Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tyke Hike

Get your Tyke Hike safety belt here!

The Tyke Hike Safety Belt is an innovative survival belt created to outfit your child with the tools they need in order to survive, should they become lost in the wilderness. While this belt is a functional day pack, it was designed with “hidden compartments” in the back of the bag. These compartments house all the gear your children would need to aid in their survival.

My sons have been hiking with me since they were tiny. My youngest son walked around the zoo with me at the age of one day old (he was in a sling under my coat). It was much easier to keep a close eye on them when they were little and could barely walk. Now, they both can run and seem to have an aversion to the main trail. While I love that they choose the "path less traveled," it makes me a bit uneasy.

We discuss staying put and using a whistle if lost, but this fanny pack from Tyke Hike gives more tools. I must say that it would be better for an older child, but I think it is good that my kiddos play with the tools. The more comfortable they are with the items and how to use them, the more likely they could use them if needed.

The pack has room for the child's water, snacks and a rolled up windbreaker in the main compartments. The hidden back area holds the survival items and there are a bunch! Here is the list: light stick, rain poncho, space blanket, trail markers, compass, whistle, and signal mirror.

I would do some preparation with the items before the child might need to use them. They are each in little bags that were a bit difficult to open. The signal mirror has a film to prevent scratching and needed to be removed. The light stick foil is a bit tricky as well. These fixes were easily completed and I was able to return everything back to the pack, ready to hopefully never be used!

There also is a little book with simple pictures to show which item to use. They made me smile, but I actually think that a young child could decipher that they should drink water if the sun is shining. Again, I think these situations need to be discussed and the book used for helping the child remember.

I really think this is a wonderful idea, if only to start a discussion about getting lost and survival. I have started talking to my two year old about blowing a whistle if he can't find me. We practiced this during our orienteering meets when we lost one of our team. He now loves to carry his whistle and compass (we will get into how to use that in a few years!)

Children learn through play and if you practice using these items, they will be more likely to use them. The discussions need to take place before your hike and don't need to be scary. A simple message of if you can't see me, sit in the middle of the path and blow the whistle can suffice for little ones. As they get older and increasingly independent, the discussion can turn to using the poncho to prevent hypothermia and the like.

I often have my child wear my Road Id bracelet with my name and information when out on a hike. I also have put my contact information (some use a business card) in his pocket as well. This will help return your adventurer to where he belongs! You could also laminated an information card and use a ring to attach it to the Tyke Hike pack.

I give the Tyke Hike my Alaskan Mom Approval as it helps kids explore, gain confidence in the outdoors, it opens important discussions on safety and lets children carry their own gear! The Tyke Hike normal retails for about $20.00, but currently is $14.95. Additionally, they can be used as fundraisers so you don't have to beg your family to buy yet another batch of cookie dough or roll of wrapping paper!

Get your Tyke Hike safety belt here!

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