As the sun comes out and the weather warms up, it’s time to get out into nature. Our partners at Pacific Crest Children’s Urgent Care polled the PMB community on a children’s health topic they’d like their medical team to cover, and “Wilderness Medicine” won by a landslide. As Portlanders get ready to hit the trails, here are three solid tips from the experts!
1) Be prepared.
Advice that has stood the test of time! You can check weather conditions online as you plan your weekend; the National Weather Service and other agencies share information about forecasts for storms as well as wildfires. The Oregon Department of Forestry and other state agencies have very thorough and accessible websites. Check with the ranger stations once you’re out on the road. They’ll have the best advice for hikes, fishing spots, and camping destinations. It is best to have a detailed and flexible plan for your days.
With kids, accounting for every detail – down to the snacks, rest times, and backup snacks – is always a good idea. When assembling a first aid kit, make sure you know how to use all of the items in it. You don’t need a complicated kit*, just one that is easy to use in a pinch. Make sure your kids have helmets and life jackets that fit, as well as plenty of sun protection options. If you take care of your checklist ahead of time, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy yourself alongside your kids.
2) There is no “i” in t-e-a-m
The solitude of a quiet trail is great, but with little ones, being in a group is safest. If you don’t have outdoorsy buddies (yet), check out groups like Hike It Baby to find folks with kiddos on the trails around you. You can also find like-minded adventurers in parents’ groups on Facebook and #hikingwithkids has over 120,000 followers in Instagram. Going with a group makes in more likely that if something unanticipated happens, like a sprained ankle, you and your child will be able to make it to safety quicker.
3) Explore with Experts
In the Pacific Northwest, we are lucky to be amongst outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds. Guided trips can be a great way for older kids to learn about more advanced skills, such as rafting and kayaking, while staying safe with a trained expert in the field. Next Adventure and other outdoors stores around town can point you towards companies that are helping people explore the Oregon wilderness.
Super Nature Adventures is a relatively new subscription service based in Portland that sends adventure packets for kids in the 4-10 year age range. These contain Adventure Maps (on waterproof paper!) and Field Guides to make the most of your family time outdoors. Trackers Portland is a great resource for outdoor education and survival skills for kids and adults alike. Nothing should replace a well-prepared parent, but adding an expert to your team can teach you new safety skills and help you get to know the best destinations for young adventurers.
* You can purchase a pre-made kit at pharmacies or wilderness stores. A simple DIY kit example: bandages, simple gauze, ACE bandage, baby wipes, antihistamine medication, acetaminophen or ibuprofen medication, and scissors.
If your kid encounters that sprained ankle we mentioned earlier, or has any other urgent medical needs, Pacific Crest Children’s Urgent Care is located in NE Portland and you can schedule your visit online at pacificcrestchildrens.com or by phone at 503-963-7963.