Keeping Kids from Getting Lost
It’s everyone’s worst nightmare. When a child is lost in the woods, it’s terrifying situation for everyone. But there are things you can do to teach your child how to react if they get lost, things that will help them be found. These can be life savers!
Teach Your Child to Hug a Tree
Use the guide put out by the Hug-A-Tree and Survive Program to teach your child what to do if they’re lost. The main lesson is to stay put and wait for searchers to find them. LINK
Whenever your child goes out alone, load a fanny pack with a safety whistle and a large plastic garbage sack. If they get lost, they can use the whistle to alert rescuers (its sound carries farther than a child’s voice) and use the plastic bag as a windbreaker. Practice tearing a hole in a bag and putting it on, so they know how to do it.
Point out Landmarks
If your child likes to explore the woods, take the time to point out landmarks—roads, high rocks, tall hills—that can help them keep their bearings. Older children can learn to make their own maps or carry maps of the area. And if you’re in a cell phone coverage area, you might give them a phone to carry.
Call the Police
If you think your child is lost, don’t delay in calling the police or sheriff. Ask for a search and rescue team. It’s important that the rescuers get to work right away. With every hour your child is lost (and possibly moving), the search area expands, making the rescuers’ jobs harder. Even if your child comes back, a cancelled search and rescue call lets the volunteers get out and practice. They’ve volunteered for this duty because they want to keep kids safe, so don’t hesitate to call on them.
Be Available for Interviewing
Clues can help rescuers bring a child home safely. If you’re willing to share anything you know, it will help the search. The police will keep personal information confidential.
Information provided by the Hug-A-Tree and Survive Program