Youngest Age for Kayaking?

I am interested in learning to Kayak and have a young child (2.5 years old). Of course I would take some lessons by myself first… but my question is, what is the youngest age suitable for a child to ride in a child seat in a shared Kayak?

I’ve seen people out with babes in arms
but I would think once they fit into an approved life vest would be best.

My grandson was paddling his own kayak by the time he was 5. :slight_smile:

With a PFD,
even a baby can sit in a kayak child seat. A child seat is designed specifacly for childeren too small too paddle their own kayak. I dont recomend letting her out in a kayak alone with a paddle, just have her go along for the ride. But I’d say when shes around 5 or 6, (Depending on when you feel its safe) I suggest buying an inexpensive but profesionally designed kids kayak for her to kayak by her self. I suggest the Perception Acadia Scout for the future when shes around 5 yrs old. Its only 500 dollars, designed by a profesional kayak designer with knowledge of kayak hull engineering, designed specifacally for childeren, durable material, and fast enough to keep up. Plus, she can grow into it until about 100 lbs.

Below the age of four is it very hard to find good PFDs that will stay on. Thats really the only issue if you stick to calm warm water.

I’ve been very happy with the MTI vests for ages 2 and up. (below that age, vests are pretty bulky for a kid to sit down - combination inflatable vests are sometimes good below that age because they’re less bulky).

I’ve had my kids in my kayaks with me since age 2.

Make sure you’re comfortable yourself before you take a passenger, and ALWAYS wear your PFD when you have a kid with you.

I Read a While Back that very young
passengers should be tethered to the adult in case of a spill even on flat water. This was a canoe article, not sure of best practices with kayaks. Others thoughts on this?? Rick

My daughter was 4
I possibly/probably would have started her at 3 years old - but, finding a good quality PFD is paramount.

I was in a recreational boat (Old Town Dirigo 140) and a recreational touring boat (Perceptional Carolina 14’) - it’s incredibly stable on flat water. I kept to small lakes for the paddling we did. At 4 1/2 years old, she helped me edge & lean the kayak. We had fun and rafted up with other kayaks, she could move from one boat to the other.

At the moment, we’re building her a Tom Yost Sea Flea 11. She’ll be on the water this summer (5 1/2) in her own ride.

My daughter started at 20 months
She’s ridden with me on a tandem SOT to get the feel of the boat under her butt and the paddle in her hands a few times since. She’s seven now and has her own 'yak (well, she shares it with her mother). All of her trips have been in warm flat-water. She has been in swimming classes her whole life and is very comfortable in the water. Her only exposure to current was in a very wide very stable very slow canoe.

My younger daughter is approaching four. Her first river trip was in a canoe (the same wide, slow, stable one) the summer after her second birthday. She was screaming to get the PFD off and only wanted to sit on my lap and generally kicked up a fuss the whole tine. I haven’t put her in a kayak yet.

I’ve seen 2 1/2 year olds on whitewater rafts with their dads and moms running trips with up to class 3 (straight-forward shoals, but nevertheless class 3) rapids.

As with everything with parenting, it’s all a matter of the readiness of the individual child.

  • Big D

bad idea

– Last Updated: Feb-23-09 1:24 PM EST –

On calm flat water a tether could create a lot of problems, and offer no benefits. I'm having a hard time imagining a scenario where a tether would be beneficial. I'd much rather have somone floating freely than risk entanglement. On flat water they're not going to go far.

Any adult taking a child boating should have reasonable swimming and water skills. A tether is no substitute for that.

Most infant/child PFDs have a grab handle built in.

Kids in little boats
Of course, both the kid and adult should wear PFDs that will work. But I would not take my kid unless he or she also was comfortable and safe in the water. Able to hold breath under water, come up from a dunking, get out of the boat underwater, dog paddle over to safety. This minimum safe age will vary quite a bit from kid to kid. For me and my siblings and my kids, it might have been age 5. We were all pretty athletic and were trained early.

I’ve taken 2 year grandkids
Of course the kid wore a pfd and I we had some understandings first. I’ve been with people who have taken toddlers under very controlled conditions. If you have confidence in yourself, the kid picks it up and the paddling is really a lot of fun

14 months
My daughter wouldn’t fit comfortably in her life jacket until she was about 14 months old. Worked out good since she was 14 months old in May. We took her out about every weekend about a mile to a nearby beach only accessible by boat. Started out in a wide flat 14’ sit inside then moved her to my sit on top when she was 2. Shortly after (2.5) we bought a tandem and she is very comfortable in the front seat. We did a 8 mile primitive camping trip with her at this age

Good luck

My grandson was in a canoe
paddling with a mini paddle when he was two.

Not much help but he got comfortable with the whole idea…

He fit well into a PFD at one.(that means nothing when its your kid)

Do not tie them in!

At four he was double blading on his own in some pretty sizeable waves.

At five he started working on solo canoeing with a single blade.

His mom is afraid of him capsizing. He is not. He deliberately does it and then does a solo reentry to give her a heart attack.