In the world of ever-growing dependency on technology, children spend more time in front of a gadget screen than in nature. Planning a trek or even a hike can be both educational as well as an adventure that your kids will enjoy.
There are many things that needs to be considered while trekking with kids, especially when trekking in remote or high altitudes. In fact, research shows that children are as prone to altitude sickness as adults while climbing at high altitudes. Furthermore the signs of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) in children are very hard to notice (the most common symptoms are headache, nausea, tiredness, loss of appetite and disturbed sleep).
Parents need to acknowledge that AMS may affect their children and take preventive measures, like acclimatization exercises and graded ascent/descent.
Children are also highly prone to getting hypothermia at higher altitudes where the temperature is lower. This is because they are physically smaller and lose body heat more quickly. Children are also constantly in danger of accidental injury due to their nature itself.
Discussed below are 5 things to remember when trekking with children.
1. Choose the appropriate trail for your children
While planning a trek with children, pick trails or routes that are below 3500 m to avoid AMS. Higher altitudes mean cold & remote locations where you and your child are more likely to suffer from AMS.
You can have a very fulfilling and rewarding trek whilst trekking below 3000 meters and some popular destinations are Poon Hill, The Royal Trek, Manohar Dada, Mustang Trek, Shivapuri National Park (hike trail), and more.
2. Create safety and health rules for your kids
Trekking involves frequent traveling and camping. Teach kids to only drink boiled water and make them wash their hands frequently. In addition to this, make sure your child has been immunized before you plan your trek.
Places like Nepal are beautiful trekking destinations, however there are some diseases that can be prevalent at routes which may affect your child’s health.
Establish ground rules about not wandering off, not running carelessly, not venturing close to drop-offs, and staying clear of animals. Engage them in conversations that are educational, like asking questions about the native flora & fauna.
3. Prepare food and drink purification arrangements
It is best to carry canned and packed food for the trek. A water-purifying travel cup and some neutralizing powder to remove the taste of iodine from purified water may also come in handy. It is necessary for children as well as adults to stay hydrated while trekking.
Pack snacks and trail mix for kids, and also encourage your kids to make it themselves. Hand sanitizers and sanitary wipes are also essential. Travelers diarrhoea is also common among children as well as adults while trekking, hence, proper sanitation habits and purifying arrangements are necessary.
4. Arrange transportation and porter arrangements for children
While traveling with kids, do not compromise: rent a comfortable car, or fly to your destination. If you are trekking long distances then porters can also be helpful to lighten your load.
5. Pack light and essential items that are easy to carry
Trekking involves walking for long periods of time. Add the fact that you’re travelling with children, and it can become a tedious experience. Try your best to only pack light clothes and essentials items.
Pack similar clothes for your child, but a little more because they need to be kept warmer. Don’t rely on renting local equipment for children. If possible take a few lightweight games or toys to engage kids.
Remember to pack medications, if any, that is prescribed to your child prior to the trip along with a first-aid kit for common injuries while trekking.
Planning on trekking in Nepal soon?
Swacon International Hospital is a member of The International Society of Travel Medicine, and offers a wide variety of services to prospective travellers in a hassle free one-stop manner.
Our team of medical experts at Swacon International Hospital have extensive experience with Travel Medicine and have provided consultations related to trekking for many years. We also provide expert paediatric consultations and treatment.
To book an appointment, please call us at +977-1-4478105 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.