Welcome to the Take Over Tuesday guest post series. I will be featuring posts by fellow bloggers and outdoors enthusiasts. Do you have some expertise or a great story to share? Consider submitting something to the Humans of the Outdoors series or contacting me directly.
This week’s feature is from Saskia Cameron of Sniff Outdoors. Saskia is a keen trekker, traveller, and since recently, a new mom. When she’s not spending time with her new daughter (which doesn’t happen too often these days!), you’ll find her experimenting with new recipes, planning her next trip abroad, and enjoying the great outdoors. Check her out on her blog, Sniff Outdoors, for more!
A Mom’s Guide to Surviving a Snake Bite
Most people will take this is a ‘duh!’ statement, but when you have children everything changes (trust me, as a new mom, I now really know!). Preparation has always been near the top of my priority list, but now that I have a daughter, it’s more important than ever. And when venturing to snake country, you need to take extra precautions.
While North American trekkers usually don’t have much to fear – there are only 8000 bites per year across the entire continent – it’s still important to be aware of the dangers and to have a plan in place. This handy infographic from Sniff Outdoors covers how to recognize venomous snakes, prevention tactics and what you should do if bitten. Scroll down to read more tips for encountering snakes with kids in tow.
If you’re planning on taking your kids out in an area that is known to have venomous snakes, I’ve put together a few additional tips that will come in handy:
Choose Wide and Popular Trails
When hiking with your kids, choose wider paths where it will be easier to spot any venomous snakes or other dangers. If you pick a busy place, the chances of a snake encounter are extremely small because snakes are not as likely to appear on a trail that is crowded, as they want to avoid humans.
Tell your children to stay away from the edges of the paths and to avoid areas with lots of rocks or high grass. Take precautions before sitting down for lunch or a break, ensuring there are no snakes in the vicinity. Be particularly mindful where your children place their hands and feet.
Prepare Your Children
Before you head out to the trail, give your child an introduction to snakes. For example, teach them that it’s important to stay at a safe distance at all times. Remember that children are inquisitive by nature, and they may want to get up close to a snake to take a better look, or even grab one to show it to you. Tell them they should not be afraid of snakes, but they do need to be respectful of them, they should not touch them, and to freeze and then slowly back away if they ever see one in the wild.
You should also practice some of the most common safety procedures that are applicable in any situation, making them almost second nature to your children. This leads to avoiding panic should an emergency occur, as everyone will know what to expect and what they should do should the worst happen.
Bitten? Here’s What to Do
If your child suffers a bite from a venomous snake, it’s important for you to remain calm to prevent panic from setting in. You need to contact 9-1-1 immediately, as your child will need to be hospitalized. If possible, and you’re at a safe distance, take a picture of the snake, but don’t try to catch it.
The key to this situation is ensuring your child remains as calm as possible. Use the usual tactics: distract them with stories, reassure them that you’re there for them and that you’re going to get them help, and talk to them in a soothing tone.
Before help arrives, your child should try and remain as still as possible. As per the recommendations in the infographic, remove any constricting clothing and avoid common techniques such as sucking venom or using bite kits.