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Old 25-10-2016, 19:41   #1
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Help keep toddler safe

I have seen on sailboats netting on the lifelines to keep a toddler from falling overboard.

How has this worked for you ?

Does anyone know a good source for this and what it is called ?

Thanks,

arch
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Old 25-10-2016, 20:45   #2
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Re: help keep toddler safe

Arch, your avatar doesn't say where you are, but try Googling "Lifeline netting for sailboats" and see what you get for your region..

I wouldn't count on it to keep the child "safe", you need a lifejacket and a tether for that, plus a watchful adult. It helps if the child has been taught to save him or herself if it falls in, those kids are more aware, and therefore, more careful.

We knew a cute little guy, born in the Caribbean, lived on the boat all the time, till we met him in NZ, at about 14 months. He didn't know how to walk (hadn't needed to learn on the boat), and he landed on the dock in Whangaparoa, and tilted forward, put one foot in front, and then the other, and was running--right off the dock and into the water, where he bawled like a calf, while floating on his back (as taught), and Mum rescued him... He also learned to jump from the dock to the lifeline netting, where he hund on with toes and fingers, bawling, till assisted over.

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Old 26-10-2016, 02:57   #3
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Re: help keep toddler safe

Netting is good, seen it in the local chandlery's. It would be nice with my three year old and I am thinking about putting some around the boat, but a watchfull eye is still needed and a lifejacket.

Even his lifejacket in tests in the pool wasn't perfect, a bit sobering, as he fought the jacket trying to roll him on his back by trying to struggle onto fis front and ended up on his side with his mouth underwater. Much better than nothing as at least they are floating, but not at all ideal.
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Old 26-10-2016, 04:50   #4
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Re: help keep toddler safe

Quote:
Originally Posted by arch007 View Post
I have seen on sailboats netting on the lifelines to keep a toddler from falling overboard.

How has this worked for you ?

Does anyone know a good source for this and what it is called ?

Thanks,

arch
Yes. Definitely get the Netting.

My suggestions:

First, go to YouTube. Search for video Sailrite and watch it. It clearly demonstrates installation of lifeline netting. 30 minute video.

https://youtu.be/8B65D1EZvHo

Then you can order a kit with the netting directly from Sailrite, or you can find/buy lengths of netting from West Marne or other chandleries. Sailrite creates the kit of materials for you. Should take a few hours to install, as it involves tying knots and trimming and a little line weaving.
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Old 26-10-2016, 05:41   #5
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Re: help keep toddler safe

We bought lifeline netting for our's but didn't have time to install it before we took off. We just kept a watchful eye on the kids:

-If we were sailing, they were always tethered in with life jackets in the cockpit
-If not sailing, they were not allowed in the cockpit without one of us watching
-When on the side decks we always walked them up holding a hand

I'd like to give them more freedom, but even life line netting is not a guarantee they won't fall overboard.
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Old 26-10-2016, 06:14   #6
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Re: help keep toddler safe

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Originally Posted by sailingunity View Post
We bought lifeline netting for our's but didn't have time to install it before we took off. We just kept a watchful eye on the kids:

Having raised three myself, in my opinion this is what you do. I'd go so far as to even say that lifelines for adults may not be good. (False sense of security, maybe)
Be paranoid as the devil with your kids, it is amazing what they will get into, and they watch you very closely, as soon as your attention is diverted even for a sec, that is when they decide to see how Clorox tastes or make for the side of the boat and slip under the net.

None of my kids were as bad as I was, honestly I'm surprised I survived.
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Old 26-10-2016, 06:34   #7
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Re: help keep toddler safe

I also bought the netting and never put it up. Once I saw how agile my 3 year old was on the boat it really didn't seem necessary. The life lines come up to eye level on them. The only time the kids didn't have lifejackets on was while seated in the cockpit (weather dependent) or down below.
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Old 26-10-2016, 07:05   #8
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Re: help keep toddler safe

It would absolutely be the first thing I did to our next cruising boat. Though, If he really wanted in the water, it would just slow him down a little.

There are probably several tools I would still be in possession of if I had it on our old boats, too.

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Old 26-10-2016, 07:23   #9
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Re: help keep toddler safe

Quote:
Originally Posted by arch007 View Post
I have seen on sailboats netting on the lifelines to keep a toddler from falling overboard.

How has this worked for you ?

Does anyone know a good source for this and what it is called ?

Thanks,

arch
Netting helps but is not sufficient. Never-ever let a toddler go on deck without a tether.

See (click on) Lifeline Netting.
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Old 26-10-2016, 07:52   #10
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Re: help keep toddler safe

We put up netting when our grand kids were small. It was good for a time but did not replace life jackets and close adult supervision. Also be aware that the commonly marketed lifeline netting does not last long. Our broke down from UV in a year or so. I would choose something stronger like sports netting or commercial fishing net.
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Old 26-10-2016, 08:02   #11
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Re: help keep toddler safe

From these posts and other personal experiences with friends, and my own kids, it is a FALSE sense of "security" and actually does more harm than good, because the parents "depend" on it to do something it can't do. Kids can go over or under it too easily. I've had three boats and two kids. They're both still alive without any ugly netting.
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Old 26-10-2016, 08:27   #12
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Re: help keep toddler safe

We had netting from the cockpit forward, a properly fit life jacket with crotch strap, and a harness and tether system.
We used the harness and tether as often as we used the life jacket, there were times when my daughter would have suffered heat stroke if she wore the life jacket.
She was also an early swimmer, has always loved the water.
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Old 26-10-2016, 08:39   #13
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Re: help keep toddler safe

Netting does help for sure. Try Fisheries Supply. I prefer the nylon as it's softer finish and not scratchy. It's available in Black or white. Not sure I can remember the formula, for how many feet you need. It depends on the height of your lifelines. The less height, the further each foot of netting goes.... as it expands. Hope that makes sense. A toddler climbs real fast. Never outside on deck unless you are, and always with a life jacket. Just make that the rule from the start.
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Old 26-10-2016, 09:51   #14
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Re: help keep toddler safe

Quote:
Originally Posted by arch007 View Post
I have seen on sailboats netting on the lifelines to keep a toddler from falling overboard.

How has this worked for you ?

Does anyone know a good source for this and what it is called ?

Thanks,

arch
I took my kids sailing, in all kinds of weather, for days at a time, when they were very young. To keep them safe they wore a full body climbing harness and tether. When they were very small (1-3 years old), the wife would be in charge of the kids, and nothing else. I would sail the boat. By the time the kids were a bit older (4-8 years old), we already had such good practices, that the adults could be more relaxed, and I often sailed alone, with 1 or two young kids with me.

Establishing safe places for the kids to be is a good start. This doesn't mean below. Their favorite spots were near the mast (clipped to the mast) and on the bow (clipped tightly to the bow pulpit). When the wind was up, we all stayed in the cockpit, for safety. And when things went badly, they knew to head below, and stay in the vee until it was safe.

Following a few simple rules, and having the right gear, I sailed many miles with my kids. It built a trust and closeness between us that most families do not share.

I am not a fan of the netting. I would not trust it to save a life. I trust a full body harness, fitted correctly, tethered so that its impossible for the child to leave the deck.
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Old 26-10-2016, 10:01   #15
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Re: help keep toddler safe

If you put your kid in a lifejacket, you better be prepared to retrieve them when they fall overboard. To be blunt, a small kid in a lifejacket in big waves is still going to drown, or at the very least have a serious trauma and will never go sailing again, if they survive. My theory is to stop them from leaving the deck in the first place. The same theory applies to me as well.

When I sail alone with my kids, their safety relies on me staying safe as well. If I fall overboard, or get injured, they are at serious risk. The first thing I taught my kids, was to make a MAYDAY call on the VHF. The radio was always ON and set to channel 16, ready to go. We practiced all the time. They even learned the phonetic alphabet...I think my kids knew their alpha bravo charlie's before they knew their a b c's. The only evidence I have that this worked....years of sailing adventures in perfect safety. If you want to get a smile out of my kids, just ask about sailing through thunderstorms, half-gales, and waiting out storms at anchor....they had a great time, and so did I.
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