Must-have safety items to have with you on walking trails

Happy spring, fellow mamas! Everything is blooming. The weather is great. And that means it’s time to hit the trail with our little ones.

I know we’re always thinking of our babies’ safety, but you may not think of the trail as a particularly dangerous place. A few years ago, I was attacked, beaten and strangled on a local trail. Ever since, I’ve been passionate about self defense items small enough and discrete enough to take with you on your average run or walk, even when your kids are with you.

This time of year I take my boys out on the trail with me every day. If you pass me on the trail, I’ll always have one or more of these products on me or in my stroller compartments:

  1. A can of pepper spray hidden by an athletic glove

Of all my items, I love this one most. A couple sweet friends of mine purchased this handy little thing from Damsel in Defense On the surface, it simply looks like any old athletic glove that you would wear at the gym or on a run. But its advantage is this stretchy band sewn into the palm side just big enough for a can of pepper spray. The placement allows the pepper spray to fit easily in the crook of your hand and stay there without having to constantly grip it—that way you can still push the stroller or whatever you need to do. The can of pepper spray that comes with it has a tab that goes from safety lock to use with an easy slide of your thumb that feels natural. It’s something you could do reflexively, unlike pressing a button or opening a top. Click here for more info on the pepper spray glove.

  1. An emergency protection alarm

Mine is slender gray thing about the size of an Apple TV remote. It fits perfectly for my admittedly small hands and has a handy little wrist strap. Hitting its large button emits a loud sound that makes it easier for others to find you in an emergency. A tiny button up top operates a flashlight, which is a nice help when you’re getting into your vehicle at night. Some models come on a keychain instead of a wrist strap. This is a great gift not just for runner mamas, but the students and other young women in your life. My book club gifted this one to me. They went with the Vigilant Personal Protection System, but there are other similar brands on the market. Click here for more info on the Vigilant Emergency Protection Alarm.

  1. An expandable baton

This is the least conspicuous of my items. It’s about eight and a half inches long at its smallest and weighs 1.2 lbs. I only take it with me if I’m running with the stroller so that I can set it down in its cup holder. My husband purchased this when a neighbor adopted an aggressive pitbull who repeatedly charged at me and my toddler. He wanted something that could fit into the outer pocket of my diaper bag and could easily go with us wherever we were. He reasoned that it would also be effective if we ever got into a bad situation on the trail. (I concur, I wouldn’t mess with someone who had one of these…) Click here for more info on this expandable baton.

If none of these options feel comfortable or right to you, a quick google search will lead you to a variety of other options, such as those by Self Defense Planet for stun flashlights, dog chasers, scratching tools, emergency apps and more.

Be safe out there!

April Wallace is a stepmom to one smart, funny teenager, mama to two beautiful and curious baby boys and wife to a very kind and generous man. She spent the past decade as a news reporter, sometimes lifestyle writer, and recently left her job at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette to be with her babies while they’re still babies. When she gets a few minutes to herself, April loves to run local trails and read fiction.