Toddlers Kayaking

What do you all think of allowing my 3 year old Grand daughter ride along in the kayak?

What about her riding in a sit on top kayak?

She can swim, but not that great.

I’d appreciate some feed back on this.

Big responsibility
You should be fine depending on the following answers.

What is the water temperature and what are the conditions?

How well do you swim?

Get her a PFD
and be able to get yourself and her back into the boat quickly after a capsize. Great activity for children.

can be fun…but
I would keep this activity to flat, warm water…sticking close to shore for short trips. Toddlers have pretty short attention spans, so keep it short in duration. Don’t even think about going out if the water/air is too cold to take the same child swimming. Stay close to shore in shallow flat water so you can literally walk to shore with the child if there is a problem. Many kids who fall out of something (like your kayak) will NOT get back in.

Good comments so far, but I’ll add one.
Stay completely out of current. Since you didn’t ID what kind of water, I’ll just say you should stay out of any kind of streams, rivers, or creeks. Even with a PFD (which should be assumed), she can be swept into a strainer. Not much current, nor brush would be required to hold a 3 yo under. Remember that kids’ PFDs have little flotation strength due to their size . . . .

Glad to hear
That you all support the idea of letting her ride in the kayak.

Yes, this will be a quiet water ride.

Thanks,for your input,

BTW, this is my first time posting.

Glad to be here amongst all of you, the worlds finest paddlers.

Oh, man. Have you got a lot to learn.
“world’s finest paddlers”. lol There may be one or two of those once in awhile, but what I like about this site is we’re all mostly average joes.

Welcome anyway, and good luck paddling . . . .

My daughter has a Hurricane Aquasports Phoenix 120. We rigged a second kayak seat in the tankwell and her soon to be 4 yo rides in there. The height and curvature of the seat keeps him pretty secure but he is not strapped in. He usually falls asleep. They both wear their PFDs and she is a good swimmer. The 4 yo is not afraid of water and is learning to swim. They only go on lakes, stay near shore and never alone. The older boys (10&13) swim, have their own kayaks and cam self rescue.

yeah just be smart
In this day and age or paranoia…just be smart etc. get a good life jacket and maybe some neoprene wetsuit top and bottoms etc.

A friend of mine took his 18 month old on a month long kayak expedtion in Prince William Sound in Alaska and had a wonderful time.

Sacajawea took her 53 day old baby in a dugout canoe for a YEAR trip across the USA with a bunch of smelly soldiers without a lifejacket, without neoprene, without most things we dont have.

3 is young, real young!!
Take her along in a tandam, but shes just way too young to ride in a kayak alone. Wait till shes like… 6 yrs old.

My daughter has been
riding with me in my kayak since she was 4. At 5 she’s still small enough to sit down in front of me in a single kayak, but I’m not sure this is going to work for another year. Like others said, when she is going with me, we stick to small flatwater bodies, and save the moving water for when she stays home with daddy.

Rigging a second seat
In the tankwell sounds like an excellent idea…

Sacajawea was one determined woman.

My daughter
was a water baby. We had her in a canoe regularly when she was two years old - a lot of flat water and a fair amount of class I and light class II. The biggest hassle was keeping her in the boat. It was her great trick to jump over the side. The standard line was stroke, stroke, pick her out of the water, shake her off, put her back in the boat, stroke, stroke, pick her out… When the water got a little bumpy I would put my foot on the back of her life jacket to hold her in the boat until we were smooth again. She was not happy because it would interfer with her game. That was 30 years ago and she is still a water baby and still swims daily in Seattle.


My 2 cents
make sure you get her a PFD designed for children, sized for her height and weight. You’ll probably only get one or two season use, but considering the cost, it’s worth the price.

Happy paddling!

put her in a hatch
My Brother in Law paddles with his daughter in the stern hatch she started there when she was about 3. Before that she was in a canoe. It depends on how well they can sit in one position for how long.

Our first has been paddling about 20-30 times (in a canoe) now and he is 11 months old.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN “PUT HER IN A HATCH?” This is the question I was about to ask! A hatch is NO PLACE to ride a toddler, a 6 year old, a dog or anyone else.

When open hatches flood, that end of the kayak sinks rapidly. Because they aren’t designed to seat a child, it is possible for the child to become entrapped quite easily. Now the kayak is “floating” with one end down and your child/grandchild/dog trapped in the end under water.

Please do not even think of this dangerous practice.

At 3, if you have a reasonably well behaved child with a fairly decent attention span and an open kayak or a tandem that paddles well from the rear and a GOOD, well-fitting PFD, you’ll be fine on short rides. But don’t use a hatch.

Another vote for th hatch
My daughter also used to ride in the hatch. Now she has out grown it, I borrow my buddies Pungo 140. I has a big enough cockpit that she can sit in the front of it without me hitting her in head with the paddle.

hatch covers
come to think of it I have never seen any hatch covers on my brother-in-law kayak with or without a kid

Works fine…
until you tip!