Saturday, December 24, 2011

Wear proper headgear when hiking with kids

Ensure children wear the proper headgear when day hiking.
Half of all body heat is lost through the head, hence the hiker’s adage, “If your hands are cold, wear a hat.” In cool, wet weather, wearing a hat is at least good for avoiding hypothermia, a potentially deadly condition in which heat loss occurs faster than the body can generate it. Children are more susceptible to hypothermia than adults.

In lower latitudes, higher altitudes, deserts and especially during summer, a hat with a wide brim is useful in keeping the sun out of eyes. It’s also nice should rain start to fall.

Wear lightweight hats in late spring and summer and heavier ones in cooler weather. During winter, wear balaclavas or hats with ear flaps.

For young children, get a hat with a chin strap. They like to play with their hats, which will fly off in a wind gust if not “fastened” some way to the child.

Read more about day hiking with children in my guidebook Hikes with Tykes.