25 December 2022
Is hiking with children safe? That is a question that is often asked and the answer depends on the preparation that has been undertaken in the lead up to going. It is important to take on board the fact that nothing in life is inherently safe, but we can always take all reasonable steps to minimise the risks. This definitely applies to hiking, even when it is only adults, but doubly so when children are present.
Some of the risks can relate to the terrain and the weather, so for example if the hike was up a nearby hill and the weather turned bad, it might make it hazardous and slippery to come back down or you may stray from the path in some fog.
One of the best safety precautions you can take is to leave a plan of your route with a trusted friend or family member and let them know when you expect to be finished. Arrange to call once you are safe and sound after the hike and get them to call you if you don’t call at the agreed time.
This allows them to call and ascertain whether you merely forgot to get in touch, or whether you are out of mobile phone contact and perhaps require assistance. Ensure that they have appropriate contacts for mountain rescue etc in case the worst does come to the worst and you require assistance.
There is a mobile phone app called What3Words that allows you to pinpoint your position down to three square metres and this can be useful if you ever do need assistance when in a remote location. If you have a mobile phone signal you are able to give a very precise location and sit tight, awaiting help.
One of the leading causes of people needing to be rescued on hikes is not being prepared enough for the elements, so be sure that all of the family have adequate clothing and footwear. This is one of the most important things you can do to mitigate the risks involved in hiking with the family. With the best will in the world, children are clumsy and can have the most ridiculous accidents sometimes. This is why it is important to ensure they have footwear that has both a really good grip and excellent ankle support. Take a first aid kit and make sure you know how to patch up any grazes.
There is some really high quality hiking gear available these days across the entire age spectrum and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. It is important to ensure that the outer layer is waterproof and that you are all wearing multiple layers underneath so that you can add or remove layers as and when necessary, depending on the conditions you are experiencing.
Another helpful tip is to prepare for the worst case scenario, so before going anywhere, think what you might need if the trip had the absolute worst weather conditions that you can imagine. That way, you will never be caught out, and will always have the equipment that you need.
All of these things combined will ensure that hiking with the children is the safest that it can be. Have fun and enjoy some beautiful walks in stunning locations.