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Can I Take My Toddler Kayaking? (Safety Tips to Follow)

Giving your child new and exciting opportunities to learn and build their abilities is one of the
most valuable gifts you can provide as a parent. Kayaking would be a great family activity, but is it safe for your toddler to go kayaking?

Toddlers can go kayaking with adult supervision and the proper equipment. Kayaking will help your toddler explore and interact with their surroundings.

In this guide, I’ll go over everything you need to know about kayaking with a toddler. You won’t want to miss it!

Safety Tips When Kayaking with a Toddler

Wear a Life Jacket

Your toddler must always wear a life jacket or life vest when on the water in case the kayak capsizes.

The life jacket must fit your child correctly. If it’s too loose, your toddler can easily fall right out of the jacket once they hit the water.

A life vest that’s too tight will be uncomfortable, and your toddler will look for any opportunity to take it off.

Kayak Near the Shore

Avoid kayaking in deep waters with a toddler.

Although this maybe isn’t the most exciting thing ever, it’s for your young child’s safety!

Carry Extra Clothes

It’s hard to stay dry when kayaking. Having an extra outfit for your toddler will prevent them from being exposed to the cold. Your kid won’t enjoy paddling if they get wet, so don’t leave the change of clothes at home!

Apply Sunscreen

A toddler’s skin is so sensitive. They might get sunburns or rashes if they’re exposed to direct sunlight.

To prevent this, apply kid-friendly sunscreen on any part of the skin that is not covered. Reapply every hour to two hours according to the instructions on the sunscreen.

Never Leave Your Child Alone

The worst thing you can do is get out of the kayak and leave your toddler alone at any point and for any reason.

Even if you are out of the boat for 30 seconds, that’s all the time it can take for a curious toddler to lean over the kayak and fall into the water.

What to Bring When Taking a Toddler Kayaking

Food and Snacks

Even though your kayak won’t have much space, you should still pack a few essentials, especially if you’re taking a little child.

Have water bottles available for both of you, and bring snacks suitable for toddlers. Carry non-perishable goods that do not require refrigeration.

This will save you the trouble of dealing with a hungry baby while on the water.


You already know that sun exposure can harm a toddler’s skin. Bring a hat for them to prevent their scalp and head from burning.

Also, pack a long-sleeved UV-resistant shirt for your baby to wear once you two begin kayaking.
no burns on their skin.

How Long Should You Kayak With a Toddler?

How long is too long when kayaking with your young child? I would recommend limiting your time on the water to 30 to 60 minutes only.

Don’t travel far during your first trip. Plan for a brief 15-minute journey. Stop to take breaks and admire the beauty of nature, then go for another 15-minute ride.

Kids get bored quickly, and they can start crying and throwing tantrums. It’ll be just you and them on the boat, which can be stressful.

Once you notice your toddler is bored, get out of the water and serve up some snacks.

How to Choose a Toddler-Friendly Kayak

Choosing the best kayak for your toddler is important if you want them to have a good first experience.

Here’s what you consider when shopping for a toddler-friendly kayak.


The size of a kayak goes hand in hand with its weight capacity, so you need a boat that’s big enough for you and your child.

You should also consider the width and length of the kayak. I recommend getting
a wider boat to increase its stability. That will in turn reduce your capsizing risk.


The type of kayak is another factor to mull over carefully.

A sit-on-top kayak is better compared to a sit-inside kayak because it’s more stable for both you and baby when kayaking.

Apart from its stability advantage, a sit-on-top kayak has scupper holes that drain any water that might have gotten in the cockpit.

Sit-in kayaks, on the other hand, are more traditional. They offer a far higher level of additional
stability, allowing you to lean the kayak on its side for more effective turning. You can also stay upright
when paddling in choppy water.

Seat Design

Before purchasing a new kayak, pay attention to the seat design.

If you use a kayak frequently, you probably already know how convenient it can be to have a raised seat. You certainly stay drier.

More so, you want an adjustable seat so that as your toddler grows, they’re always comfy.

Storage Space

Buying a kayak with ample storage space is a must when on the water with your toddler.

You need room to store sunscreen, snacks, drinks, a change of clothes, and your safety equipment.


Kayaking with your toddler is doable but requires prep, oversight on your part, and plenty of snacks, sunscreen, and extra clothes. I hope this guide helps you plan a memorable day on the water with your toddler!