This is a guest post from Luna Anderson You can find the best tips about hiking, camping and survival skills on her website: HikerTrack Plus follow her on Twitter and Pinterest
When you are a parent, you will find that there is innate need to make sure you have spent quality time with your kids. Kids, however, can be difficult and very hard to keep in control when you take them out of their comfort zone and out into places they have never been before.
Hiking is one of the best things you can do with the kids to build up their strength and help them learn survival skills. There is also the fact that you will need to check regularly and make sure they are safe while hiking in the wilderness.
Here are a few tips that I found to be very helpful when I took my kids out.
Safety Tips for Hiking with Kids
1 Keep everyone close
As mothers, we have the instinct to keep the kids under our wings. This characteristic comes in handy when you are taking the kids hiking. However, you will find the kids will not always want to be sheltered that way.
So, you will need to let them out but make sure they stay together and you have to keep an eye on them. This way, if anything happens to any of them, the other one can get help or keep them company. I think they call this the ‘buddy system’ in the world of pro hikers.
2. Choose a right baby carrier when hiking with infants
Infants are weak and easily hurt physically. If you want to take them hiking, you should get your children used to the baby carrier before hitting the trail. Also, they tend to whine all the time, so it’s better to lull your child to sleep and hike at the nap time.
Babies aren’t great at coping with the cold outside. For this reason, you need to keep them warm and the first hike should be limited to a couple of hours to make kids familiar with the temperature and environment.
3. Whistles are life savers
When people are in trouble on hiking trails, I noticed they have whistles to signal others and let them know that they are in trouble. The thing about whistles is that they are extremely easy to use. There is no easier way for kids to SOS a signal than blowing a whistle.
In addition, you will be able to hear it even when you are far from them. The whistle is easy to carry and once they get the hang of it, kids will blow that thing like hell when they are in distress. This will help you find them. The training is also so easy.
4. Prepare the personal emergency kit
Unexpected things do happen when you hit the trails and it’s always better to prepare for everything in advance. That is the reason why you need to make sure an emergency kit is on hand to help you in any case.
The kits can be carried for each kid. They don’t have to be heavy. Just carry the essential stuff when out with the kids for the day like a first aid kit, water and maybe a sweatshirt. These will go a long way in making the hike easy and fun.
5. Teach them survival skills
Do you think of the worst scenario when your kids encounter a bear or a wolf on the trail? In that case, running away is never be a wise choice, it even puts them in danger. You should equip them with a bear spray and teach them how to use it if a bear tries to attack your kids.
6. Restrict playing
Yes, the kids will think that you are being too harsh but you are their mother and when you lose them, society will judge you with harshness. Don’t be too uptight about the whole no playing thing because what is the great outdoors for.
Playing is good but you need to keep it in check and you need to make sure the environment is controlled.
Anyway, as I was saying, you will need to make sure that they are not playing something potentially disturbing like hide and seek. It is a good game in a familiar environment but when you are out there, people get lost easily. They will be harder to keep track of too.
7. Avoid camouflage
This is almost as risky as playing hide and seek, actually I would like to say it is worse than that. You are walking through the outdoors, not hiding from the enemy. That is the reason why all family should wear bright coloured clothing when hiking.
They can be seen from far and from a plane which is really useful. Kids will be harder to spot if they are wearing the military colours. In the case of evacuations, search and rescue among other things, brightly coloured clothes will help people find your kids faster and more easily.
When hiking with kids, you will be having lots of fun and it is easy to lose focus or be ill-prepared to meet whatever may arise out of nowhere. If you plan on a camping outside, a pop-up tent would be ideal since it’s lightweight and very easy to set up. There is nothing more frightening than to lose a kid when you are on the trail, so always be careful and attentive. Happy hiking!
- Images from Pixabay or purchased through Shutterstock by the author.