Planning Trips With Children

By Jamie Orfald-Clarke, Boreal River Rescue instructor

Many parents who enjoy spending time canoeing want to share that enthusiasm with their children. While having children along on a trip can add new challenges, and potential risks, you can plan a trip that is safe and fun, whatever your experience level and the age of your kids.

wilderness canoe trips with kids and paddling whitewater with children

When talking about risk assessment on wilderness canoe trips, I often use driving as an analogy. Most parents who drive a car don’t consider it an irresponsible risk to drive with their child in a car seat. This is because the driving they are doing is well within their comfort zone. A parent who is as comfortable in class 2 whitewater as they are driving on the highway is not exposing their children to any more risk on the river than in the car.

There are times to venture outside of your comfort zone; that is how we learn. A trip with young children is not that time. For some parents, this may mean starting with car camping and flatwater day trips. For others, it may mean a weekend. And for some, it may mean a week-long trip with class 1 and 2 whitewater.

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