Baby Safety on a Houseboat

July 2019 Live Jane Willow Web Exclusive

With the many benefits of getting out on the water, it might come as no surprise that many parents choose to raise their children with a boat as their home - like the Gifford family of 5, who has been living and growing up on the water for 9 years. However, when it comes to having your baby on board a houseboat, there are some things to keep in mind before you set sail.

Safety precautions with an onboard nursery

As a parent, you want your child to experience things early on - such as boating. However, parenthood can change things, and when you’re planning on having a baby on a houseboat, it’s important to prepare by setting up a nursery on board. Doing so will not only designate a space just for your baby, but can ensure that you have a place for everything your little one will need. This involves taking steps such as bolting down the crib and changing table, as well as any other furniture that has the possibility to move while at sea. Doing so can keep your baby safe from falling objects and sliding furniture while out on the water, just in case of choppy waters due to bad weather, etc. 

Baby proofing on board

Just like in any house, baby proofing is a must - though probably more so when on the water. That being said, before your baby even comes on board, it’s more than important to take the appropriate steps to ensure that your houseboat is safe for your little one. Along with the standard measures of keeping small objects off the floor and tying your cabinets together, securing loose objects indoors is a must to further ensure your baby’s safety. This also means making sure that baby gates are in place where need be - such as at the bottom and tops of stairs, and making sure that gates are closed and have the proper locks installed when your child is crawling or learning to walk.

Another great idea when it comes to your babies safety on the houseboat is to install safety netting, also known as lifeline netting - and for good reason. Installing lifeline netting where there are open spaces on the boat - such as along the railing of the deck, can be quite helpful in protecting your child. Not only will it prevent your baby from crawling, slipping, or toddling overboard, but can also prevent them from dropping things overboard as well.

Water safety

When it comes to raising your baby on the water, it’s common knowledge that they’re going to need to wear a life jacket at all times when out on the deck. But, there are also other things you can do to ensure your baby’s safety around water as well, such as a safety immersion alarm, which can be worn on your baby like a watch or bracelet, and can alert you should it become wet. This can be quite helpful for when your baby begins walking as it can alert you in case of an overboard situation. However, many parents are also taking their infants to swim lessons - that’s right, babies can learn how to swim - and starting them early can teach them how to stay afloat and further ensure their safety around water.

Taking your baby on board a houseboat can be a wonderful experience for the whole family, and can be a great way to introduce your child to boating and nature. However, as with anything, safety should be the number one concern. By taking the proper precautions such as getting the appropriate life jacket, baby proofing the boat, and keeping your child under supervision at all times, you’re sure to make memories that will last a lifetime.

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