hiking safety

Hiking with Kids and Safety: 15 Essential Tips


Going on a hiking expedition with your kids offers selfie-worthy moments and is preserved for posterity. Imagine clicking a picture of yourself along with your kid on a backpack with a wild moose! Kids can get a chance to see wildlife in their natural surroundings. And although these adventures can offer a deeper connection to nature, it’s important that safety is of utmost importance when hiking with kids.

best children's hikes

15 Safety Tips for Hiking with Kids

1. Bring Plenty of Food and Water

To make hikes kid-friendly, don’t forget to bring plenty of snacks and fluids. Hiking means lots of exercise for the little ones, and they will get hungry quickly. So you should pack food that will give energy quickly like energy bars or bananas. Also, in hot and humid weather, kids lose water easily through sweat. So they need to replenish water at around a liter every 3 hours. So make sure to them hydrated with water and juices. 


**Pro-tip: To avoid the kids getting dehydrated, make them stop, and take a sip of water every 10-15 minutes. Preferably carry drinking water. Try to arrange for a portable water filter or disinfectant tablets to purify drinking.

2. Chose an Appropriate Length Hike

Pick a hike that is short and interesting, so that the kids won’t get too tired. It can be a nature trail or a visit to a natural lake. Also, make a point to take regular breaks in children’s hikes. The kids can rest and also do some other things like paint, or read a book. Later, when the kid’s energy and stamina increases, you can always come back for longer hikes.

3. Prepare for All Weather Conditions

The weather outdoors can turn cold all of a sudden. So it is important to keep a jacket or a sweater in your kid’s backpack to keep them warm. You can carry a sleeping bag with you to tuck the kids if the weather turns bad. If you are in a mountain on a toddler hike, it is best to cover your little one in layers of warm clothing as the air can get cold at the drop of a hat. It is safe to carry a waterproof breathable parka in rainy seasons.

4. No Child Left Behind

Losing your kids in a hike is a parent’s worst nightmare. But you should be prepared for that eventuality. Before embarking on the hike, you should pack a note in your kid’s backpack giving your contact details. Also, you need to give him/her a whistle so that they can blow them if they are lost. If they are old enough, you can give them a map of the hike.


**Pro-tip: It is a good idea for the kids to wear bright colored clothes, as it will help to locate them easily.

5. Assess Your Child's Physical Fitness

Since most of these hikes are challenging, it’s important to be in a good physical condition is required. Every child has different fitness levels. If they have just started to hike, it is advisable to keep the distance short.

6. Protection from the Heat

When you plan your hike with kids in peak summer, it is wise to select a short, shady trek. You can also beat the heat by wearing a hat, light clothing and packing ample sunscreen.

children's hikes

7. Proper Footwear

If the kids are planning to go hiking with a heavy pack, you should give them a pair of sturdy boots. If you are hiking in hilly country, the soles of the shoes should be able to grip the rocks well. It is advisable to invest on the best shoes for toddlers and kids, in general, to make sure that they don’t slip on inclines. And if you are planning to cross streams, go for waterproof ones. Besides, hot and humid weather calls out for breathable shoes. These will make for good children’s hikes.

8. Baby Carriers

If want to take your small toddler on a hike, don’t forget to take baby carriers. Child carrier hikes are gaining popularity because it gives a chance for the baby to get outdoors. If you carry the baby in your arms, you are likely to get tired very soon. There is also a chance that the child might slip and fall on an inclined trail. There are a lot of baby carriers available in the market. It will support your back while carrying the baby and also keep you cool since their fabric enables the air to pass through.

9. Beware of Snakes

While on your expedition through a forest, be careful of snakes or any other poisonous insects. So if you are going for toddler backpack hikes, make sure not to leave them alone at any point in time.

10. Don't Fall off the Trail

If you are hiking in the hills, make sure that your kids walk in the middle of the trail. If they have to move aside to let someone pass, they should move away from the descent side and accidentally prevent them from falling off the trail. This can be useful in the best children’s hikes.

11. Carry the Essentials

If you are going on a mountain hike with your kids you should carry the following items to keep you safe-

  • A map

  • A compass

  • A headlamp or flashlight

  • Matches

  • Extra clothing

  • A knife

  • First-aid supplies

  • Extra food

  • Sunglasses and sunscreen


Some experts also suggest carrying a portable tent, especially if there are chances of getting stranded in rains.

hiking with kids

12. Charge Your Phone

Make sure to carry a fully charged cell phone. It might be life-saving if you are lost or, meet an accident. Apart from that, there are many apps available to make for funny children’s hikes.

13. Attend a Class

If the kids are old enough, they can attend a pre-hiking class, which will teach them how to use a compass, read a map, or set up an emergency shelter.

14. When to Go Hiking

Summer is the best time for going in for children backpack hikes to cool climes. If you are going to the mountains, it will also improve your child’s geography and knowledge of wildlife. They will also encounter a variety of plant life. 

15. How Far to Hike with Kids

The average length of a mountain hiking trail with kids aged six years and above is from 4 to 5 kilometers. If there is a clear spring, the children can wash their hands and feet in them. They will gaze at the fishes swimming playfully. And if you can hire an experienced guide, your kids can also learn about medicinal plants. 

While exploring the wild, you should never compromise on your kids’ safety. All these steps are essential for child-friendly hikes. Hence keep in mind the tips given above. And if you’re looking for COVID-19 specific hiking with kids safety tips, you can read that post here. Good Luck!

Do you have some fond memories of your hiking expedition with your kids? Let us know in the comments below.

Mark Black is a Wilderness Survival Instructor who has years of experience mapping heights through various mountains. His simple and minimalist guidelines ensure a risk-free trekking and hiking experience for one and all. He keeps his followers enthralled with a new expedition every time through his social media uploads. 

 Author’s Bio

Amalia Liberman is a wife and a mother of two as well as a novelist and writer, the author has been featured in Women’s Health magazine and also written different articles in lifestyle magazines. Her passions lead her to search out knowledge with all her searching and she doesn’t mind sharing her findings.

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4 Responses

    1. I’m so glad you found it helpful. And yes, ‘practice makes perfect’. Being outside and exploring nature together has been sooo good for us!

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