Have a Communication Plan
You hope the kids won't be out of your sight in the wilderness, but you should still have plan for handling communication, no matter their ages. After all, Jared Ropelato wasn't a toddler, but a 12-year-old. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Tell the Neighborhood: Before you leave on your trip, tell someone "back home" where you're going, when you're due back and who is with you. This is critical because you need to have someone who knows when you're due to return, especially if your immediate family is all together.
- Whistle a Happy Tune: Cell phones don't always work in nature, but whistles are easy to use and actually carry further than the human voice. Arm each family member with a whistle, and teach emergency codes before the trip. Three loud blows is the universal signal for help. Two whistles can be a code for kids to let you know they hear you and are close by.
- Implement the Buddy System: As early as toddlerhood, we're taught to hold hands and have a buddy. When camping, this is key, even for adults. Make sure everyone has one or two people to stick with.
- Don't Leave the Cell Phone Behind: Although the signal may be sketchy, bring your cell phone just in case you do get reception. (The text feature may work even if you can't make a call). Hand-held radios or satellite phones are also other options.