Thursday, February 9, 2012

Always go over hiking safety with kids before taking your first step on the trail

It’s best to review hiking safety rules before leaving the house – but just before hitting the trailhead, a gentle reminder is a good idea. Through repetition, they’ll get it. Even my son at the age of three could tell me after a couple of hiking trips what to do if he saw a snake.

Some ground rules you need to cover include:
g Stay in sight of an adult at all times
g Only drink water we bring in
g What to do if they get lost
g Watch for poison ivy/oak/sumac
g What to do if they see a snake
g Where they should not go (also what not to climb, no stepping into water, stay away from cliff sides and other drop offs, etc.)
g Stay on the trail, no shortcuts

Cover anything else you feel is necessary.

As kids get older and have done several hikes, they probably don’t need to go over every item on the list or you can review the rules quite quickly.

Now herd the kids onto the trailhead!

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