How do you keep kids safe when hiking near or through water?
We all want to make sure our kids stay safe. So how do you balance teaching your children a healthy respect of the water, while still letting them enjoy the opportunities that water can provide?
- Check out the creek/river before bringing your children, it may help you plan for risks better. For example, we only go to the creek when my just over 1 year old can stay with my husband, because he is curious, but not ready.
- Before unleashing your children in the water, review safety rules with them
- No children near the water without a grown up. For us, one side of the trail is off limits because of cliffs and water. So they are not allowed to go off the trail on that side without a grown up.
- Kids always stay close to the grown up when we are in or near water.
- Help them find ways to learn to use their own judgement about rock steadiness, or slipperiness.
- Look for spots where the water is shallower than your child’s knees.
- Be sure there is little to no current.
- Dress appropriately, for us on a warmer day in the winter, the kids wear full rain gear with elastic leg holes – over their snow suits, with lined rubber boots.
- Let them explore, there is so much to do at the creek!!
Fear for your child’s safety is natural. However, if you don’t introduce some risky play to your young child, how will they learn to deal with fear.
Be safe about it, but with the right creek, water play is awesome.