What would you do if you lost your child while hiking?
Last spring an acquaintance, we’ll call her Suzie, told me a story about a time when she ‘lost’ one of her kid’s on a hike.
Suzie had no previous hiking experience but decided to take her children on their very first hike. Naturally, they selected a trail in an area that was new to them.
After a few miles of hiking Suzie decided to turn around and head back to the trailhead. Her 8 year old son asked if he could keeping going down the trail a little bit further and then meet up with them on their way down to the trailhead.
Suzie gave him permission to do so but told him to turn back after 3 minutes of hiking. At the time she knew this was a bad decision.
Upon arriving at the trailhead her 8 year old hadn’t met up with her and the rest of her children. So, she waited a while and then panicked, packed the rest of her kids in the car and drove down the mountain until she had cell service and could call Search & Rescue for help.
Almost 7 hours later her son was found, thankfully he was alright.
In no way do I want to judge this woman because I don’t hike in her boots. But, I do want to talk about this story because since hearing it I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind.
What if my curious 3 year old were to frolic into the woods while I was busy calming a crying baby, unloading the car at a trailhead, or changing a diaper?
What if…What if….What if….
In no way am I an expert on survival or safety. I’m just a Mom but I think it’s important to talk about the hard subjects. You know, like what to do if a child wanders from the group, or if a car breaks down in the middle of nowhere or you encounter a less than friendly mountain lion.
As a Hike it Baby community we can learn a lot from each other.
To get the dialog started I’m going to share a few blog posts with you talking about what I do to plan and prepare for hikes and then to ensure that our hikes are safe.
We’ll discuss how to plan a safe hike, how to pack for a hike, how to prepare for emergencies, safety tips for hiking with toddlers, and then go into teaching our children to make good decisions in the wilderness. I believe that this outdoor education needs to start young.
My hope isn’t that you’ll just do what I’m doing. Instead I hope that this will spark a discussion within the Hike it Baby community, amongst your families and that we’ll be able to talk about something that is difficult to talk about and prepare for the unexpected.
So stay tuned and get ready to discuss and share about ways that we can safely enjoy the great outdoors with our babies.
Rebecca Walsh is the Branch Lead for Hike it Baby Laramie. But that’s just a tiny fraction of how much she does. Check out her website here. She also runs the podcasts for Hike it Baby.