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15 Must-Read Safety Tips for Kids' First Kayaking 🚣🏽 Adventure!


Kayaking is a fun and exciting water activity that can provide an excellent opportunity for kids to enjoy the outdoors. However, it's essential to prioritize safety when introducing children to kayaking.

To ensure your child has a safe and enjoyable time on their first kayaking adventure, we've compiled a list of fifteen must-read safety tips. Following these guidelines can help prevent accidents and ensure your child has a positive experience while exploring the waterways.

15 Must-Read Safety Tips for Kids' First Kayaking Adventure!

Whether planning a family trip or just looking for some fun in the sun, these safety tips will help keep your child safe while paddling through nature.

1. Always Wear A Properly Fitting Life Jacket

Wearing a properly fitting life jacket approved by the U.S. Coast Guard is crucial for ensuring safety while kayaking, especially for children who may not have strong swimming skills.

Protective clothing such as wetsuits and booties can also help minimize injuries in an accidental tip-over. It is important to take these precautions while out on the water for the safety and enjoyment of your child.

2. Dress Appropriately For The Weather And Water Temperature

Dressing appropriately for the weather and water temperature is crucial when kayaking, especially if planning a more extended trip. Wearing lightweight, breathable fabrics such as wool and fleece can help keep your child warm and dry in colder conditions.

Protecting them from the sun with a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses is also important to prevent sunburn and dehydration. In addition, you can help your child feel comfortable and safe while kayaking by ensuring they are appropriately dressed for the conditions.

3. Wear Sunscreen And A Hat To Protect From The Sun

Protecting your child from harmful UV rays is essential when kayaking. Applying sunscreen and having them wear a hat can help prevent sunburn and dehydration.

Remember to reapply sunscreen frequently, especially after swimming or prolonged sun exposure. In addition, keep an eye out for any signs of fatigue or discomfort from heat exhaustion, as this can be a serious concern when spending time outdoors in the heat.

4. Bring Plenty Of Water And Snacks

Staying hydrated and well-fed is crucial when kayaking with kids. Packing plenty of snacks such as granola bars, fruits, trail mix, and water or Gatorade can help ensure they have the energy to last throughout the day.

This will not only prevent fatigue but also keep them in good spirits. It's important to monitor your child's hydration levels and encourage them to drink enough water throughout the trip. With proper nutrition and proper hydration, you can ensure your child’s kayaking experience is safe and enjoyable.

15 Must-Read Safety Tips for Kids' First Kayaking Adventure!


5. Stick To Your Skill Level And Avoid Challenges

Another important safety tip to remember while kayaking is to stay within your skill level and avoid challenges. While it’s easy to want to try more advanced kayaking techniques, it’s important to remember that doing so can increase your risk of injury or an accident.

Instead, gradually develop your skills in a controlled and safe environment. This will help you and your child feel more comfortable on the water while enjoying the activity without putting yourself or your child at risk.

Don’t forget that there’s plenty of time to try more difficult kayaking activities once you’ve developed your skills and experience.

And when it comes to them kayaking solo; for children under the age of 8, it doesn’t make sense to purchase a separate kayak. Most young children will be content with their own paddle and participate in paddling the kayak with you. But when the time comes for them to have their own kayak, here are a couple of suggestions to get you started.

6. Never Let Kids Kayak Alone

A parent must always supervise children when kayaking with them. In addition, a responsible older sibling or adult should accompany children while kayaking regardless of age or experience level.

This provides an extra layer of safety and ensures that someone is there to help in case of an emergency. Additionally, having several people at different locations can help keep an eye on the entire group and prevent any accidents or mishaps.

7. Inspect The Kayaks Before Launching

Before taking your kids out onto the water, ensuring their kayak is in good working order is important. You can do this by checking for loose screws and nuts, dents or cracks in its hull, and frayed areas on the cords or latex bands holding the deck down.

Additionally, inspecting the paddles for any scrapes or broken parts that could affect their performance is a must. If you notice anything wrong with one of these pieces of equipment, don't hesitate to replace it.

Ensuring your kayaks are in good condition before heading out can help prevent accidents and ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable time on the water.

8. Always Supervise Your Child While They Are Kayaking

It's crucial to always supervise your child while they are kayaking, especially if they are new to the activity. This will allow you to closely monitor their movements and ensure that they follow all safety guidelines.

Also, being present during your child's kayaking experience can help them feel more confident and comfortable on the water. So stay alert and attentive while your child is kayaking, and always remember to prioritize safety.

9. Be Conscious Of Body Positioning In The Kayak

To ensure stability when paddling, it's recommended that you sit in the middle of the boat and keep your center of gravity low.

If children are too large to fit comfortably inside a child-sized kayak, they should use a seat cushion or similar items for added comfort. Also, maintaining an upright posture during the trip can give kids better visibility.


10. Familiarize Yourself With The Water Conditions

Familiarizing yourself with the water conditions is another important aspect of kayaking safety. Before you hit the water, take some time to research the area and learn about any potential hazards or challenges you may encounter.

This could include things like strong currents, rapids, or submerged obstacles. Additionally, paying attention to weather conditions and checking the forecast before setting out on your kayaking adventure is essential.

11. Keep Your Hands Inside The Kayak At All Times

When kayaking with children, it's important to constantly remind them to keep their hands inside the kayak. Then, if something goes wrong, you won't be dragged into the water.

Explain to them why it's so important; that their hands are far too precious and delicate to risk getting injured. Additionally, ensure that they're wearing life jackets that fit snugly and an additional layer of clothing just in case water gets splashed inside the kayak.

12. Have The Right Kayaks For Your Kids

When taking kids on a kayaking adventure, having the right kayaks for each child is crucial. If you are purchasing a kayak for your child, make sure it fits his or her size before buying it.

The length should be 11 feet or less so younger children can easily maneuver through the water and still enjoy navigating their craft safely. Additionally, when selecting a boat, consider a stable one with wide and shallow waterlines to provide more stability.

13. Establish Safety Rules And Boundaries Beforehand

Before starting your kayaking adventure and setting out into the water, it's essential to explain to children the safety rules and advice for kayakers. Explain to them that everyone should kayak within a particular area and avoid obstacles like rocks, floods, or other traffic on the water.

Additionally, remind them to observe other guidelines, such as not riding another person's boat, always wearing a flotation device, and following your instructions.

14. Ensure That Everyone Has Taken A Swimming Test

Before heading out on the water, ensuring everyone has taken a swimming test is important. All participants should be able to swim at least 25 meters with no assistance, and those unable or unwilling to do so must wear their life jackets.

Moreover, if your kids are between the ages of 6-13, they must be accompanied by an adult while kayaking to properly supervise them during their adventure.

15. Always Keep An Eye Out For Other Boats

When kayaking, it's important to always watch for other boats on the water. This could include larger vessels like motorboats or sailboats and other kayaks or canoes.

By staying aware of your surroundings and keeping a safe distance from other boats, you can help prevent accidents and ensure everyone stays safe on the water.

Also, it's important to follow any posted rules or regulations related to boating safety, such as speed limits or no-wake zones. By being a responsible boater and respecting the rights of others on the water, you can help ensure everyone has a fun and safe experience while kayaking.



Safety is always the priority when kayaking with kids of all ages. If you follow the above-mentioned safety tips for kids on their first kayaking adventure, you can help ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience on the water.


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15 Must-Read Safety Tips for Kids' First Kayaking Adventure!


Angela M. Cantoni - Editor and Founder of FUN WITH KIDS IN LA



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