Paddling with Baby

What is a good age for baby’s first paddle?

I had a daughter last month and wouldn’t being going out until spring at the earliest due to climate but i was wondering when people first took their kids out in a kayak. Not looking to do anything crazy, just some easy flatwater.

I had my grandsons out before they were Two in a canoe

What age can you get a child a PFD? Me 3 years old close shore paddle. Mean 10 feet along the shore. . Don’t forget things in the water may also pose a ride for a young child I am guessing.

They get tired of it really quickly.

I first took my daughter out when she was about 14 months olds. She was in one of those baby swim programs and loved the water. The only issue was that she thought it a great joke to launch herself over the side of the canoe at random intervals. The quote used to be “paddle, paddle, grab the baby, shake her off , put her back in the boat, paddle and repeat.” Her life jacket had a flap that I used to put my foot on when I decided she needed to say on board. She did not appreciate it. That was 35 years ago and she still spends every minute she can in or on the water.

Yeah I think they have no clue if there in a boat or a stroller when young.

Six months
She was born in November
She did her first portage trip in the Boundary Waters at two

PFD have to be CG rated correct?

If I recall correctly, my older daughter was around 2 years old or a little younger.

my kids were around 3 or 4 years old on family raft trips, I think they were about 5 before we went ww canoeing, later came duckies and then kayaks.

A bigger question is your skill set and comfort level with the environement you take her out in. Kids will pick it up if you are unhappy or uncomfortable. I con’t remember exactly how early we had Emma out but at three she had a great time wandering around inside of a Sawyer Cruiser on a 4+ hour trip on the Chippawa. At 6 she was a better bow paddler than most adults.

We took a 7 month old on a weekend rafting trip back in July. Mellow moving water with one class I rapid. He was in a raft with his mom, aunt, and grandfather on the oars. He had a baby PFD on. He had a blast. His mom brought along a small pack-n-play and we put that in the middle of the camping area where he could be contained & still be in the center of the action. His parents had a large tent that would fit the pack-n-play at night and he slept very well. I was worried that he’d be miserable & crying all weekend, but he did great. Lots of adult family and three boys to entertain him. His 17 year old aunt starting running class III-IV multi-day river trips when she was 4 years old. She rowed the entire Main Salmon herself this past summer. She’ll be wanting her own raft soon I fear.

Check out Dan Cooks videos of paddling for two months with babies: Award winning videos.


A couple (very experienced outdoor adventurers) in my wilderness outing club several decades ago took their 8 month old daughter on a 5-week long canoe trip down the Yukon River. Since she was breastfed, they said they really didn’t have to carry any extra food for her. They said she was happy to sleep or watch the world go by from the flotation equipped “nest” they made for her in the canoe and she loved crawling around exploring their campsites – took her first steps after pulling herself up on a large piece of driftwood. They would help her collect plastic buckets of large pebbles and pine cones in camp and she would laugh with delight at pitching them into the water to see them splash while they were paddling.

2 years old in the front of a tandem canoe or kayak in my wife’s arms (with PFD, of course). I still paddle her around the lake 10 years later. Squirt guns and floating balls have been employed over the years to keep her amused. Her favorite game was throwing the ball so I would turn and fetch it.

She has her own kayak now, but still likes to be ferried around. Now her game is drenching my wife with a super soaker.