WASHINGTON — Last week, Eric and Charlotte Kaufman and their two young daughters were rescued as their attempt to sail around the world ended.
The baby was ill and the boat was sinking — and surviving dangerous waters wasn’t the end of it. Public backlash from the parents’ decision to sail with their two young children labeled them reckless and irresponsible.
But how risky was their behavior?
“Obviously there is some risk involved when you take a baby out on a boat, but you know there is also some risk involved if you take a baby out in the car,” says Anne-Marie O’Neill, editor of parenting website mom.me.
“I think as a society, and unfortunately as parents, we are very swift to judge other parents without knowing all the facts.”
The San Diego-based Kaufman family lived on their 36-foot sailboat, Rebel Heart, for seven years. Both parents are seasoned sailors and Eric is a licensed Coast Guard captain. They started their journey in 2012 on a ship stocked with food, safety equipment and medications.
But 900 miles off the coast of Mexico, everything went wrong.
“Look, the ocean is a very big place. When you compound that by saying,