The PreparaMom Guide to Family Hikes

The PreparaMom Guide to Family Hikes

As a former scout and medic and a current fire captain, I love getting outdoors and hiking. I’ve had so many personal backpacking and camping adventures. Now, I’m happy to share my passion with my family. We try to get out at least once a week for family hikes. Lately, we’ve noticed an increase in those we see hiking, both on the trails alongside us and sharing their pics on social media. 

If you’re new to hiking or just looking for some reassurance that you are prepared for anything on the trail, we’re here for you! We’re sharing tips for planning and packing for family hikes and what to do if something goes wrong. We hope you learn something new here. Remember, everyone has to start somewhere! 

5 Things to Consider When Planning Family Hikes

a group enjoys family hikes

Pick a trail that is age appropriate for your kids. 

Younger kids may like trails that are more scenic and flat. If your kids are older, they may be up for the challenge of going on more adventurous family hikes. If you have young children and older ones, you can use a backpack style kid carrier for your younger kiddos and still hit those more challenging trails. 

But where do I find these trails? Fear not! 

There are countless resources on the internet if you just search “best hiking trails for kids (insert location here).” I use an app called AllTrails. It gives ratings provided by other users based on difficulty level, scenery, and any other notable particulars.

Pack a first aid kit. 

Your first aid kit for the average family hikes doesn’t have to be an all out apocalyptic survival bag. It just needs the basics, like bandages of different sizes, antiseptic wipes, anti-itch cream, and antibiotic wipes. 

If you’re going on longer hikes,  consider adding a whistle and signaling mirror to call for help if needed, iodine tablets for water, and moleskin for blisters. You can shop our take-along first aid kits right here

Bring plenty of water and snacks. 

This one is really important. There are different varieties of water carrying options. You can use a water bottle, water bladder, or even a water backpack. The key is to continually hydrate throughout your hike rather than chugging it when you take a rest or make it to the summit. 

Ideally, you should be drinking small sips every 15-20 minutes. You may want to drink more often in higher elevations and when the weather is colder. It’s a good idea to bring some electrolyte packets or sports drinks, too, but be mindful of the sugar content of some of those sports drinks.

taking a water break during family hikes

Don’t forget your maps and/or GPS. 

Most mobile phones have GPS and mapping apps that will keep track of your location while you’re out and about. Like I mentioned above, we prefer to use an app called AllTrails, but there are some other great ones, too. If you’re in a remote area with no cell service, you can still use GPS or a good ‘ole-fashion paper map and compass. Knowing your exact location will help you summon emergency services if needed.

You’ll need sunscreen and bug protection. 

Sunscreen is important even if you feel like you’re being shaded. It’s especially important on open trails with no natural sun protection. Make sure you’re using the appropriate sunscreen for your skin type.

When it comes to bug protection, we prefer to use products with a picaridin or DEET. Those products seem to be more effective. There are even some outdoor clothing manufactures who impregnate the fabric with picaridin!

Dress appropriately and be prepared for any changes in weather. 

Before you head out, make sure you take a look at the weather forecast. There are many times you may start out on a hot sunny day and then it starts raining on you. This occurs quite frequently in higher elevations. 

Good sturdy shoes are a must. If you’re just heading out for an easy day hike on a flat trail any closed toe shoe will do (this goes for the kiddos too if they’re walking). Who knows when you or your kids will unintentionally kick a rock…OUCH! 

If you’re going for a longer or more challenging hike, good shoes are a must. Speaking of musts, good socks prevent blisters. I use wool socks or a synthetic derivative such as Smartwool.

4 Things to Have on Hand. pin image for the preparamom guide to family hikes

  1. Snacks for the kids. Make sure it’s something they really like!
  2. Binoculars to look at nature without getting too close.
  3. A notebook with crayons or colored pencils. This is a great activity for kids who like to draw and journal their findings on their hiking adventure. Many state and national parks have junior ranger programs. They have activity books and scavenger hunts so that your kids can earn their junior ranger badge.
  4. A good size, comfortable backpack. For me, I do not skimp on the backpack. Since I’m usually the one carrying everything, I want to be comfortable. There are also hydration backpacks and options to add a water bladder to your existing pack.

3 Common Hiking Injuries and How to Treat Them. 

Scrapes or abrasions: 

The most common are scraped knees and elbows when you or your child trip on the trail. The best thing to do is use water to rinse out any dirt or debris in the wound, place an antibacterial ointment on, and an appropriately sized bandage. The key is to thoroughly clean and scrub out the wound with soap and water when you get back home.

Deeper cuts: 

You certainly can receive deeper cuts when on family hikes. It can be from a fall or from scraping a sharp rock or a branch. The best thing is to keep them clean until you can get more advanced care. 

If you receive a deeper cut that requires stitches, first rinse it out with clean water and remove any larger debris. Apply antibiotic ointments to the area and cover it with clean bandages or dressing. You can use skin glue with a combination of steri-strips (wound closure strips) to seal up the wound if you’re not close and able to quickly receive advanced medical help.

bandaging and injury sustained during family hikes

Bug and animal bites: 

Generally most small bug bites are not serious unless you have an allergy to them. For most, it’ll just be redness to the area, minor swelling, and itchiness. Those can be treated with some ice packs and anti-itch cream to the area. You can consider some antihistamines as well. 

If the person that you’re treating starts developing more serious signs and symptoms of an allergy like decreased or altered mental status, difficulty breathing, tongue swelling, or hives all over the body, they need immediate medical assistance. Call 911 or find a way to get help immediately. 

There are animals and bugs that are dangerous to humans and they vary from region-to-region. You need to be aware and research what they look like before heading out. That way you can avoid them or know what to do if you get bit by one.

Hopefully you’ve found this guide to family hikes easy to use and super informative! If you’re looking for more info on common kid emergencies, check out our FREE handbook for moms! And don’t forget to grab a PreparaKit if you don’t already have one. 

Happy Hiking!

Active Shootings: How to Prepare to Save Your Family’s Life

Active Shootings: How to Prepare to Save Your Family’s Life

Active Shootings: How To Protect Your Family's Life - PreparaMom

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It’s a sad but true reality – active shootings. While we can debate how we got to this place, what’s most helpful right now is learning how you can be prepared to save you and your family’s life. 

Imagine you’re out at the mall, department store, or park. You’re going about your day and checking off lists, watching your kids play or enjoying time in a movie. Suddenly you hear what sounds like firecrackers but followed by screaming and panic. Your reality just changed. You’re in an active shooter situation.

What do you do next?

Three options for dealing with an active shooter situation:



  • Try to escape the area as quickly as possible. When you go into an area, be aware of at least two exit routes and have an escape plan in mind. 
  • Be committed to escaping regardless if others refuse to get out
  • Help others escape if possible
  • Keep your hands up and visible if you encounter law enforcement
  • Call 911 when you are in a safe area


  • If you can’t escape, find a location where the active shooter is less likely to find you
  • Your hiding place should be out of view
  • Provide protection from gunfire if possible (brick, concrete, cinder block wall)
  • Use an office or room with a locked door. Use heavy furniture or office equipment to block the door.


If the active shooter is nearby, 

  • Turn off the lights
  • Silence your cell phone or any other source of noise (TV, radio, etc.)
  • Be silent

If possible, call 911 and alert the dispatcher where the shooter’s location is. If you cannot talk, leave the line open to allow the dispatcher to listen.

Remember, you may have to hide for hours until law enforcement secures the threat. 



  • As a last resort, only fight when you cannot hide and your life and/or your family are in imminent danger. 
  • Act as aggressively as possible and fully commit to your actions 
  • Improvise weapons using items around you (fire extinguishers, chairs, etc.)


Law enforcement that arrives first on the scene have the primary job of eliminating the threat, it is unfortunately not to render help. They must stay focused on the situation and work to end the threat as soon as possible. 

Help will come as more first responders arrive. It’s an unfortunate reality that we are faced with these situations but being aware of your surroundings and having a plan of action will help you survive. Take a look at this video made by the City of Houston, TX that reviews that same 3 tips for active shooter survival. 



Active Shooter Safety Resources:


Safety Guidelines for Armed Subjects, Active Shooter Situations, Indiana University Police Department, April 2007

Safety Tips & Guidelines Regarding Potential “Active Shooter” Incidents Occurring on Campus, University of California Police

Shots Fired, When Lightning Strikes (DVD), Center for Personal Protection and Safety, 2007

The Who, What, and Why of PreparaKit.

The Who, What, and Why of PreparaKit.

Meet the founders of PreparaKit, Marian & David Nguyen.  Using their personal experience as parents to two young children as well as being healthcare professionals, they started PreparaKit in 2016 with one main goal in mind…to help moms be prepared to handle everyday kid emergencies so that they can have more peace of mind in their pocket.

This nurse and firefighter wife/husband team duo knew how important the safety of kids are to parents in general and how easily kids can get themselves hurt in a blink of an eye.  As parents, they understand the day to day struggles and the idea of always being ready for anything is not always at the forefront of their minds.


After assessing the current marketplace, they found that they could fill a void by creating first aid kits specifically for moms.  They not only wanted to create kits that were fully functional but also cute and fun to carry around. Features such as being simple, easy to use, organized, and portable with supplies tailored to the day to day emergency needs of little ones were all thoughtfully incorporated.

They just didn’t stop at the standard features.  They wanted to address the importance of the individual supplies being used that weren’t in a lot of the generic kits that were being offered.  Things like being latex-free and using fabric bandages instead of plastic so that it’s more comfortable for the little kiddos. Even down to having fun stickers and cartoon character bandages to put a smile on the kids faces.

As a family oriented/owned business, there’s nothing more fulfilling than to know they have been able to contribute to the safety and well-being of countless families.  Making sure they continue to provide high quality products and excellent service to the PreparaKit family is their utmost priority.

Meet the founders of PreparaKit, Marian & David Nguyen.  Using their personal experience as parents to two young children as well as being healthcare professionals, they started PreparaKit in 2016 with one main goal in mind…to help moms be prepared to handle everyday kid emergencies so that they can have more peace of mind in their pocket.

My Most Horrifying Playground 911 Call

My Most Horrifying Playground 911 Call

Parks and playground structures are an essential part of parenting life.  Not only is it a place you can take your kids to go hang out so that they aren’t cooped up inside all day long but it’s also a place that is FREE and the kids love it.

It’s also the perfect place to have a playdate.  Kids can run around with each other and the moms can socialize.

The only downfall to being at the park is actually what makes the park so fun…the play structures.  There’s an injury waiting to happen at every park.

And as a 20-year firefighter/paramedic, I can only recall a small handful of 911 calls at a park or playground that actually were serious.  Most of which were the result of someone doing what they shouldn’t have been doing.

For example, this most serious 911 call I responded to that I will never forget…

“A 5-year-old child climbed above the monkey bars. He was pretending that he was walking a tightrope across a “sea of lava”. He lost his balance while walking and fell through the monkey bar handles. He hit his head twice on the way down. Once on the handles and the second on the ground. It was about a 6 to 8-foot fall.

When we got there, the child was unresponsive. Any first responder can attest to feeling very scared when approaching a child that is quiet. This child presented with agonal and snoring respirations. In other words, he was barely breathing. He had a small amount of blood coming from his ears which indicated a skull fracture and his pupils were unequal. Everything summed together meant major head trauma.

We started breathing for him by placing a tube down his throat and secured him to a board to ensure there was no further injury to his spine. Unfortunately, his spine was the least of our concerns. We loaded him up in the ambulance and off we went to the trauma center. He had multiple seizures in the back of the ambulance in which we had to give him anti-seizure medications for. We fought hard for his life, but unfortunately his tiny brain could not handle the amount of force inflicted on it”.

There’s not much the average person without medical training can do for someone with a head injury. Prevention is the key for head injuries. From a medical professional who has seen one too many accidents, please keep a mindful eye on your children when they are playing in and around the playground.

If your child has a head injury, keep an eye for any headaches, visual disturbances, balance issues, nausea, or they are slow to respond and seek medical attention as soon as you can.

Another 911 pediatric call that was also critical but luckily had a positive outcome was for a child on a school playground…

“A 10 year old student with a known allergy to bee stings got stung while playing on the school playground during recess. The school staff had an Epi-Pen provided by the child’s parents. The staff promptly administered the Epi-Pen and the child’s allergic reaction subsided.

They called the parents who were on the way to the school. While waiting, the child went into another allergic reaction. Come to find out, the bee stinger was still in place injecting venom into the child.

911 was then called. When we got there, the child was trying to breathe, but couldn’t. She had tears of fright running down her face as she fought for her own life. Her airway was rapidly closing and she was going into respiratory (breathing) failure.

As always, we worked rapidly and gave her 2 additional doses of medication and put a tube down her throat to help her breathe and prevent her airway from completely closing.

We loaded her up in the ambulance and drove code 3 (aka super fast!) to the hospital. When we got to the emergency department, her symptoms had resolved and the hospital staff was able to remove her breathing tube that I had placed.

Her mom had met her at the hospital. They reunited at the bedside and they both hugged and cried. I couldn’t help but tear up seeing this happy mother and daughter moment.

AND this is why I do what I do”.

The points to take away from this story is to have an Epi-Pen with you if there’s a known allergic reaction. Call 911 or seek immediate medical attention even with an Epi-Pen as their airway can close quickly and will cause respiratory failure.

I’ve had a number of severe allergic reactions from bee stings and being exposed to different allergens. Many people carry Epi-Pen which is definitely a life saver, but they still need medical care. The Epi-Pen is only meant for the quick immediate action but will wear out after 5 mins.

Now on the flip side, there are definitely very minor injuries that happen all the time at the playground.

Here are some typical scenarios that I’m sure most of you have come across at one time or another, and if you haven’t, be prepared…

  1. Kids are running too fast, trip over an uneven pavement, fall and scrape their knees and hands.
  2. Your child is climbing the play structure, fall and breaks an arm.
  3. A bunch of kids are playing chase with one another and one of them twists and sprains his ankle
  4. Parks with wooden play structures or wooden benches means one thing, splinters in the fingers.
  5. Kids riding their bikes, hit a bump and lose control of their biKid Fallke, fall down and end up with a huge gash on their leg from their leg getting caught between the pedals.

These are all very easy to manage injuries that any mom or dad can easily handle if they make sure they always have a good first aid kit on hand.

There’s nothing like having your child run up to you with a bleeding cut on their finger and you have no way to stop it.

Take Along First Aid Kit – Kid Joy




Which is why we have put together our handy Take Along First Aid Kit that fits perfectly in a diaper bag or purse without taking up much room.  It has all the basic essentials that you will need to treat all those pesky minor injuries that the kids t

end to get themselves into. We make it easy to be prepared.

All in all, the playground is a very safe place and it’s ultimately up to the parents to make it safe for their children. In most things involving children, prevention is everything. Things like wearing safety equipment (i.e. helmets) and good ole supervising (making sure they’re not doing what they shouldn’t by doing).

I recommend to all parents to take a first aid and CPR class for kids. It’s a very good class that will give the knowledge, skills and abilities to be able to handle the everyday “small emergencies” and confidence to handle more serious emergencies.





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