Trail safety is paramount when it comes go heading out on a little adventure. Not only for the obvious reason of being safe, but when everyone feels like they’re free from danger they will experience a positive outdoor adventure!
Once you’ve decided where you’re wanting to take your kids there are a few preliminary steps that are part of trail safety before you even leave your house:
–Check out our Jellybean Rating to find more information on your destination
-Gauge the weather. Is there a risk of rain? Are you prepared for that? If you’re heading up to the mountains be prepared for sudden changes in weather and make sure you pack accordingly.
-What are the kids moods like? If you’re focused on a tantrum you may miss some trail safety points
-Have you been here before or have recent knowledge of what it’s like? If you’ve never been there and it’s not on our Jellybean Rating, check out another trail rating website like www.alltrails.com, www.vancouvertrails.com, or www.clubtread.com. Just remember, these websites are not from a child’s perspective so the approximate time to complete should be doubled at least.
-Write down where you’re going and post it somewhere in the house. Also, let someone close to you know where you’re going and what time you’re expected back.
Trail Safety Tips
Now that you’ve chosen your destination it’s time to consider trail safety when you’re on your adventure.
Have appropriate gear
Make sure you have the proper footwear, clothing, and carrier suitable to your little adventure. If you don’t necessarily need something right away (i.e. a jacket) make sure to pack one in your backpack just in case. Also, make sure you have a fully charged cellphone handy.
Pack extra food and water
This is not only to avoid hangry kids, but also, if you get lost or the adventure takes longer than expected you’ll be sufficiently nourished and hydrated.
Teach your kids what to do in case of getting lost
You can prepare your child on what to do if they get lost:
- Blow their whistle. Three short blasts is the universal SOS signal. If they don’t have a whistle they can call loudly for help.
- Tell them to stay put. If you’re both searching for each other you run the risk of missing one another entirely.
- Explain to them how to keep warm. Tell them to put on their jacket. If it’s cold outside they can add extra warmth by covering themselves in leaves.
*When you’re discussing these things with your child make sure you express to them that with proper precautions, like staying together-which is trail safety tip number 1– the chances of them getting lost aren’t likely. Reassure them that you’re not saying these things to scare them, you’re just preparing them!
Give your kids a backpack and bright clothes
Giving your kids a backpack filled with the things they would need in an emergency situation gives them a sense of security, as well as you. Include: a whistle, a headlamp, a jacket, some snacks, and water. Dressing them in bright colours is helpful in making them more visible!
Keep a First Aid kit handy
Know the basics of first aid so that you can administer it when necessary on the trail. Even if you don’t have to do anything major you may find that a bandaid on a bruise is enough to keep your toddler going!
Go with friends
Not only are little adventures more fun with friends, but they’re also more safe. Having an extra set of eyes is helpful for watching the kids, and the kids are more likely to be more enthusiastic about going out if they’ve got buddies to go with them!
Be a good example
Talk to your kids as you go along about what you’re doing and why. Role model things like staying on the trail and following signs. You’re their hero and they’re going to follow what you do closely!
Getting out on little adventures can be fun AND safe with the proper trail safety knowledge. Brush up on these things before you head out wherever you’re going.