As a CO native, hiking Fourteeners in the summer is a favorite activity of mine. I'm excited to introduce my one-year-old to an easy one this summer (carrying him in a baby backpack, of course), but am a bit concerned about him and altitude sickness. Should I be?
Submitted by - Laura - Denver, CO
Small children don't provide much specific info to us when they aren't adjusting to altitude. They tend to sleep less well, eat less well--and they may show signs of unusual irritability. Later kids will complain of nausea more often and vomit more often than adults who have not fully acclimatized to altitude. Those things would make me head for lower elevations.
Kids, however, will acclimatize, as adults do, when the ascent is slow enough for acclimatization to fully occur. For children above 8000 feet, I recommend keeping the altitude gain at which you sleep at between 1000 and 1500 feet per 24 hours. As far as going up and coming right back down, your small child should be fine--as long as you are. Keep an eye on both of you.