day-care in a car. Or even being AT day care. Of course you try to minimize all risks. But you can't keep them in a bubble their whole lives.
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Old 16-02-2015, 06:13   #6
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Re: Advice - securing baby capsules

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Originally Posted by Mattyb View Post
Hi all

So we took our 2 week old out to the boat today just to show it off to the mother in law and it raised a few questions. We want to head out for a sail in the coming weeks, nothing major just close to shore. I was thinking of somehow securing the car capsule in the cockpit ( covered ) and maybe somewhere below also. Is there anything else people have done to make sure new borns are kept safe and happy. We have a heavy displacement steel 50ft LOA Ketch. I don't foresee big seas etc any time soon so will be pretty easy sailing.

Any suggestions for a first time dad much appreciated!
Put the baby in a hammock, it's comfortable and safe. Babies are happy inside.
Search for images of "baby in hammock".

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Old 17-02-2015, 14:41   #7
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Re: Advice - securing baby capsules

Car seats are designed with features to securely attach them to something. If you look around your sailboat, you'll see many examples of secure attachments designed to hold tremendously more force than what a car seat will ever experience.
Plan carefully the right spot for your baby to hang out, tie some lashings, screw in padeyes if you need to and your baby will undoubtedly be safe.
Having a full time nanny watching Matty Jr. is well and good, but the reality is that sometimes both parents need to work the boat and you need your baby to be safe & secure. This is why car seats were invented--to keep babies safe while you focus on driving. As he/she grows, you'll graduate to harness, life jacket, or play pens depending on the situation.
Whatever you do, don't let anyone shame you (Gord May) about taking your baby onboard. Ours and many other cruising families have worked out ways to keep safe and you can too.
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Old 17-02-2015, 14:51   #8
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Re: Advice - securing baby capsules

I would feel better about a baby on board than a toddler. Babies stay where you put them. I think the hammock really is the best solution down below. On deck, you might want to consider a baby sling of some sort so that the dedicated adult is wearing the baby. This would also remind the dedicated adult that they are dedicated to the baby, not being a part of sailing the boat.

I certainly wouldn't put newborn in a car seat on a sailboat: the motion on the boat is different than what they were designed for and the baby's neck muscles are still developing. The hammock would provide a sort of shock absorbing system, and a baby in a sling is well swaddled.
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Old 17-02-2015, 15:06   #9
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Re: Advice - securing baby capsules

We left home from Boston south to the Bahamas when our first was 3 months old then two years later with a 2yr old and a 2 month old. We brought a car seat the first trip and got rid of it as soon as we got back because we never used it. We have a small high chair we strap to the seat they can be secured in. We also made a soft sided crib that sits on a setee and secures to the cabintop with clips on 4 corners. when they are babies you can wedge them almost anywhere securely with a few pillows. My wife always wore the baby in a carrier getting on and off the boat when they were small.
Good luck
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Old 17-02-2015, 15:15   #10
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Re: Advice - securing baby capsules

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Originally Posted by Greenhand View Post
I would feel better about a baby on board than a toddler. Babies stay where you put them. I think the hammock really is the best solution down below. On deck, you might want to consider a baby sling of some sort so that the dedicated adult is wearing the baby. This would also remind the dedicated adult that they are dedicated to the baby, not being a part of sailing the boat.

I certainly wouldn't put newborn in a car seat on a sailboat: the motion on the boat is different than what they were designed for and the baby's neck muscles are still developing. The hammock would provide a sort of shock absorbing system, and a baby in a sling is well swaddled.
Of all the responses, this one rings the most bells for me. I don't have a baby, but if I did, those are the things I would do. Gord's mention of a PFD for infant would be next.

By the way, my very first memory (as far back as I can remember) was being a small child (1-2 years old) on a sailboat (35ft ketch) underway, with my mom holding me in her arms in the cockpit as I reached my hand out to the water/spray beside the boat while we were heeled on a reach. Nice memory and I like to think it started my love for sailing.
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Old 17-02-2015, 15:32   #11
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Re: Advice - securing baby capsules

Unless you live in one of the stupid places of the world that require children to have lifejackets on, I'd just strap the baby onto Mom by means of a baby carrier. My wife had a homemade one that could go backpack style or in front, and all our children spent most of their first year in it. While our youngest was nine months old when we moved aboard, so a little older than yours, she did lots of sea miles tied firmly to her mother while the latter stood watch.
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Old 17-02-2015, 15:58   #12
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Re: Advice - securing baby capsules

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I would feel better about a baby on board than a toddler. Babies stay where you put them.
Exactly right. And the sooner a child is introduced to the restricted environment of a boat, the better they are able to be handled as a toddler. Mine was 14 months old when we got the boat; just old enough to want to be everywhere and touch everything (esp pulling down the oven door!). But he adapted quickly to the cockpit harness as well as the second PFD we bought (as the first PFD was too bulky and made him too top heavy). He also learned very quickly that things make a splashing noise when thrown overboard which I'm hoping will be hampered by the new lifeline netting!
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Old 17-02-2015, 16:20   #13
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Re: Advice - securing baby capsules

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Originally Posted by Uliad View Post
Car seats are designed with features to securely attach them to something. If you look around your sailboat, you'll see many examples of secure attachments designed to hold tremendously more force than what a car seat will ever experience.
Plan carefully the right spot for your baby to hang out, tie some lashings, screw in padeyes if you need to and your baby will undoubtedly be safe.
Having a full time nanny watching Matty Jr. is well and good, but the reality is that sometimes both parents need to work the boat and you need your baby to be safe & secure. This is why car seats were invented--to keep babies safe while you focus on driving. As he/she grows, you'll graduate to harness, life jacket, or play pens depending on the situation.
Whatever you do, don't let anyone shame you (Gord May) about taking your baby onboard. Ours and many other cruising families have worked out ways to keep safe and you can too.
I generally agree. Maybe I am a worrier, but at two weeks I think direct adult supervision is a good idea. I agree, there is no way your 30+ ft sailboat or trawler should just randomly sink or capsize.

But two weeks (up to three months) are pretty fragile little guys. I worry about bees and spiders in particular. Down below in the safety of your cabin no big deal, but out on deck- one on one supervision would be my advice.

Really, in most cases, cruising with a nb there is at least mom and dad. And one of those people should be capable of single handing in any conditions appropriate to a baby. Unless you're doing over night passages. At that point, you would be stretching my comfort level with a new born.

Having said that at two months we were pretty comfortable with him in his car seat at up to 25 knot winds and 2 metre seas- mom on baby duty and me single handing.

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Old 17-02-2015, 21:14   #14
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Re: Advice - securing baby capsules

Thanks for everybody for their replies , I do value and take consideration on each of them. We have enough crew and family to always have a dedicated person looking after bubs all the time. We have now purchased a sling you can wear with the baby in and I am still keen on securing the carrier somewhere just to put the baby when at anchor etc. there will generally be 4-6 people on board when we go for a sail so many hands to handle the boat work and many clucky ladies arguing over who's turn it is to watch Ethan any other ideas or support much appreciated.


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Old 18-02-2015, 05:51   #15
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Re: Advice - securing baby capsules

Bit of an aside, but do you have a bimini or other well ventilated shaded area? This item went from nice to have to an absolute must after the first heat stroke for the little one.

She was over 15 mo old when she got sailing first. Tethered and wearing a pfd and with an adult holding onto her at all times. And my gosh it's so much work since they are curious about everything and just refuse to stay put; if we don't outnumber her 4:1 it's a very stressful experience.

But then again, all kids are different.


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