7 Safety Tips for Paddle Boarding With Your Child  

You know the old saying, “Once you have a child, your life changes forever.” Although that’s true, that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy fun water activities like paddle boarding. It just means you’ll have to make adjustments if you want to include your child on your board with you.  

If your child is still too young to paddle her own board, you can choose to take her along with you as long as you do it in a way that’s both safe and comfortable for the both of you. Here are some safety tips to consider: 

  1. Be Confident in Your Own Skills

Before taking your child out on the water, you’ll need to know how to paddle board safely with the ability to keep your balance under a variety of conditions. If you are completely inexperienced or a have limited experience at paddle boarding, take the time to learn to paddle board well before you add your child to the mix.  

  1. Use a Board That’s Appropriate for Your Combined Weight

Different paddle boards are rated for different weights, and adding your child to the board might result in some balance issues. Make sure your board’s weight rating can safely accommodate both you and your child before you head out on the water.  

  1. Choose a Safe Location for Paddle Boarding 

When paddle boarding with a child, you’ll want to provide the most enjoyable experience as possible. Certain lakes, beaches or bays that you enjoy paddle boarding on alone may not be the best choice when your child is with you. Avoid locations with waves and currents and heavy boat and jet ski traffic.  

  1. Only Take a Child Who Can Swim

If your child doesn’t know how to swim, wait until she does before you take her paddle boarding. There’s a good chance your child may fall into the water at some point, so knowing how to swim is absolutely vital.  

If your child has a fear of water, do not escalate that fear by taking her out on a paddle board. She needs to become comfortable with being in and around bodies of water before you introduce her to this activity or she may never grow to like it.   

  1. Outfit Your Child With a Life Vest 

Always make sure your child wears a personal flotation device when you’re paddle boarding —— no matter if she can swim well or not. Accidents can happen and PFDs can save lives. If your child is unwilling to wear a PFD or you don’t have one that fits her properly, postpone paddle boarding until you can do it safely.   

  1. Board Your Child in Shallow Water 

If your child can swim and is outfitted with a PFD that fits properly, it’s time to get on board. Start out in shallow water so that you can stand beside the board while helping your child get on. 

At first, have your child sit on the board. Then, depending on your child’s age, you can allow your child to go from a sitting to kneeling position while you hold the board steady. This will help your child understand the balance of the board.  

Before you get on the board, have your child sit down right in front of where you’ll be standing and tell her to stay seated unless you give her permission to do otherwise.  

  1. Begin Paddling While Kneeling

Get on the board from the back and move forward. Start paddling from a kneeling position to get used to the balance of the board with your child as a passenger. Be prepared to experiment with your balance to find the right position. Once you have found your balance, you can move to a standing position.  

What to Do When Your Child is Ready to Start Independently Paddle Boarding 

For now, teaching your child what paddle boarding is all about from the safety of your board may be the right choice. However, in the future, when your child is ready, you can work with an expert to find a paddle board that meets her needs.  

For example, all stand up paddle boards for sale from Paddleboard Direct come with an expert consultation — which is not something you’ll find with every paddle board retailer. Expert advice can be very helpful when trying to purchase a board that will be safe and work well for your child. Once you’ve found the right board, you and your child can look forward to building new experiences by paddle boarding together but on separate boards.

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