Enjoying the Great Outdoors: Hiking Safety Tips for the Family

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This guest blog is brought to us by The Safety Mom, Alison Jacobson.

With back-to-school either here or right around the corner, now’s the time to spend a few more days doing some fun family activities.  Hiking is a great last minute option if you only have a few hours or the weather forecast suddenly improves.  Here are some tips for keeping it enjoyable and safe for everyone in the family.

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1. Map it out: If it’s a trail you’ve never hiked, check it out online to see how difficult the terrain might be, especially if you’re new to hiking or taking little kids with you.  Be sure there are sufficient areas to turn around in case they get tired or cranky.

2. Dress properly:  Lyme Disease is now in every state of the country so be sure you protect yourself against ticks.  Wear long pants and light-colored clothing to make it easier to see if a tick is on you and do a thorough tick check when you get home.  Make sure to use an insect repellant as well as sunscreen.

3. Take a mobile phone but also tell someone where you’ll be:  You might be out of range of service or a family member might become separated from you during the hike so you can’t rely solely on your phone.  Be sure that someone else knows where you are should an accident occur.

4. Teach kids how to deal with animals:   Bobcats, bears and other animals don’t want to be around people so teach them if they see an animal make a noise and to chase them away.  Carrying an empty water bottle with some pebbles in it is a great noise maker.

5. Pack ample supplies for everyone on the hike:  Bring along some energy snacks for the family, but be sure not to leave any sort of food or wrappers along the trail.  Arctic Zone offers backpack-style soft sided coolers that keep your hands free during the hike but also has enough space and pockets to accommodate your supplies.  The bags also include built-in antimicrobial protection to make them easier to clean and help keep them cleaner for longer.

6. Take special precautions if you are bringing a pet along:  Don’t forget the collapsible water dish for your pet, and make sure you are keeping track of forecasted temperatures for the day.  If the day is too hot, consider leaving your dog at home as hot surfaces can burn the pads of their paws.

With a little preparation, a hike is a great family activity as well as terrific exercise.

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