Family Hiking Safety: Stay Safe and Enjoy the Trail

Hiking together is beneficial for every member of the family. It allows parents to have fun with their children in an adventurous activity. It's a good workout, but it doesn't feel like a laborious chore like some forms of exercise. Parents should be proactive in taking safety precautions before hitting the trails to ensure a great time is had by all.

The adults on the trip need to emphasize the importance of adequate hydration. More than enough water for everyone who is taking the excursion must be taken along. Double check kids' bags to be sure that they packed an adequate amount of water.

The hiking leader needs to designate someone to pack a bag that has all the essentials. Yes, a minimalist approach is best when packing for the trail when it comes to everything except the first aid kit. But, when it comes to safety it's better to be safe than sorry.

A hiker's first aid kit should include bandages, gauze, a knife, tweezers, a safety pin, scissors, cotton swabs, antibiotic ointment, antibacterial cleansing pads, oral rehydration salts, a pen, and a small notebook. The latter two items are important in case you need to record vital information after a wound. If any of the hikers has special health concerns, that should be addressed in the first aid kit as well.

During the journey, parents should communicate with children about not veering off the trail for any reason. Going off the trail erodes the hillside and can eventually ruin the trail. On top of that, it can be very unsafe to walk in unmarked locations, especially for younger people. It increases the odds that someone will get injured or lose their way.

Everybody participating in the hike needs to be educated about what to do in case they encounter wildlife such as bears or snakes. Remaining calm is a must. The hikers should attempt to keep a great distance between themselves and the animals. They should then attempt to slowly back away. Running can only escalate the problem and draw the attention of wildlife.

For the safety of future hikers, take away everything that you bring into the park. Never leave food along the trail as this can attract wildlife to where people will be hiking, and that can be bad for both people and animals. 

Someone else should always be informed on where the hikers plan on going and when they are expected to be home. Having someone check in on them to make sure they arrived back home safely is an important part of making sure that help is sent in a worse case scenario. No matter how safe the trails may seem, the unexpected can happen and taking this small step can provide the peace of mind necessary to really live it up and enjoy the hiking experience.