Just because you have children doesnâ€™t mean you canâ€™t go on anymore adventures. In fact, taking your kids along with you on short adventures is a great way for you to bond with them as well as teach them about the world around them. And while hiking can be dangerous at times, if youâ€™re prepared and understand how to be safe, you and your child could both have a great time in the outdoors. For those just beginning to hike with little ones, here are three tips for hiking with babies and young children.
Finding the RIght Carrier
Depending on the age and weight of your baby, the type of carrier youâ€™re going to use will vary. For babies younger than six months or less than about 15 pounds, use a soft, front carrier to ensure the baby remains safe and protected. Once your child is old enough and big enough, you can begin using a back carrier that resembles a hiking backpack. REI shares that these types of carriers make it easier to distribute the weight of your child as well as helping both of you remain comfortable for longer hikes. Be sure you test out the carrier and are comfortable with how it fits you as well as how it fits your baby before taking it out on a trail.
Letting Yourself and Baby Rest
While both you and your child may enjoy the outdoors, hiking with little ones strapped to you can get exhausting for everyone pretty quickly. For this reason, BabyCenter.com suggests planning multiple rest stops during your hike. This will give you a chance to rest from the extra weight of carrying your baby or toddler and give your child a chance to stretch out. These breaks are also a good time to change diapers and refuel on snacks or drinks so you can keep everyoneâ€™s spirits up while youâ€™re moving on your hike.
Keeping Toddlers Safe
Before your baby can walk, you donâ€™t have to worry about him or her wandering off or getting lost since he or she will be safely strapped to your body. But once your little one can hike alongside you, hiking safety is going to play a much bigger role.
Rebecca Walsh, a contributor to SeattleBackpackersMagazine.com, recommends everyone in your group wears bright colors so itâ€™s easier to spot them if they step off the trail. Also, teach your children what to do if they get lost from the group, like sitting near a tree and blowing on a whistle until help arrives. These simple tips can make it a lot easier to reunite if you and your child somehow get separated on your hike. To minimize these risks, try to keep your kids hiking ahead of you or between two adults who can keep an eye on them.
By starting your kids off hiking at a young age, you could instill in your child a great love of the outdoors and appreciation of exploring the wilderness. Use the tips mentioned above to ensure you and your child have an enjoyable time on your hikes together.