Parents Condemned for Sailing Mexico - NZ w/ Toddlers in Tow

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By Athena Yenko | April 9, 2014 4:47 PM EST

Eric and Charlotte Kaufman from San Diego are now heavily criticised for bringing their toddlers - 1-year-old and 3-year-old - in a sailboat trip from Mexico to New Zealand.

The trip ended in a complicated rescue operation as the younger toddler became sick with salmonella and their boat encountered problems.

The complicated rescue operation was conducted by the California Air National Guard and U.S. Navy to bring the antibiotics for the toddler in time. California Air National Guardsmen parachuted from helicopters to lift the Kaufmans into inflatable boats.

The incident led for Mr and Mrs Kaufman to be subjected to heavy criticism, questioning their parenting style.

Netizens, who have read Mrs Kaufman's blog saying that the baby was unable to sleep during the trip and that they wash soiled diapers in the galley sink, suggested for proper agencies to take their children away from them.  

Some critics said that the couple should pay the expenses incurred during the rescue.

Experienced sailors questioned their ability to conduct the trip.

Speaking with The New York Times, sailor Matt Rutherford said sailing should not involve a kid below two years old.

"I have a rule in my mind that I would never bring a kid less than 2 years old. There's some real risks here, and you bring somebody else along and you're taking the risk for them, too. That's a serious question." Mr Rutherford said.

For James Gardner, a fisherman in California, the couple was being ridiculous.

"Teenagers, maybe, but kids of those ages - I think it was asinine. He put his family at risk. Any Joe can take a Coast Guard course and you are a captain - it is just above a cereal box certification," Mr Gardner told The New York Times.

Ashley Merryman, a co-author of a parenting book NurtureShock, said parents should contemplate on activities that toddlers are really ready for.

"I am very much anti-Bubble Wrap and think we should be giving our kids safe risks, but that doesn't mean exposing them to actual risks. It's not as if a 1-year-old is going to remember an experience, whether it's positive or negative. We all need to think about what they are really ready for," Ms Merryman said.

Even own family members were criticising Mr and Mrs Kaufman.

James Moriset, Mrs Kaufman's brother, said the idea was crazy to begin with.

"I saw this coming - I saw the potential for every bit of it. I don't understand what they were thinking to begin with. I'm sorry, I don't even like to take my kids in a car ride that would be too dangerous, and it's like taking them out into the big ocean?"

Mr and Mrs Kaufman en route wrote a statement to explain their side.

"When we departed on this journey more than a year ago, we were then and remain today confident that we prepared as well as any sailing crew could. The ocean is one of the greatest forces of nature, and it always has the potential to overcome those who live on or near it. We are proud of our choices and our preparation, and while we are disappointed that we lost our sailboat and our home, we remain grateful for those who came to our aid and those family and friends who continue to encourage and support us."

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