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Toddlers in the boat.


My son just turned 1 and I’m super excited to bring him out with me in the boat. My ski buddy and I often ski alone which means there’s going to be a lot for the driver to focus on.

I’ve been thinking about putting a baby bike seat in the boat to use once in the course. Doesn't feel super though since he won't fit in there with his lifejacket and I don't want him to be strapped to the boat if something goes wrong.

There must be a lot of you Ballers who ski with toddlers in the boat, how do you do it?



  • ralral Posts: 1,762 Mega Baller
    edited May 2019
    JMHO, I do not think it is a good idea to have the engine cover lifted when a kid is aboard.
    Rodrigo Andai
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,607 Mega Baller
    edited May 2019
    Both my kids loved hanging with us as babies and toddlers. We installed a car set base attached to the spotter seat (using an aftermarket seatbelt that we also installed). We faced the kid toward the front and kept the handle in the upright position as the best combination to avoid any risk related to the rope. Obviously, we also used a shock tube at all times.

    In most places, this setup is technically illegal, but what I care about is what is safe, and I deemed this the safest possible setup. A few people commented about being "attached" to the boat, but I see that as a totally misplaced fear. In slalom usage, when could that possibly be a bad thing? And in the incredibly unlikely event that you need to remove the kid quickly, the entire seat releases easily OR the kid can be unstrapped from the seat easily.

    Fwiw, this setup was SO much better than what we had to do a few years later with the kid sitting on her own in a full vest. Being able to move presented a huge range of risks that were simply not present with the car seat setup.
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • hockeyref74hockeyref74 Posts: 25 Baller
    as you said there's going to be a lot for the driver to focus on and there should be someone there to be focus on your son . I have my first grandchild turning 1 this summer and I would to have him in the boat when I ski but his safety comes first
  • HortonHorton Posts: 28,941 Administrator
    edited May 2019
    At 1 yr old with no adult passenger, Buford always sat on my lap when I was driving. I ALWAYS use a shock tube when she is in the boat.

    I guess I used a car seat a few times but there is no really good way to secure it without power tools.
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  • WishWish Posts: 8,008 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Not to be politically incorrect but boys are different in general. Would think lap sitting could cause all kinds of potential problems. And yes, handyman car seat instal will prob require power tools. I saw someone's car seat in a 200 not to long ago secured with a ratchet tools required.
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
  • aspskiaspski Posts: 211 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Get your wife or someone else to sit in the spotter seat with the child on their lap
  • swc5150swc5150 Posts: 2,379 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    We went with the lap method. Also, this type of PFD is great for the little ones...

    Scott Calderwood
  • igkyaigkya Posts: 702 Crazy Baller
    A good stable car seat with a swim vest is sufficient. Wedge it against the side of the boat and it won't move much. Do NOT strap the car down. While highly unlikely, if the boat tipped over, you'd have a huge problem. Also need to be a bit smarter/cautious with driving and skiing... let go of the handle to help minimize handle pops.
  • WishWish Posts: 8,008 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @igkya r u saying do not strap the car seat down??
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
  • Tom351Tom351 Posts: 121 Baller
    I have decided to start wearing the safety cutoff lanyard while driving if only small children are riding in the boat....for the very unlikely event that I have a stroke or something while driving.
  • keithh2oskierkeithh2oskier Posts: 616 Crazy Baller
    congrats @ErikBerghiller My son also just turned 1. He hasn't been out on the boat this year yet. I really need to get him comfortable using his vest. Every time we put it on he is not a happy camper. I like the idea of having him sit in the lap of the driver. I might try and warm him up to that by having him sit with me in the boat at home. We ski a private site and don't always have a spotter. Last year when he was super small we just used the infant car seat on the floor. He is much too big.
  • Stevie BoyStevie Boy Posts: 2,095 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Sorry Guy's for me a Toddler should only be in the boat if there is a Observer/Adult to supervise and protect, when things go wrong they go wrong when you are least expecting it and it goes wrong really fast, please be responsible and think about a childs safety, in and around the the boat.

    If Only I Was Perfect

  • igkyaigkya Posts: 702 Crazy Baller
    @wish, Yes. Why do that and where's it gonna go (assuming flooring is covered and not plain fiberglass).

    @Than_Bogan True
  • ErikBerghillerErikBerghiller Posts: 76 Baller
    edited May 2019
    Thank you guys for all the input!

    @JBB Seems like a good solution but it might take a few years to get it in place!

    @keithh2oskier Right back at you :) I have the same problem with the vest, right now we let him wear it at home just to get used to it. Hope it pays off!

    @Than_Bogan Sounds like a good solution, do you happen to have any pictures on the setup?

    @Wish Thank you for all the tips on how to keep him occupied!

    So, let's say I'll go with the car seat solution, which btw seems like a good solution even if we decide only to bring him in the boat once we have a spotter:

    Turning him backwords will give him a lot more to look at and he will be more involved in what is going on, but with a higher risk for rope related problems.

    Turning him forward will prevent motion sickness/be safer but he will see less and probably try to turn around in the chair to see whats happening behind the boat.

    @Than_Bogan and @Wish Please motivate why you turned the car seat the way you did :)
  • aspskiaspski Posts: 211 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited May 2019
    My little guy loves being in the boat, and loves the horn

  • WishWish Posts: 8,008 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited May 2019
    Like Than said. Risk has to be determined and reward must out way that risk to do what you feel is best. . Our kid (20 now) faced the skier for 4yrs before we ditched the car seat all together. She liked sitting up high and didn't want to get rid of it till she was older. We used a really good (not worn out) shock tube. Never really worried about the rope as the instance was so crazy low. Like an asteroid as than mentioned. :D

    If turned facing windshield I can predict him getting bored as there will be no way to engage him and he will barely be able to see over the bottom of the windshield. Safer..maybe. A more fussy child...likely. Again, seat secured closest to driver so you can reach him for entertainment and other purposes. But if you have skiers that send the rope into the boat even some of the time, the risk is higher. We just had smart skiers that knew when to let go.
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
  • dnewtondnewton Posts: 97 Baller
    I’m going through the same thing with an 8 month old boy. He is not a fan of the vest. If an adult is holding him is anyone okay with no life jacket? Have not attempted any outings with no spotter yet.
  • igkyaigkya Posts: 702 Crazy Baller
    @dnewton As Than and others mentioned. Risk/reward. Every child is different. My kids did fine with a vest in a car seat and when they outgrew the seat, they knew they had to sit still while the boat was moving. A lot of dry runs (to feel comfortable) and a little discipline goes a long ways (easier said than done).
  • WaterSkier12WaterSkier12 Posts: 269 Baller
    Ours was in the boat at ~2 months, wife and I skied, he either was asleep in the passenger seat or on the floor on a new dog bed with pillows. We drove sanely😜
    The minute we started the boat and drove to the course, he was fast asleep. Woke up for milk, diaper change and cool off in the water with one of us holding him and then back to sleep. Have a cheap oscillating fan as well.
    He’s 14 now in B2....
  • ozskiozski Posts: 1,678
    I got radical and taught my son to hang on at young age!
    'Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.'' Boat 2005 Nautique 196 6L ZO - Ski - KD Platinum

  • sunperchsunperch Posts: 252 Crazy Baller
    We had a rule that our kids wore life jackets anytime they were at the lake, whether they were on shore or in the boat. If they didn't comply, they had to go back in the car. We did not use coast guard approved jackets when they were little, just thin speedo ones without neck support from Target to make sure they would float if they got out of our sight for a second. They were more comfortable that way and did not complain as much. Once they started swimming and skiing, we switched to CGA jackets. The were NEVER allowed on the dock or boat without a jackets - set the precedent early so it becomes natural to have one on.
  • 6balls6balls Posts: 5,339 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    We installed a cadillac seat belt from a bone yard and locked in the car seat rear facing right next to the driver seat.
    Dave Ross--die cancer die
  • skimtbskimtb Posts: 329 Baller
    Slight threadjack. We found a cheap Stearns nylon jacket was better than anything else since it accounted for the fact
    Babies don’t have necks. All the others (including the fancy neo one left at home) sure super tight around neck and pushed up on their head.
    Find a jacket that fits. I think the puddle jumpers may be CGA?
    Need to be comfortable....
  • Bruce_ButterfieldBruce_Butterfield Posts: 1,662 Member of the BallOfSpray Hall Of Fame
    I used a belt from an old life vest and made a seatbelt to keep the kids from sliding around. Worked like a champ.

    I'm Ancient. WTH do I know?
  • stxskierstxskier Posts: 9 New Baller
    Take them every chance you get
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