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Preventing Children From Getting Lost

 
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It’s finally warming up and it’s ahh-mazing. I’m starting to see people walking the streets again, and it has me thinking about our summer plans which inspired this post.

Venturing into the woods can seem quite intimidating with children. I’m always looking for ways to make it easier, so I wanted to share the advice that I’ve found and practiced. Preventing a person from getting separated from your group is key. Here are some ways to minimize that risk:

Discuss Your Route

Outline where you are going. Go over the details of the trail. If there are multiple people in your group discuss where you will be reconnecting with each other if you move at different paces.

Give your Child Boundaries

Verbally confirm your child's boundaries before each hike. A common boundary for a toddler would be within arms reach, while a common boundary for an older child might be within eyesight, or stop at each corner, etc.

Buddy system

Encourage children to pair up if possible.

Stay on the Trail

It is so tempting for children to stray off, but it's important to teach them to stay on the trail. Once you leave the trail it is easy to become disoriented and tracking becomes a whole new ball game. (Bonus- staying on the path also helps protect the vegetation.)

Equip everyone with their own Safety Gear

Each little person should at the very least have a backpack with: water, an extra layer, snacks, & a whistle.

Pack a Whistle

The internationally recognized signal for help is 3 short blasts. If you're in an area with multiple hikers, somebody will come to your aid if they hear 3 short blasts. Teach your children that whistles aren't for playing, but for emergencies. If they can't remember the 3 short blasts, at least the whistle will pierce the air louder than a child's call and will save their voice.

wear bright clothing

I love black as much as the next person, and I was so excited to see that camo was coming back in style. That being said, they are the worst when you’re looking for someone in the woods. A great bonus of a bright jacket is that when taking photos, it helps the subject stand out against the natural background.

Stay Calm

When a child goes missing, it is so hard to not lose your cool. Rationality gets lost in the mix, and that's when things get dangerous. Remember your plan, and execute it.

Carry an inReach or spotX for Areas with No Cell Service

Determine in advance whether the area you are visiting has cell service or not. In the event that things go completely sideways, it is important to be able to call for help immediately. 


Related Posts: Hiking with Kids and Keeping them Motivated

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