Wanda Rice has organized popular workshops to help kids “stay found” and has given plenty of trailhead talks on safety as leader of the family outings committee of AMC’s New Hampshire Chapter. But still she has been on trips when kids wandered away from the group or forgot they had a whistle, even though it was hanging off their backpack.
“No matter how much the kids know the concepts, you can’t stress them enough,” she says. “It’s good to keep reinforcing.”
Here are the basics that she recommends to help children avoid getting lost and to make it easier to find them safely and quickly if they do stray.
Top tips to teach kids for avoiding getting lost:
Top tips to teach kids for dealing with being lost:
Rice says that repeating these basics—and providing your child with a whistle—is key to preventing problems. It’s great to also help kids learn additional outdoor survival skills, like how to make a warm “bed” or shelter.
And while Rice often teaches such skills as part of outdoor excursions, they are relevant closer to home too. “It’s important for parents to not just stress these when going out hiking,” she says. “Most searching [for lost children] is for kids who’ve wandered out in their backyard and kept going.”
Rice credits New England K-9 Search and Rescue, which leads the workshops she organizes, for helping her learn these tips. Their website has more information and links.
AMC has materials for teaching children these lessons, including a DVD that members of AMC chapters may borrow from the library. AMC staff can also offer a workshop on staying found for chapters on request.
Photo by iStock
Great Kids, Great Outdoors is an Appalachian Mountain Club blog, written by Heather Stephenson.