GUEST POST - For Wilderness and Urban Safety: Attach a Whistle to Your Child

A missing five-year-old boy was rescued Thursday from an Oregon State Park after an overnight search. The boy,  Isaak Glenn, had apparently wandered off while the family was setting up camp. Isaak was found in some thick underbrush near the top of a high ridge not far from the ocean. Once he realized he was lost, the boy stayed put and waited to be rescued. (Read the complete story by clicking on:  Missing child found)

Isaak had followed the first rule of safety upon realizing he was lost: Isaak stayed put. Instead of wandering around, and thereby expanding the area needing to be searched, Isaak spent the night in some bushes.
While he did everything right, a whistle might have helped Isaak get found sooner. To keep your child safe in the wilderness, the proper training (like Isaak apparently had), and a whistle, may be the most important tools.

I carry a whistle at all times on my keyring. For an easily-carried auditory signaling device, there is nothing better. A whistle blast is not normal: People tend to look in the direction where the noise came from.
Shouting for help during an emergency will last as long as your voice does. (Remember Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet floating on that door after the ship went down in “Titanic“?) Screaming, whooping and hollering won’t carry as far as a shrill whistle, and may be mistaken for something other than a call for help.

In an urban situation where everyone is talking and making noise, a whistle can cut through the background din to draw attention in your direction. (And here’s an interesting survival scenario:  If you end up in a dark movie theater and the lights go out completely, whoever has a flashlight instantly becomes a leader! If you also  use a whistle, you will be viewed as the person in charge.)

A good safety practice is to attach a whistle to every child on every outing. (My kids are so used to this. Even when my 14-year-old daughter goes to the mall, a whistle Classic Safety Pink Whistle is clipped to her backpack. If she feels threatened or in danger, she has been trained to blow it, wherever she might be!)

Here are some whistle safety rules to teach your child:
  • The whistle is not a toy. Never blow the survival whistle for fun, and only use it if you’re lost.
  • In an Urban or wilderness situation, don’t move around once you think you’re lost.
  • Stay in one place and blow a series of three blasts. This is the universal distress signal.
  • After you blow the three blasts, wait awhile, and blow another series. Searchers may be trying to signal back, and you won’t hear them if you blow continually.
  • If  lost in a crowd, stay in one place and blow three blasts on your whistle. Keep doing this regularly until you are found.
* A really good wilderness safety reference book for parents  is “I Sit and I Stay”. In the book, author Leah L. Waarvik gives whistle-training and other safety tips for kids if  they get lost outdoors.

For more related tips and stories, click on the highlighted words:

Guest Post by Leon Pantenburg
Survival Common Sense

Copyright 2010 


Leon Pantenburg said...

Where is your follow button? I want to become a follower!

Bob said...
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Roxanne said...

Leon, just go to "Subscribe via Email" on the right hand sidebar and enter your email address and/or if you are a Google member, go to "Follow with Google". Thank you for your interest!!

Anonymous said...

About half a dozen of the links do not work. discouraging!