Wednesday, March 7, 2012

How to avoid fall injuries on hikes with kids

One way to avoid fall injuries is to stay
out of caves.
Fortunately, most falls on the trail are not a big deal. Still, they can lead to everything from a scraped knee to a broken bone.

Children can avoid falls by not running and always watching their step. Usually a fall occurs because a child doesn’t see a tree root or a rock on the trail that they then trip over. In addition, don’t walk along narrow ledges and be cautious when clambering over boulders lest an arm or the head hit a hard stone on the way down. Don’t climb vertically on cliff sides; children easily can lose their grip or loose rock might give way. Climbing is a fun pastime but should be done with the right gear.

Another, more dangerous way falls can occur is when kids enter abandoned mines and wells. Usually mine entrances are boarded up, but even that won’t stop inquisitive children from getting inside, so watch them. Mines often have holes or drop-offs in them that can cause serious injury. Children should be told to stay away from mines and wells.

Also, during autumn and early spring, even if there is no snow on the ground, watch your step on bridges or stepping stones over streams and rivers. Ice can form on them. Ice is typically present during the hours immediately after sunrise.

After a fall, always assess the injury’s seriousness and treat accordingly.

Related articles:
g How to prevent and treat hypothermia in children
g Avoiding and treating child dehydration on the trail
g How to avoid and treat nosebleeds
g How to avoid and treat hiking kids' muscle cramps

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