As most of us gear up for survival, sometimes it’s easy to forget about equipping the kids in our lives. And we shouldn’t be forgetting about them, because they can be the most vulnerable members of any group.

But what kind of gear can the little ones handle? The answer depends heavily on their age, and their knowledge. This brings us to the next important questions:

  • How mature are the kids in both age and development?
  • And how much have you already trained them in survival?

For The 5 – 8 Year Olds

This group is surprisingly tough. When you look at survival scenario statistics, this group usually fares better than the next older group. The leading explanation for this is the fact that these little guys are young enough to still rely on their instincts. If they get thirsty, they drink from a puddle. If they get cold, they burrow into leaves. Of course they can’t be expected to handle dangerous survival gear, or serious first aid supplies, but they can carry enough gear to assist with their own rescue – should they ever fall into an outdoor emergency.

Before you go on your next wilderness adventure, hunt or day hike, you can set up this age group with a “survival necklace”, upon which dangles a loud whistle and a small LED flashlight. You can also stuff their pockets with granola bars, and try to make them wear an extra layer (good luck with that).
For The 9 – 12 Year Olds**

The older kids are usually wiser than their younger counterparts. But that doesn’t always help them. They have learned that things in the water can make them sick, so they don’t drink anything. They might know that spiders and snakes can be venomous and these animals blend into the leaves. So the kids will shy away from snuggling into leaf piles for shelter. Simply put, they know just enough to get into trouble, but they don’t know enough to get out of trouble.

This group could certainly benefit from the necklace and other gear that the younger kids need. You could also train them in basic first aid, fire building and various forms of signaling. Equip them with the gear for first aid, a lighter and other signal devices beside the whistle (such as a mirror, light sticks, etc.).
The Teenagers**

This group should be counted as adults in most matters of survival, with training and equipment similar to adult levels. Statistically, they don’t fare any better or worse than adults in the “average” outdoor emergency.

Set your teens up like any adult, by giving them survival kits, first aid, signal gear and whatever else you deem appropriate for their maturity and the nature of your trip.

And regardless of the age of the kids under your watch – make sure they know to stay put and blow that whistle if they become lost or separated from the group.

Please tell us about the safety and survival gear that your kids carry, by leaving us a comment below.