Often, the subject comes up about how to teach your kids to be safe in the outdoors. Ans this subject is very extensive and can be lengthy when we discuss it only because that subject is very broad. But one thing, above all else, that needs to be taught to our youngsters is how to behave if they get separated from us.
One of the top five items your kids need to have while out hiking with you is a whistle. A whistle is meant to be used for emergencies only. When kids carry it, they need to understand that so they don’t over use it and become either annoying for those around them or to create a situation where people won’t think of it as a true emergency.
Whistles are very inexpensive and can be purchased at any outdoor recreation store. Some backpacks even have whistles attached to the buckle on the front of the backpack strap. Which every choice you make in acquiring a whistle, it is imperative you bring it. Let’s talk about what to do to use it correctly.
1. Hug a tree
The first thing you must teach your child is how to behave if they get separated from you. I used to tell my kids that they needed to stay still and “hug a tree”. The idea here is that they need to stay still and stay put. The more they move around trying to find us again, the more they can get themselves lost.
2. Use your whistle, not your voice
The next step to teaching your kids to be safe while separated from us is to use their whistle and not their voice. This is for two reasons. Firstly, sometimes when kids use their voice, they cannot be heard or they can be assumed to be having fun and not be lost. Sometimes a child may think they are lost when in fact, they aren’t. Using their voice will not tell the adult they are feeling lost. When we teach our kids to use the whistle in emergencies only, the use of the whistle actually signifies an emergency on the child’s part. Secondly, the use of their voice can tire out eventually and can make them more dehydrated as a result.
3. How to use the whistle
When teaching your kids to use the whistle correctly, tell them to blow in three quick blows while counting to three between each set of three. Blow, blow blow, count to three. Blow, blow, blow count to three. Practice this often so you know what an emergency from your child will sound like. The counting to three from your child may be different than yours. Do this over and over. Test them regularly. But only use it in emergencies.
The idea that our child can get away from can be scary but also something we think would never happen to us. “We pay attention to our kids. They won’t get lost,” we say to ourselves. There is a statistic out there that reports over 2,000 people get lost in the woods each year. While that isn’t specific to children, it is a horrifying statistic for me. Especially when, with a few tricks up your sleeve, you can hopefully prevent it from happening at all. While you are teaching your kids these important tips, don’t forget to bring along the some of these five things with you when you go. And then contact me to capture some wonderful memories in photos that your kids will cherish forever.