To think DS (4) should wear a life jacket on a canal boat?

(112 Posts)
BoyMeetsWorld Thu 25-Jul-13 20:26:57

Ok, genuinely looking for your opinions as I freely admit I can be a paranoid Mum.

ExP & his parents regularly take our DS (4) on the family canal boat, sometimes just for short trips sometimes for longer holidays. They actively encourage him to help with the locks etc & he has free run. None of the adults onboard can swim (they never learned) & DS told me today that since he putgrew his infant life jacket 2 years ago they haven't bought him a new one.

Am I being unreasonable to expect him to have (& wear) a life jacket?

Would like your thoughts before I raise it with ExP

IwishIwasmoreorganised Thu 25-Jul-13 20:29:25

YA (absolutely) NBU.

Your ds should definitely have a life jacket (not just a buoyancy aid) on while he's on deck or around the locks IMO.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 25-Jul-13 20:31:13


My 7yo niece wears a life jacket on their canal boat.

phantomnamechanger Thu 25-Jul-13 20:31:16

YA soooo NBU!

TeenAndTween Thu 25-Jul-13 20:32:52

Definitely needs a life jacket.

We were just debating here whether strong swimmer DD1 age 14 still needs one on motor boat on Thames. Decided not on boat, but yes for around locks if getting out / helping etc.

PigeonPie Thu 25-Jul-13 20:33:11

If you were hiring a boat from a hire company they now insist on children, I think under 14, wearing life jackets.

I can remember going on my aunt's boat at about four, but because we didn't have a life jacket having to wear my blow up arm bands! However this was in about 1974 and jackets have come on a long way since then.

I think that your DS should be wearing one and I would insist. My DSs have certainly worn them on boats.

I spent many happy holidays on narrow boats as a youngster - probably from the age of 10 and I have to say that once we got our confidence we didn't have life belts, as they were hot and cumbersome, and we were very confident swimmers. But as with seat belts and car seats, life has changed.

kinkyfuckery Thu 25-Jul-13 20:34:46


HazelnutinCaramel Thu 25-Jul-13 20:34:51

Easiest question I've ever seen on here. Yes he should.

SoleSource Thu 25-Jul-13 20:34:56



cathpip Thu 25-Jul-13 20:35:05

YANBU, we just bought two for our children to go on a friends boat for the day, doubt they will be used again. They cost £25 each, not much for peace of mind really.

It would depend on what barriers there were around the boat, but certainly if he is being encouraged to get involved in managing the locks YANBU. Is there any way that you can buy one for him? (yes, it should be your ex that buys it, but in the greater scheme of things it's more important that he wears one than having a fight over who buys it not saying that it would necessarily end in a fight, but this is mumsnet grin)

lillibet1 Thu 25-Jul-13 20:37:18

we had narrow boats for many years and my brother and I and all the other kids had to wear them until we were at least 8 and could swim unaided two continuous lengths of a full sized pool

of course he should

BoyMeetsWorld Thu 25-Jul-13 20:37:59

Thanks everyone for the opinions: makes me realise I'm not just being silly. I know it's going to cause a fight with ExP even if I'm really polite about it but I think it's important.

Thanks for the idea re: buying a life jacket for him myself, that's a really good idea if he won't co-operate

quoteunquote Thu 25-Jul-13 20:41:09

I can't think of a single reason he shouldn't wear one.

Cakebaker35 Thu 25-Jul-13 20:43:40

YANBU! Tbh I doubt I'd let my child on a boat if there was no one there that could swim either, unbelievable! Call me paranoid but saving experienced first hand how tricky it us to get a person out of the water, even as a strong swimmer, I think they're really irresponsible. Rant over.

ThePowerof3 Thu 25-Jul-13 20:45:37

I'd buy one and give it to them

laterplease Thu 25-Jul-13 20:49:29

I can only add a very definite YES. However it happens, and whoever buys it, he MUST wear a life jacket at all times when out on deck or around the locks. This would be essential even with strong swimmers onboard.

thebody Thu 25-Jul-13 20:49:30

yes he should and how bizarre that all 3 adults are non swimmers.

I would worry about this as obviously ex p patents didn't have enough healthy respect for water to teach their own child to swim!

I would really worry about their casual attitude to safety actually.

Tuckshop Thu 25-Jul-13 20:49:39

Yes definitely needs one that fits properly.

Just buy one and give it to him, word it as "it just occurred to me that DS must have almost outgrown his other one by now, I thought it was easier if i bought this one" then ensure that he wears it all the time. If you find out that he isn't, then I'm afraid that I would be curtailing the visits and I really don't say that lightly

littlewhitebag Thu 25-Jul-13 20:57:25

There is no way i would let him even near the boat without a lifejacket. I think you would be reasonable to say 'no lifejacket, no child on boat'.

HoneyDragon Thu 25-Jul-13 21:01:43

When we had our boat ALL children and dogs were in life jackets, no jacket no boat.

Pollaidh Thu 25-Jul-13 21:07:53

Where I sail up to 7,8 etc and older wear them even on the bigger boats, and with someone holding an attached leash too.

Our DC ALWAYS have life jackets when on the water, we insist that they put them on before walking down the jetty.

Emilythornesbff Thu 25-Jul-13 21:12:10

As someone else said: easiest question ever posted.
A proper life jacket that fits.
Any sniff of the adults not making him wear it and I wouldn't let him go.

Why are some ppl so difficult?

TiredFeet Thu 25-Jul-13 21:13:06

yanbu. we live by the sea and are both strong swimmers ( and I am a trained lifeguard) and DS is not even allowed down to walk to have a look round his dad's boat unless he is wearing his lifejacket. DH is a professional sailor and a risk taker in his own life (likes extreme sports etc) but there is not a chance he would go out on the water unless DS was wearing his lifejacket. everyone we know has the same rule, and they are all either marine professionals or spend a lot of their time on the water.

Phineyj Thu 25-Jul-13 21:13:25

I actually think the adults should be wearing them too if they can't swim. Falling in while going through a lock is potentially very dangerous.

When we canoe ALL of us wear life jackets (DDs) or buoyancy aids (DH and I). It's an absolute no brainer.

Jinty16 Thu 25-Jul-13 21:14:34

YANBU. I would also be really uncomfortable with the fact that no one on board can swim.

TimeofChange Thu 25-Jul-13 21:15:25

Even with a life jacket on, they must all be vigilant around locks, as he could be pulled down by the water flow.

I didn't realise how dangerous locks can be until after our family canal holiday.

sukysue Thu 25-Jul-13 21:19:26

Don't be daft love definitely get him one .

stickingattwo Thu 25-Jul-13 21:22:58

Lifejacket ASAP - get a good fitting light one, best money you've ever spent. There should be no question. I sail and as a child wore one till teenage and beyond and I have always been a great swimmer. A child should absolutely wear one on a canal boat. Locks can be very dangerous.

Emilythornesbff Thu 25-Jul-13 21:23:30

And shock that none of the adults can swim.

SwishSwoshSwoosh Thu 25-Jul-13 21:26:45

This sounds very risky altogether. What exactly would they do if he fell in?

YANBU, not at all.

Ingles2 Thu 25-Jul-13 21:27:11

Yes he should definitely have one.. I can't believe he doesn't! When I was 10 my best friend fell from a canal boat and drowned... I can remember her funeral very clearly and that was 35 years ago... Canal boats still horrify me..
I would refuse to let him go until he had one tbh.

amyboo Thu 25-Jul-13 21:31:25

YANBU! I grew up spenidng holidays on my parents boat and always wore a life jacket when I was little, and then later a harness (a special one that inflated if you hit he water). A child of 4 should definitely be in a lifejacket.

youbethemummylion Thu 25-Jul-13 21:33:43

From a family of sailors here from dinghys to yachts to ocean liners not one of them let my DS anywhere near the jetty never mind the boat without a lifejacket. He MUST wear one!

exoticfruits Thu 25-Jul-13 21:34:40

YANBU - this must be a record- all in agreement!

FairPhyllis Thu 25-Jul-13 21:34:55

Sailor here. You are absolutely not being unreasonable. DO NOT LET HIM GO if he is not going to wear one. And it MUST be a lifejacket, not a buoyancy aid.

Adults can't swim? Child running around canals without a lifejacket? Wtaf.

TSSDNCOP Thu 25-Jul-13 21:35:17

Locks are horrendously risky. I would never let my child near the mechanics of one.

On and around the boat I would still insist on a life jacket.

Frankly, and I say this rarely as I think if a child is in it's DP's care it's that DPs shout on how the DC is managed, I'd go utterly and totally fucking nuts if 3 non swimmers took my child out on a boat without adequate life saving equipment.

Sod the bloody argument with DP. With a close very young relative that drowned, they'd need to dynamite me off the sodding boat first.

Did I mention YANBU?

Tbh if no one on the boat can swim or has any concept or rescue procedures/first aid, I wouldn't be letting him go even wearing a life jacket.
He's FOUR, even if he's wearing a life jacket if he goes in he's on his own, how on earth so they think he'd get out?

katydid02 Thu 25-Jul-13 21:38:46

Absolutely not unreasonable.

FairPhyllis Thu 25-Jul-13 21:38:59

Just to clarify for anyone reading my post, it is not simply the fact that the adults can't swim that means the child needs a lifejacket. He needs one anyway. But it is an absolutely absurd added level of risk, and OP, you should rip them a new arsehole for taking it.

ToomuchIsBackOnBootcamp Thu 25-Jul-13 21:40:46

I never usually recommend printing off a thread and showing it to ex partners, but in this case, would it help? As I add my voice to the chorus of those saying he definitely should be in a life jacket. Without a single shadow of a doubt. Everyone thinks it won't happen to them. But it could.

katydid02 Thu 25-Jul-13 21:41:59

My DCs are learning to be life guards/doing life saving skills training, they are both excellent swimmers. They would wear a life jacket. When doing the open water training all of the coaches on the water in canoes and kayaks wore life jackets despite being surrounded by about 30 people capable of rescuing them.
No life jacket, no water excursions.

Edendance Thu 25-Jul-13 21:42:47

Life jacket not buoyancy aid, anyone can slip.

MsMunch Thu 25-Jul-13 21:44:21

Ynbu, but really I wouldn't let him go with such poor care. One stumble and he would drown, it is so hard to get even a small person back out of the water for a strong swimmer. Someone else here who sails and would never take the risk.

Edendance Thu 25-Jul-13 21:45:09

Job done.

whois Thu 25-Jul-13 21:45:37

I am pretty relaxed about safety, but would def want him wearing a life jacket! V easy to slip in to the dock and with three non swimmers there supervising that would be a disaster!

MsMunch Thu 25-Jul-13 21:46:49

And if he does go I would buy the life jacket myself... So I knew it was a life jacket not a buoyancy aid and that it was correctly sized.

Ericaequites Thu 25-Jul-13 21:47:03

Of course he needs a life jacket at all times when on the boat. When we had a summer cabin on a pond, under sixes had to wear a life jacket even when playing on the dock. Try to buy one with a ruff at back so his head will be supported out of the water. One should not economize on life jackets, parachutes, or spectacles.

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Thu 25-Jul-13 21:50:06

I spent many, many years in and on the water, I was a trained lifeguard and I agree, YANBU. He needs to wear a lifejacket.

I was a canoeist many moons ago and a friend of ours drowned while out canoeing alone. It wasn't until he went missing that we learned he couldn't swim, he was wearing a buoyancy aid but it wasn't enough to save his life.

FairPhyllis Thu 25-Jul-13 21:52:28

And tbh I'd be extremely hmm about letting him go even with a lifejacket if nobody else can swim. If he fell in, it would be unlikely he could climb out by himself because canals and particularly locks often have steep sides, and you can be caught by unexpected currents.

Are XPILs experienced narrowboaters?

Lovethesea Thu 25-Jul-13 21:52:34

He should definitely wear one when not inside the boat. While on deck or on shore near the lock, you wear it. Simple. Locks are awful if done wrong, very easy to be crushed between the boat and the sides if you fall in - there would be one chance to grab someone and pull them back onboard, no chance if they went straight under with the flow of water without a lifejacket on.

trixymalixy Thu 25-Jul-13 21:52:52


Bumbez Thu 25-Jul-13 22:00:05

My Grandparents took myself aged 14, and my cousin aged 9 so we would do all the locks away on a canal holiday many years ago. She fell in and I got my leg hideously squished between two barges.

Yanbu !

Eyesunderarock Thu 25-Jul-13 22:04:38

Buy the life jacket, that way you know it's the right size and sort. Make a fuss with your DS about how fantastic and sailorly he looks, google a few images and make sure he's very keen on it.
Then he'll wear it and see it as part of his special kit for holidays aboard.
Yes, he should be wearing one, irrespective of any adult swimmers, or whether he can swim strongly.

JADS Thu 25-Jul-13 22:18:01

Yanbu. In my eyes being non swimmers, they should all be wearing life jackets.

I would get him one yourself if they don't cooperate.

frogwatcher42 Thu 25-Jul-13 22:23:59

YANBU in that of course he should wear a life jacket. As somebody who spends a lot of time on and around water, I would not hesitate in stating that.

However, imo you ABU in expecting in laws to buy it, or even ex partner (depending on his/her circumstances). I am surprised you have only just found out that ds life jacket doesn't fit anymore (don't you remind him to use it when he goes, or ask to check when he returns?). I supply jackets with my children when they go on friends boats or around the water with in laws. I automatically see it as my responsibility and also I like to know that they are fitted correctly and fit for purpose.

Iaintdunnuffink Thu 25-Jul-13 22:33:58

Yanbu. My family owned a boat when we were kids and we often used to spend weekends on it. I've seen numerous adults, children and dogs fall in, especially at locks.

BoyMeetsWorld Thu 25-Jul-13 22:34:49

Wow thanks everyone!

Some great advice here.

I've messages ExP about it and he's so far completely ignored me.

They've owned the narrow boat for many years & it's a huge part of their life - basically all holidays and most weekends are spent in the boat. Yes, ExPILs are experienced narrow boaters.

I wasn't overly comfortable with him being in it at all without any swimmers onboard, but as ExP has joint parental responsibility I don't think I have a leg to stand on - he can do pretty much what he likes legally (within reason) - but it does scare me silly.

Unfortunately they keep a lot from me & I have had issues with their irresponsibility. Quite recently I had a fight on my hands because ExP was taking DS out on a dirt bike trail motorbike & wanted to get him a mini moto. & now this hmm

I'm giving him a few days to reply, will ask him in person then buy DS a life jacket myself & tell him mummy says he has to wear it around the boat. But I can't control it when he's with them hmm

I am also considering printing this thread for ExP as I know he'll make out I'm being crazy & obstructive.

Does anyone know whether, legally, id stand any chance at all of getting an order drawn up stating that DS can't go on the boat without a life jacket (& poss that he can't go on motorbikes without my consent) until a certain age?? As a last resort only.

facedontfit Thu 25-Jul-13 23:50:14

They are unbelievably irresponsible and crazy

justmyview Thu 25-Jul-13 23:58:45

A quiet word with staff on the canal - ask them to do some random spot checks ?

Notcontent Fri 26-Jul-13 00:04:29

Yes, yes , yes !!!!!!!!!

Even if he is a good swimmer, he still needs one. And as others have said, it needs to be a proper life jacket. Because he could fall, bang his head and then in the water he needs something that will keep his head above water.

I feel sick just thinking about your little boy not having one.

curlew Fri 26-Jul-13 00:05:59

Another sailing family here- life jackets at all times. And certainly round locks- the water is very deep and as the walls are so steep, rescue can take a bit longer.

MagicHouse Fri 26-Jul-13 00:14:40

Yes you can legally object to him going on the canal boat without a life jacket. Do you have a health visitor? I would raise it with her initially - show her all your unanswered messages and ask her advice. Tbh I think the situation would be the opposite of what you think, in that you MUST insist that he wears the jacket or that he cannot go on the boat - I think in this situation, where the risks are life threatening, you need to be active in ensuring that your son is safe.

pigletmania Fri 26-Jul-13 00:14:50

I would be very reluctant to send him to ex as he cannt be trusted to keep ds safe. Totally irresponsible. Definitely buy the life jacket and insist to ex that ds wares it or you will stop contact

SlangWhangering Fri 26-Jul-13 00:18:04

Of course he should wear one. I am a bit shocked you even have to ask. shock

It falls into the NOT negotiable pile along with car seats.

Life jackets are so comfortable an unobtrusive these days it is no problem to wear them.

LaurenSquealer Fri 26-Jul-13 01:29:15

I always avoided narrowboats, along with most other kinds, as I'm a non-swimmer. I was very surprised to fnd out that several narrowboat owners I've met through a friend can't swim!

Apparently canals are fairly shallow anyway, and the lock parts are equally dangerous for swimmers/non-swimmers, they're not worried about it! But as kidds can drown in even shallow water they should be protected.

scarlettanager Fri 26-Jul-13 07:36:17

Just buy him one rather than getting into debate with exP.

SpiderCharlotte Fri 26-Jul-13 07:43:41

Do you think you can trust your ex to make him wear it even if you buy it? I'm go smacked that any parent would take this risk with their childs life and to be honest, he wouldn't be going if he mine unless he proved to be more responsible.

CSIJanner Fri 26-Jul-13 07:52:39


Have done a bit of digging. the pnly thing I can find is that there is no legal requirement for wearing life jackets on private boats, but if anything happens to your son, the captain is legally liable and can be sued if they haven't made adequate safety provision. I also found something saying that there needs to be an adequate number of life jackets available on a oat even if they weren't worn (however this might be regulations for a commercial than private boat)

Had a quick ganders on eBay - jackets are going for about £17 inc P&P

Poppy4453 Fri 26-Jul-13 07:58:39

No life jacket, no boat I'm afraid.

I would be getting him swimming lessons pronto.

Poppy4453 Fri 26-Jul-13 08:00:05

If they protest then I would be asking them to demonstrate their life saving skills in our local canal with a doll. You can throw the doll in and they can save it's life.

imnotmymum Fri 26-Jul-13 08:02:10

He is 4!! Of course he should

Lweji Fri 26-Jul-13 08:08:26

I think you are justified in cutting contact if your DS doesn't wear the jacket.

Ask him if he could live with the consequences of an accident.

pigletmania Fri 26-Jul-13 08:23:26

Really it does not matter if ex is his dad, that's irrelevant if he is putting his sons life in danger and exposing him to dangerous situations. Definitely cut contact if he continues this

pinkr Fri 26-Jul-13 08:25:03

I'm a strong swimmer but I would always wear a life jacket or aid when sailing...on a boat it is so easy to be knocked out when you are hit on the head. Also the weight of clothing means that even a good swimmer will fatigue easily. I have also known a grown man who fell into a Marina and downed because lifting a heavy weight out of even calm water is very difficult.

Solopower1 Fri 26-Jul-13 08:26:22

How difficult for you. The trouble is that even if you buy him a life jacket, your exP and parents might not make him wear it, and could think you are criticising their parenting (which you are doing in a way).

I've been in this position myself, but not with life jackets, particularly. My ex took a lot of risks with the children when they were in his care. I think he did it on purpose to scare me.

I think the best thing to do is to try to get on as well as possible with your ex and his family, and to build up trust over the years. If it's a complete culture-clash, as this seems to be - and especially if there is resentment on their side - you insisting on physical safety measures when the child is in their care could put their back up.

But I do think it's a great idea to buy him a life jacket and ask them, up front, to get him to wear it. Say it worries you to death that he might fall in, and could they do it for your peace of mind? I think my ex PILs might have responded to an appeal like that (especially as they knew their son was a dare-devil). At the very least they might agree to have it on the boat. And it's a good idea to get your son to want to wear it.

And teach your son to swim, asap!

Solopower1 Fri 26-Jul-13 08:27:01

And while you're about it, get him a helmet for the dirt bike ...

Good luck. smile

curlew Fri 26-Jul-13 08:32:12

The problem is that some people who have been around boats all their lives do forget the dangers. What's the expression - "familiarity breeds contempt"? I know I sometimes do silly things around horses that I shouldn't- and think "oh, shit , that was stupid" afterwards.

I would buy a new life jacket- one of the very light, high techy ones if you can run to it- the write a friendly letter to the PILs, saying that ex-p has told you about the grown out of life jacket and you have provided a new one- could they make sure it's worn.

curlew Fri 26-Jul-13 08:34:45

And don't, whatever you do, let the fact that he has learned to swim(when he does) allow you or them to relax. In my opinion, being able to swim in a swimming pool in swimming trunks makes sod all difference if a small child falls in to deep cold water unexpectedly in clothes.

TweedWasSoLastYear Fri 26-Jul-13 08:45:34

Life Jacket for him, get him to choose it. See if you can find one thats 'cool' or 'awesome' , then he will want to wear it as opposed to hate it withh a passion.
Swimming lessons also. Explain to staff you want ds to be able to swim fully clothed in open water.
See if you can get digi pics emailed of him 'helping open a lock' , see if he is wearing his life jacket.
Canal locks are dangerous places and many people are hurt in silly accidents each year.

I wouldn't let him go with no competant swimming adults . I wouldn't be able to sleep and couldnt contemplate what might happen , a 4 yo is too small to understand risk and danger .

cuillereasoupe Fri 26-Jul-13 08:51:21

I knew a bloke who drowned rescuing a 6-year-old who had lived on a barge all his life (the kid drowned as well). Once you're in the water, you're easily dragged under the boat and there's absolutely no way out. Plus in a lock you can get crushed.

There must be public information films on this you can show your ex.

exoticfruits Fri 26-Jul-13 08:56:54

I know an adult who nearly drowned in a lock- he wouldn't have stood a chance as a 4yr old.

sussexmum38 Fri 26-Jul-13 08:57:11

There is no question about it that is folly and madness to even question why he wouldn't be wearing a life jacket. One of the most no brainer questions ever.

jendot Fri 26-Jul-13 08:58:21

We went on a narrow boat with 2 kids, then 8 & 10 both are competent swimmers. Ds 10 fell in while we were going at full speed. He was fully dressed and wearing a life vest. As when he fell in the boat kept on the time we had stopped, reversed ( ensuring we didn't get him with the prop) and fished him out he was in the water for at least 5 minutes. He was struggling to stay afloat let alone swim. Had he not been in a life vest one of us would have had to jump in after him to help.
Ds 2 fell in while we were moored, he had gone out on deck in the evening and decided it would be fun to walk along the side! I was making tea and heard a splash and some commotion. I shouted to ds what was going on and didn't get a response..I didn't think much of it or 30 secs or so then it sort of niggled and I went on deck to see what ds was up to and there he was madly treading water (drowning) in the canal..he wasn't wearing a life vest and would have been unlikely to have been able to get out by himself!!! Very scary!
Always insist on a life jacket!

Emilythornesbff Fri 26-Jul-13 09:14:08

What curlew said.

And if they cannot reassure you that the LJ will be worn then don't let him go.
And legally defensible.

Emilythornesbff Fri 26-Jul-13 09:15:36

Oh god. So sorry to hear of ppl's sad and scary stories.
Hiding thread now. Hormones not allowing me to cope.
Good luck op.

SuperiorCat Fri 26-Jul-13 09:27:32

Totally unanimous YANBU.

DS sails with cadets. Self conscious teens, full of bravado and testosterone, experienced on the water and strong swimmers, they still ALL wear a life jacket.

It's also not just about being able to swim in a pool in clothes. Canals are full of reeds/weeds, fishing line, rubbish etc.
Having holidayed many times on narrowboats and cleaned the prop, I wouldn't fancy the chances of a panicky non swimmer not get tangled and pulled under.
Hope you get them to see sense op.

CSIJanner Fri 26-Jul-13 10:02:06

Oh - and if they try to argue a swimming float jacket, shut them down. They help children float but do not keep their heads upright. The three children that died canoeing in Scotland last year wore swim floats. It has to be a life jacket.

TBH it should really be made law.

curlew Fri 26-Jul-13 10:09:11

Sorry- something else. I think I would want an active 4 year old to be clipped on as well on a narrow boat, unless one of the adults sole job was looking after him.

QuinionsRainbow Fri 26-Jul-13 10:20:27

YANBU - even if he can swim.

cory Fri 26-Jul-13 11:47:49

Sailor here too and strong swimmer and always go out surrounded by family of life savers- and I wear a life jacket! I'd be a fool not to.

I always read the newspaper reports on people drowning when I go home (very sea and lake orientated country) and apart from toddlers drowning in ponds they invariably fall into two main categories: retired fishermen and young/middle-aged men who have been drinking. In order words, of all the people in the world the two categories who are least likely to have been taking any kind of safety precautions.

Viviennemary Fri 26-Jul-13 11:51:14

YANNNNBU. I wouldn't be happy about all the adults being non-swimmers either. I don't think anyone his disagreed. Must be first time ever!

NorbertDentressangle Fri 26-Jul-13 11:52:08


I can't believe that none of the adults on the boat with your DS make him wear one shock. I mean, you're always going to get the odd person who says "they'll be fine, they won't fall in" and to have that "it won't happen to us" attitude but for all of your ex's family to be saying that is crazy.

scratchandsniff Fri 26-Jul-13 12:05:24

Oh my god they're completely mad and bloody selfish. Buy him a lifejacket yourself if they won't get one. I bet you could pick up a child's one secondhand.

There is no way on earth I would allow a child onboard without one. The risk in my opinion is too much.

MiaowTheCat Fri 26-Jul-13 13:34:10

The in-laws have a boat.

There is no way on this planet that my kids are going out on this boat unless they've got age appropriate, correctly fitted life jackets on (and I'll be down at the jetty blooming well checking). Thankfully the in-laws are with me on this one. It's utterly non negotiable and one of the very few things I won't get railroaded over on.

allmycats Fri 26-Jul-13 13:40:27

If the other people on the boat cannot swim then I would NEVER let him go with them even with a life jacket on.

I would not him let him go again as i do not think you can trust them.

Crinkle77 Fri 26-Jul-13 15:53:52

As none of them can swim yanbu. If he were to fall over board then no one would be able to recue him. Buy him a new one yourself and insist it gets worn. Have you thought about starting to teach your child to swim so as he gets older he will hopefully be able to recue himself

LIZS Fri 26-Jul-13 15:58:01

Personally I'd say they should all wear lifejackets . Currents near locks can be very strong. If in any doubt buy one for him to use but I'd be concerned they weren't even able to fish him out if the worst happened. .

ReallyTired Fri 26-Jul-13 16:06:45

Your son should definately wear a life jacket at the age of four (or even forty four!) It takes years for a child to become a good swimming and even then the strongest of swimmers still can drown. A child can drown really quickly.

You aren't paranoid - just sensible!

Finola1step Fri 26-Jul-13 16:10:36

This had got to be one if the YADNBU replies I have ever posted. Don't need to read the whole thread - just the OP is enough.

xylem8 Fri 26-Jul-13 16:48:10

a friend's 15 yo son who is a strong swimmer nearly drowned swimming in a lock just a few days ago (idiot).

BoyMeetsWorld Fri 26-Jul-13 18:56:18

Thanks again everyone.

Unfortunately, as I've mentioned I can't just 'not let him go' (although I'd love to) as ExP has joint parental responsibility therefore as much right to decide what he does with his child as I do. However, I DO have a right to insist on safety measures.

I got some legal advice today. Am going to ask ExP for a proper talk (he's still ignoring my messages about it) then will resort to a solicitors 'cease and desist' letter or court as a last resort. I think he'd look fairly daft trying to argue a defence for why DS shouldn't wear a life jacket.

On a side note to reply to some posters: yes we've taken DS swimming multiple times and he can but is still only 4 and in the armband stage.

Onesleeptillwembley Fri 26-Jul-13 19:02:06

I'm sure that as he's compromising his safety you can just not let him go. I wouldn't let mine go. You just don't dick around with water, and it's compounded by the fact they don't swim either. Ease stop this until it's sorted. You can, and you'd never forgive yourself if anything happened and you'd let him go.

Onesleeptillwembley Fri 26-Jul-13 19:02:45

Ease = please.

lurkerspeaks Fri 26-Jul-13 19:05:47

Sailor here. Been sailing since I was 3. Family rules are: life jacket or safety harness for all children at all times.

Adults have to wear a life jacket/safety harness (mine is a combo) all the time in rough weather or when out of the cockpit in fair weather. I generally wear mine pretty much all the time.

It is non negotiable if you don't wear one you don't get invited back on board.

Onesleeptillwembley Fri 26-Jul-13 19:08:38

Yes, lurker. Mine grew up around water. Almost every weekend at the sailing club, etc. that's why we have respect for water and the dangers.

Mollie272 Fri 26-Jul-13 19:10:04

I've been thinking about this all day after reading the thread this morning and I'm so glad you got legal advice OP - it lets your ExP know how seriously you are taking it. I'd be tempted to stalk check up on them while he was with them to make sure he was wearing it too!

Thirstysomething Fri 23-Aug-13 23:55:26

Any recommendations for least bulky but very safe life jacket for a chunky 20 month old? (Not floatation device - I mean one which holds their head out of the water).
I need to buy one urgently (esp after reading this thread!)

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