Friday, June 4, 2010

Camping and Hiking Safety Tips!

In addition to Child Identification, we here at Ident-A-Kid are also concerned with you and your child’s safety. With spring here and summer fast approaching, more and more families will be engaging in outdoor activities like camping and hiking. While camping and hiking can be fun and rewarding activities for families, there are some things that it is important to remember to keep you and your family safe, healthy, and ready for fun! Below is some information from Safer Child, Inc about hiking and camping safety.

Make a list: Draw up a list of camping and hiking items that you want to take with you (it's easier if you do it on the computer). Each time you go, add all the things you would like to have had with you. Eventually, you'll have a comprehensive list that you can pull out when it's time to pack. This will make packing quick and efficient -- and you won't forget important items such as medication, glasses, flashlights or sunscreen.

Take it easy, and keep it fun: It's easy to douse a child's natural enthusiasm for camping and hiking. Little legs wear out faster than big ones, and little bodies get both colder and hotter much faster than do big bodies. Here's how to keep it fun:

Don't try to climb a mountain or spend the day lecturing -- and do take lots of fun breaks. Remember that with young children, the whole goal is to have fun together, so take time to look, listen, smell and touch things. To a child, everything is interesting -- bugs, flowers, squirrels, trees, birds, animal tracks, animal leavings, even rocks. Your children will enjoy throwing rocks in a pond or floating leaves in a river. They will not have a strong drive to reach any particular spot on the trail.

Take snacks and drinks, and give your children time to eat and drink. Granola bars, fruit, nuts, water and occasional juice are good choices. During rest breaks, you can sing songs, play games, read stories, play with sticks, draw or color, and snap a few photographs.

Allow your children to make suggestions about what to pack, where to go, what to do and when to leave.

Take a friend. Bringing along one of your child's friends can help keep the activity merry. Just make sure there are enough adults to properly watch the children. If you're able to, consider bringing books, favorite games and travel games, and a barbecue grill.

Teach your children how to use a compass, how to read a map, how to follow the sun (or stars), how to sanitize water, (and when they're old enough) how to build a fire.

Consider your child's physical condition and don't push your child past the child's abilities or past the point of enjoyment.

Your young child can carry a child-size backpack with a sweater and a small snack. As the child gets older, you can gradually increase the weight (never forcing your child to carry more than he/she is comfortable carrying -- experts suggest not more than 10-20 percent of a child's total body weight). Remember that the backpack will feel heavier as the walk goes on. Do allow your child to tell you when the backpack becomes uncomfortable, and be open to relieving the discomfort.

Praise your child for various achievements, and provide the odd special treat.

Keep the trip fun. Avoid criticizing your child (or spouse) for not knowing things, for making mistakes, or for getting sick and/or tired. If the trip must be abandoned, avoid taking it badly or placing blame on anyone. Try to put a positive spin on any unforeseen events: "This was a good place to turn around!" or "Think of everything we got to see today!"

• Be safe: Learn something about safety before you go. For example

Make sure you know something about survival before you go. Go the library and read some books, take a survival class, visit the Red Cross. Then, teach your children age-appropriate information as you go. Remember: you are their protector, but if something happens to you, they become yours AND theirs. Give them the tools they need to save all of you if they have to.

Tell someone at home where you're going and when you'll be home. (Make sure you know where you're going, and then stick to your plan, or alert the people at home of any changes). Also, make sure you have your Ident-A-Kid card on you at all times. The forest and woods can be a disorienting place, especially for a child. Be prepared in the event that your child is missing.

Choose an age-appropriate area and activity. Remember that little legs wear out faster, especially in uneven terrain, and that children have a tougher time adjusting to high altitudes. When your children are small, try to stick to trails in good condition and without big climbs.

Children don't fully develop a good sense of balance until their teens, so don't take younger children to places -- such as narrow ledges, rocky terrain, snowy trails or alongside any body of water -- that require physical abilities they haven't yet developed.

Remember to keep yourself and your children well-hydrated. If you're thirsty, you're already dehydrated

Dress everyone appropriately for the terrain, and with proper shoes, hats, sunglasses and sunscreen. Dress them in layers so that it's easy to alter clothing to fit the temperature.

Limit any packs to 20 percent (or less) of a child's total body weight -- and be open to relieving discomfort when the pack begins to feel heavy. A good idea is to let the child carry a fanny pack with a few survival items, such as water, a medium-sized space blanket, several energy bars, candy to suck on (if the child is old enough), a plastic garbage bag that can break the wind, a small raincoat, a pocket knife (if the child is old enough), waterproof matches or other incendiary device (if the child is old enough), a glow stick, and a mirror (teach the child to use the mirror to attract a rescuer). Just remember: the goal is to have fun and to learn something -- not to run a boot camp.

Keep a hawk-like watch out for them (getting momentarily out-of-sight has been fatal for many children). It will be easier to watch out for a child if there is an adult in front of the child and another adult behind.

Allow the child to wear a whistle that can be blown to attract your attention and to keep predators away. Be careful how you secure the whistle to the child, however. You don't want the whistle to get lost, but you don't want the child being choked by a string around the neck, either.

Don't EVER leave children alone in a vehicle, tent or camper -- even with the windows down. Even on a 70-degree day, the temperature inside a vehicle can climb to 120 degrees in minutes. Additionally, children can become bored, sick, disgruntled or worried, and they might set off to find you or find something to do.

It can be a boost for a child to lead the hike (this makes the child feel very important) -- plus it allows you to set a proper pace for the child and to keep an eye on the child.

Bring a first-aid kit, extra water, snacks and extra clothing. If you have a cell phone, bring it, and teach your child how to use it.

If the weather starts to turn, turn around! You can always come again another day.

One more thing: Please take your garbage with you when you go!!!

To view the source of this blog, please visit

To learn more about Child Identification and Child Safety, please visit