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First Houseboating Trip with Our 18 Month Old Son, Help??

Hi, My husband and his family do an annual houseboat trip on Shasta and am very nervous about taking my very active 18 mth old for a week... We didn't go last year and know I really can't get out of it this year as well, so any advice you may have, I would appreciate so much. Typically we tie up on a small shore but my fear is that my son is going to have to wear a lifevest 24/7, which he's going to hate especially with the weather currently at 107. We just got back from a family reunion in Tahoe.. on the road for 10 days and staying in 6 different locations and it wasn't that easy but he finally got into the swing of things by the end of the trip. We leave in less then a month and are going to a dude ranch for 4 days and then out on this houseboat. If any of you have any suggestions on houseboating with a very very active 18 month old, I sure would appreciate it?!! Thanks!

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I think as long as they are on the boat or by the water there is no way getting around the life vest. The little ones are just too fast, and something can happen in a split second. We got a lifevest at costco for my daughter. It's stretchy (neoprene) and more comfortable. As long as it has the "flap" on the back that keeps their head a float and is coastguard approved i think you are good. My daughter finds this one pretty comfortable and doesn't complain that she has to wear it.

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I just wanted to make sure you knew that there are big fires burning in Northern Calif. I went out to Shasta Dam overlook and couldn't even see the dam from the observation pullout.

I'm sure the houseboat will be great. I find these situations are a lot better once you are in the situation. I would recommend bringing indoor activities for your son. The air quality was in the unhealthy range and with the current high heat (it was 113 yesterday) I'm sure it will get worse. Also the Lake is REALLY low already.

On a side note - I would call the houseboat rental and see if you can get a discount or some free gas. My cousin says that they were offering a week free next year if you rent a week this year or a free jet ski to use.

Last year, I kept my 18 month old in one of those swim suits with the built in life vest. You can also look for the Safety Turtle bracelet that screams if your child falls in the water. It called Safety Turtle (but it's $267). Just an extra precaution and peace of mind.

Have a great summer and it will be fun. I know it!

I think as long as they are on the boat or by the water there is no way getting around the life vest. The little ones are just too fast, and something can happen in a split second. We got a lifevest at costco for my daughter. It's stretchy (neoprene) and more comfortable. As long as it has the "flap" on the back that keeps their head a float and is coastguard approved i think you are good. My daughter finds this one pretty comfortable and doesn't complain that she has to wear it.

Hi P.
Been there...done that! I made sure that I took a baby gate along with us. Maybe your houseboat has AC but ours didn't so we kept doors open and placed baby gates in doorways. We just made a rule that if the kids were outside on the houseboat that they had to have their life jackets on. Takes a day or two for them to get it; but doesn't it always...

Have a great vacation and don't forget to enjoy it! Good luck!

3 things I would suggest -

1) Take a harness with a leash that he can wear so he can walk/run around while attached to you but not holding your hand (this worked well for our 16mo old at a wedding on a boat) - it's cooler than a lifejacket and will help you keep track of him without him wanting to squirm away.

2) be really careful about swimming when the boat is on - you can get carbon monoxide poisoning and die from it - even easier to get poisoned for the little ones, and not uncommon with houseboats

3) Neoprene lifejackets for infants are SO much more comfortable than the foam ones - they don't scratch them under the arms and at the neck. If you have a foam one already, I'd advise that he wear a swim shirt (or regular shirt) under it - but that won't be as cool. And the neck can still be scratchy.

Good luck! I bet it will be fun.

D.

Do you have to stay on the houseboat? Could you camp nearby or stay in a hotel. Explaining to I am assuming family that your really worried about him on the boat 24/7 and this works better for you.

It sounds like your son will have a fun and exciting life of travel and adventure! I am not so sure how fun and exciting it will be for mom, because even if he wears a lifevest, you will have to be vigilant the entire time. You are right to be concerned, because nobody can predict what will happen in a split second. I used to come back from vacations so exhausted. My worry is that at this age they can get up in the night, open doors, climb. When my son was that age, I couldn't help the possible scenarios that would run thru my brain in risky situations. And my son could disappear in the blink of an eye, so scary.
Really work this out with your husband and family. Are they accommodating, & excited to have your son join the fun, or is it just on you? If it's just you, you are going to be stretched to the limit. If everyone is aware of the challenges and are willing to step up and help, then I think you will have a better chance of enjoying the trip.

I have no advice, but holy-cow... I'll be praying for you. This would be a complete nightmare for my son. Good luck.

Bad news about the life vest--except at night when you can use those baby gates to make sure he will stay in his sleeping quarters. I've seen some toddlers tied to the boat with life vests. But I think the alternative is unacceptable, don't you. Perhaps you can use this time to find a vest that meets some of your concerns?

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