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Walking Safely with Kids
Walking Safely with Kids

Children Walking


Photo by Ramblers' Association

By Ramblers' Association

Walking is the single most accessible adventure for families; it's free, sustainable and can be tailored to suit your family's level of fitness. And the benefits aren't just physical. Research by the Ramblers' Associations suggests that a recreational walk stimulates parents and children to communicate as well as explore their environment. And with just a few safety measures in mind, a walk no matter how long or short will be an enjoyable and memorable experience for all the family.

Road safety
Most walks involve at least some road walking if only a link between paths. Making children aware of the dangers of being on or near roads is an investment for life and it makes them feel responsible for their own safety, when you're not around. Educate your child not just by telling them the hazards but by showing them.

Mobile phones
A peaceful walk in the countryside is the one place you can get away from those irritating ring tones…or is it? Many walkers take their mobiles (cell phones) on a walk and they can sometimes prove helpful in emergencies. But remember they don't work in some locations, particularly in some hilly and remote areas, they have limited battery power, and their signals cannot be pinpointed with any accuracy. Therefore they are not a substitute for other safety precautions. Mountain rescue services stress that mobile phones should be used to call for help only in cases of real emergency. If you do call for help, keep your mobile on. The emergency services may need to call you back.

Backcountry trips
Statistically, you are far safer walking in the countryside than on a city street. So don't be put off if you prefer an independent hiking trip to a guided walking holiday. But when walking with kids don't throw caution to the wind. There are a few precautions you can take to ensure your family adventure doesn't become a vacation to forget. These are especially important in remote or mountainous areas where there is a greater risk of becoming stranded by injury or illness. If you walk on your own, consider the following:
  • Don't take unnecessary risks by tackling overly long or difficult routes.
  • Make sure you are fully prepared and equipped, and competent at navigation.
  • Pack a whistle for each member of your group and be sure everyone is wearing it around their neck when you set out.
  • Communicate your whereabouts and the time you expect to return with a friend, relative or the front desk at your inn or B&B.

If are new to walking or just uncertain, consider learning with more experienced walkers, such as on a walk with your local Ramblers group.

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