Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Safe Hiking Hawaii with Kids

Kids are well-suited to staying safe in most circumstances on trails in Kauai, as this young boy demonstrates with the time-tested butt-slide on the Kalalau Trail in Kauai. Closer to the ground, children are less likely to do damage with a face plant than their taller parents.

And some dangers are obvious, like drop-offs at cliffs with railings, like this one at the Awa'awapuhi Trail also on Kauai.

But other hazards are not so obvious, so parents should be aware of situations leading to accidents, which sadly are fatal all-too-often somewhere in the islands.

1. Stay on the trail. Mountain and jungle trails are usually bordered by tufts of greenery that look like solid ground, but are actually disguising thin air that will lead in a free fall. On flat ground, it's very easy to get lost when wandering from a trail.

2.  Stay back from the surf line at the beach and on coastal trails. Being swept from the land is very possible. Don't venture along wet rocks or reef at the shoreline, and stay back from the foam line at the beach. Of course, these hazzards pretty much go away when surf in down. Always keep and eye on the waves; you can usually flee if you see one coming.

3. Don't swim in fresh pools beneath a waterfall, where rocks fall with the water.  Watch for stream contamination signs.

4. No running on mountain trails. Trails are rooty and uneven, and often slick after rains. Kids might take a good bump, or, worse, fall from the trail.

5. Most parents know this one: Keep the children within sight, and within hearing distance.

The Trailblazer guides for each of the Hawaiian Islands have special sections for families. Includes are hikes, safe beaches and kid friendly attractions and restaurants.''