Hiking is always a great experience, especially for kids. They get to understand nature better, plus they learn important rules about teamwork, decision making, and planning. And they do that in a fun way. But if you’re planning a hiking trip with your whole family, you need some safety tips for hiking with kids.
Get the right equipment
You should get the best equipment for you and for them, so start by getting a carry on backpack instead of a suitcase. The best ones have a padded back and shoulder straps, being resistant to water and punctures.
But more than that, it will help your kids feel more responsible, keeping your and their hands-free in case they need to grab hold of something when climbing up.
Apart from that, you need a GPS, a satellite phone, a map and a compass, waterproof matches and flashlights.
Get the right clothing
Even if you’re hiking in the warm summer weather, you need to dress in layers, and that goes double for the kids,
But the first layer, the one that’s closest to the skin, has to be a moisture-wicking material, like polyester or merino wool. When you’re doing high impact activities and sweating, you don’t want that sweat on your skin. That might make your kids catch a cold.
You also need an outer layer (jacket, pants) that’s insulating, windproof, resistant to rain and punctures. You and your kids should also be getting proper footwear, ankle-high sports shoes or boots that are comfortable and support your feet.
Protect kids from the sun
Wearing sunblock with a high UPF is extremely important because kids burn their skin really fast. Make sure the sun lotion you choose is appropriate for children use, though.
You should also get them a large-brim hat that keeps the nasty UV rays away from their neck, shoulders, and face.
Wearing these is also important when it’s overcast because the sun rays can penetrate the layer of clouds.
Don’t change at-home rituals
Even if it’s fun to spend the night laughing and telling stories around a campfire until the wee hours, it might be too much for kids.
And if they don’t sleep as long as they should, the next day they’ll be cranky and tired. That means they’ll pay less attention to your advice, do more impulsive stuff or even miss a dangerous thing because they’re exhausted.
Drink enough water
When they’re having fun, kids forget about their other necessities, like getting enough to eat and drink. It’s important to remind them every once in a while to get a sip of water so that they drink about 2 liters every day.
Of course, you should make sure they eat plenty and have a few energy bars on you. But fruits, fresh veggies, and nuts are even better, they replenish the reserve of minerals of vitamins, and help prevent dehydration.
Consider an ergonomic carrier
This will help keep smaller kids safe, but most ergonomic carriers can be used for children up to 50 pounds. It’s wiser to carry them like that, then it is in your arms. You need your arms for balance, to prevent injuries.
You can consider a wrap or a soft structured carrier that holds kids legs in an M position, without putting too much pressure on their hip joints. The soft back will keep their spine in a naturally curved position, which is essential for infants. And it’s great for catching a nap while you’re hiking.
The comfy, large shoulder and belt straps will distribute their weight evenly on your back and shoulders, helping you stay comfortable for hours at a time.
Make fun safe
Getting a play yard for when you’ve stopped for the day is essential. You can’t leave kids to play unsupervised in the wilderness, and putting up an encircled space for them is great for both of you.
You can mind your own business, set up the tent or prepare some food, while they can have their fun without you nagging too much.
Use a safe insect repellant
Make sure you get an insect repellant against all those creepy crawlies and fly bugs you’ll meet. An insect repellant can prevent bites from poisonous insects that might trigger an anaphylactic shock.
Still, you need to get one that’s appropriate for kids. You can even choose one without (too many) chemicals.
Take your First Aid Kit
Don’t forget this at home under any circumstances. Kids like to run and play, and a second of distraction is all it takes for an accident to take place.
So kids are more prone to injuries during hiking trips, which is why you need to have a complete and updated First Aid Kit. Make sure you have enough bandages, a gauze, medicine, scissors, tape, tweezers, an antiseptic solution, and wipes.
You also need some first aid skills of your own, especially in the case of a sprained ankle. So you should be able to improvise a splint and know how to tie it for optimum results.
Teach them survival skills
Since you’re navigating through the wilderness, there’s no better opportunity to teach your kids how to prevent and behave in case of danger. Teach them how to light a fire, how to signal for help or how to build a shelter from a rain jacket and a fallen log.
You could also show them how to collect rainwater, dew, or how to put a bag on a green tree branch and take advantage of the leaves’ perspiration. Using the triangulation method with a map and compass to find your way is another cool thing to teach your kids.
What are your tips?
Oh, and don’t forget to relax and have some fun. If you’re acting with the sense of an impending doom, you’ll forget to enjoy yourself. But of all these summer safety tips for hiking with kids tips so far, which do you think is the best? Did we forget something? The comments await your input!
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