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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

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!)

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!

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.

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 19:02:45

Ease = please.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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!

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. .

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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

YANBU - even if he can swim.

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.

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.

onedogandababy Fri 26-Jul-13 09:58:44

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.

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.

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.

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.

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