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Chain of Craters Road safe with Infants

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Mar 9th, 2014, 06:00 PM
  #1
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Chain of Craters Road safe with Infants

We will be visiting Hawaii - The Big Island at the end of the month with a 6 month baby. We've read a lot about the VOG issue and the safety concerns for small kids and babies and therefore not planning on visiting the Volcano Park.

But we are confused about what parts are still considered safe. For example is it ok to visit Hilo? Can we still do the Chain of Craters Road? We would still like to see the lava from a distance so can we do this drive and use circulated air? Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Mar 9th, 2014, 06:45 PM
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It's been 10 years or so since we were last driving around there - and if it's dangerous - I think they will have that part of the road closed or warning signs up, etc.

Can't imagine how much problems there might be with volcano gas from the roads - but double check at the visitor's center when you get there.

Have you looked at the maps very closely, and also where the active lava plumes/runs are?
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Mar 9th, 2014, 06:46 PM
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Actually - why don't you email or call the visitor's center at the Volcano ahead of time?
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Mar 9th, 2014, 06:46 PM
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Chain of Crates Road is IN the park. As far as seeing lava, that might not even be possible either.

"Please note: The current lava flows are in a remote, unstable area that is NOT accessible by the public by car or foot."

http://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/lava2.htm

http://www.nps.gov/havo/closed_areas.htm
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Mar 9th, 2014, 07:36 PM
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I live on the Big Island so I do know a bit more than someone who hasn't been here in ten years.

The only way to see lava these days is from a plane/helicopter or a grueling 5 hour hike.
Chain of Craters road is closed at Jagger museum. The visitor center, Thurston lava tube and Jagger museum are safe and interesting to visit.

There's not a lot of vog lately since the lava stopped flowing into the ocean. The last few times I've driven over to Kona the skies were clear and no vog at all.
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Mar 10th, 2014, 07:22 AM
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Thank you all so much for your responses. I def will call the park directly and get more info.

I guess I wanted the opinions of people who have been there as well. My question is not so much about "seeing" the live red lava because I know that involves hiking to it and we are not willing to do that with the baby. I would be more than happy driving on the Chain of Craters rd and seeing the old, black lava blocking the road, etc. But I wasnt sure if this was safe with a small baby in terms of the VOG. So my main question is the vog and how close to the park we can get without it being a safety concern for the baby?

And same with actually visiting the park. I read a few posts on forums but it seems they were from 2008 and I havent found much recent info. We would love to visit the park but only if it is safe for young infants of course.
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Mar 10th, 2014, 07:25 AM
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Matn has offered helpful, clarifying advice several times, and not at all in a "snippy" fashion. Some folks offer dated impressions from visits some time ago (sound familiar, tom?) or advice from outdated guide books, and things on the Big Island can change quite quickly (like roads and volcanoes).
There is a spot on Chain of Craters where rolling up your windows is recommended; there are constant emissions from the volcano, in particular the crater: that doesn't mean it's dangerous to enter the park or to drive the road. Every time I visit, there are myriad children all over the place.
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Mar 10th, 2014, 07:39 AM
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BTW, if you want to see younger flows, just step off the plane in Kona. The entire island is built of flows, and very recent ones can be seen, for example, from Kona to Waikoloa; it's quite a stunning landscape.
Vog affects people downwind of the volcano; read the website given by DebitNM: http://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/lava2.htm.
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Mar 10th, 2014, 08:18 AM
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Thank you Sylvia3!
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Mar 19th, 2014, 11:07 PM
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luvtravelin, we just visited the Big Island this year. We slept in Hilo and visited the Volcanoes National Park as a day-trip. At the time of our visit there was a warning about the air (Vog) being especially poor. It did affect my husband and I...he has allergies, and I was getting over a cold. The vog made breathing more uncomfortable and made me feel uncomfortably wheezy. I was glad that we weren't spending the night closer to the volcanoes park..I was glad to be sleeping in Hilo where the air was better during our visit.

I wouldn't judge safety based on how many children are running around. Every year in Yosemite there are people (and children) standing in dangerous spots where they can be washed away by the strong currents, despite warning signs. And EVERY YEAR some of those people do actually get washed away and die. So the presence of lots of people doesn't mean much.

I advise you to get some official info on the Vog from the park, and bring it with you to visit your baby's pediatrician. Make sure that your pediatrician isn't concerned about your baby. Ask your pediatrician if your baby has any health issues which should be taken into account for this trip?

We love the Volcano National Park on the Big island, and although I'm no expert, we've visited twice, including this year...and have never seen lava, but there is still vog. I'm happy with just a day-trip to see this amazing park.

Have a wonderful vacation!
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Mar 20th, 2014, 12:46 PM
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The official park info will set your mind at ease; also,
http://www.nps.gov/havo/forkids/index.htm

"wouldn't judge safety based on how many children are running around"; comparing getting "washed away" with visiting a park is a reach, in my opinion.
According to the 2010 census, Volcano had "1,228 households out of which 17.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them"; perhaps we should move them all, since they don't know how much danger they are in?
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