Preparing younger Children

It can be a terrifying experience for someone to get lost out in the woods, especially if they are not knowledgeable of what to do.


If they panic it may prove the end for that person if the conditions are there for that to happen.


It can be far worse for a child to be separated from the protective and comforting influence of the family, and to be plunged into the unknown with frightening sounds in the forest during the night and so forth.


Search and rescue organizations and others teach the Hug-A-Tree program to teach children to avoid getting lost, and what to do if they do get lost out in the woods. I'll include some links here below for you to get more information on the subject.


Give your children the tools they need so that if they are not in your immediate protective influence they may be armed with knowledge and tools to be able to survive.


Prepare a Children's Wilderness Survival Kit and teach them how and when to use it.


1. AdventureSmart Program

2. Fox40 International


If you have children, please teach them! If your family does not go camping in the woods it does not mean that your child may never get lost out there. Children are curious and may venture out too far in the woods somewhere and then get lost. Or it may happen as part of a school outing, or as this website is about, during a time of emergency.


I'll list some pointers to help you out. Do a research for more information on the subject. This is important.


  • NEVER threaten to scold your child if they get lost. It has happened that children remain silent and hide while hearing search and rescue personnel calling for them, because they were afraid to be punished. Do not arrange for them to fear you more than their predicament!
  • Have a catch phrase that your child is taught that you share with search and rescue. When this catch phrase is mentioned your child should be trained to not fear the person or persons trying to find them.
  • When out camping have them wear a brightly colored vest that has reflective material on it. Orange is normally preferable.
  • Give your child a quality whistle, not a junk toy whistle because your child's life may depend on it. Buy an orange one which makes it easier to find if your child drops it. Put it on a lanyard which will go around the neck, and teach your child how to use the whistle. Three short blasts with a short pause in-between is the international distress signal with a whistle. A whistle is more efficient than screaming in the forest.
  • Have a little survival kit for your children that they must wear at all times when you are out camping in the woods. If one of your children gets lost, in the kit there are some emergency items that can be used to help out. Have a look here for more information on the kit.
  • Teach the child to be calm, that it will be alright and that they will be found if ever they are lost. Avoid details that may be traumatic for a little child when trying to explain to them the reasons to avoid getting lost.
  • Teach them not to hide, but to be 'big'. They must be visible to rescuers. Teach them some ground to air signals as well.
  • Teach them not to be afraid of the animals.
  • Have an imprint of the soles of the boots or shoes that your child wears. That would immensely help SAR personnel if they needed to track your child. This should always be done with young children even if only for the family camping trip out in the woods.

If you train your children and equip them, they will be equipped and empowered. This will greatly enhance their probability of survival and permit them to return home safely to you.


I felt sad at the idea of a little child alone out there while writing the last paragraph above. It would be far worse for a parent.


In my humble opinion, children need to be trained in emergency survival just as we do, except that you give them what they are able to receive as they grow up. Keep it simple.


An important urban survival skill would be to teach them to call 911 in a time of emergency. Have a look here for more information.

Photo Credits

Little girl face by Steve Hillebrand, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Resources

Survival Training for Kids Part 1- Clothing Treatment Tips and Tricks

EmergencyPortal here, AVOID THE CAMO!! Use the right colors on little children!

Dressing them up to look cute won't save them out there if they get lost. Use reflective material as well.

The little girl from top to bottom was in camouflage including her backpack so that was a concern for me, but the guy in the video around 10:10 or so at least briefly mentions bright colors for clothing to make it easier to see the children in the woods.

Make it easy for search and rescue to find them. This isn't the army.

Quote from Children's Wilderness Survival Kit Page

"The items in the kit should be considered a minimum, and you may desire to place a few more things in it. Please remember to teach your child what to do and what not to do in the event your child gets separated and lost, because even with a kit, it will require proper thinking from your child to know what to do with it etc.


So practice, practice, practice! It must become so simple for your child to remember the basic instructions provided. During an emergency your child will, just like an adult, have difficulty remembering things so practice IS required in order for it to 'stick' in your child's memory.


Think about it this way, is it more difficult to remember a person's name while you are stressed or while you are calm? Also, if you are stressed, is it easier to remember the name of someone who's name you know very well or the name of someone you know very little?


Why is it you will remember the name of the person you know well? It is because you have 'practiced' it many, many times and under various conditions that it has become like 'muscle memory'. It is automatic, in that you do not have to think and use your higher mental faculties which take a hit under stress and an adrenaline rush through the stress of an emergency.


When you calm down, your memory will start to come back and your ability to think straight will be enhanced. This is a reason for the S.T.O.P acronym. Stop Think Observe and Plan. Stopping gives you time to get your head screwed on right so that you can make good decisions, and the same goes for your children as well. So again, practice!"