Top 5 Safety Reminders When Camping with Kids
Remember when you were a kid how everything was so new and exciting and the greatest activity in the world was to go outdoors by yourself and explore? I do. It seemed as if each new flower or bug or tree provoked marvelous thoughts, as if I were the first person ever to lay eyes upon such wondrous things.
Mark Twain reminds us that “There comes a time in every rightly constructed boy’s life that he has a raging desire to go somewhere and dig for hidden treasure.” Kids love to explore!
Most kids today get outdoors a lot less than previous generations so you can imagine the wonderment they experience when they go into wooded or other natural areas. Since their concept of danger isn’t fully developed, parents should take an active role in introducing their children to the perils of camping.
Top 5 Safety Reminders Every Parent Should be Aware of:
All camping experiences are different. Factors like location, time of year, ages of your children, and even your budget make a difference. From cooking on the fire pit to swimming in the lake, no matter what you do while camping, you can always plan for the top five safety categories.
Because of the variety of outings families take each year, we should talk about each one of these important areas of safety. As an active camper for many years, I have seen and learned a lot and I hope my experiences will help you and others.
Check your first aid kit. Make sure you update anything that is expired and that you have ample supplies of things kids need (band aids, ointment, disinfectant, tweezers, etc.).
If your children are on medication be sure to pack them safely. The same goes for eyeglasses. You might even want to bring a spare pair just in case they break or lose the ones they are wearing.
Let’s face it, kids are going to get dirty and probably wet, so take along plenty of dry clothes. Once, when camping with friends, their kids went swimming in a lake with their clothes on. One of them nearly got hypothermia that night because he didn’t have dry clothes to change into.
Kids also need a lot of water when they play in the hot sun all day. It’s a parent’s job to make sure they drink plenty of water.
Just like the need for water, kids also need to lather up with copious amounts of sunscreen. Don’t be shy, paint it on like Tom Sawyer whitewashing Aunt Polly’s fence. They’ll thank you later in life.
Check the forecast before you leave home and bring the right clothes. Rain jackets or sun hats? Sandals or earmuffs? It may seem funny, but many times I have left the warmth and sunshine of the valley only to find freezing temperatures and even snow in the middle of summer at high mountain campgrounds.
Everyone in your family, including children, should have their own backpack and each one needs a few essential safety items.
• Whistle for signaling of lost. The shrill sound of a whistle carries a lot further than a human voice, especially in wind or rain.
• Flashlights have a lot more uses than just that late night trip to the bathroom, but that’s darned important too. Make sure you replace the batteries regularly.
• Almost everyone has a cell phone these days. Bring them along.
• If you’re in an area without cell service, walkie talkies or Family Radio Service (FRS) radios are inexpensive. Some have a range of several miles and you can always stay in touch with your children.
• Slip a couple energy bars and a bottle of water into every backpack; they just might come in handy.
I’ll be the first to admit that some flowers and butterflies are so beautiful that I want to reach right out and touch them. Now put yourself in the mind of your child. Consider this list of objects to be cautious of.
• Poison Oak and Poison Ivy
• Fast flowing water (or any water source that could be dangerous)
• Plants with berries. Never eat wild plants.
• Animals can have sharp teeth or carry diseases.
• Ticks. Be sure to check for ticks or chiggers or other biting insects.
Talk with your children. Teach them about nature and the dangers hidden in its beauty. They don’t need to be afraid of everything they see, but they will be a lot safer once they have an understanding of their surroundings.
The possibilities here are almost endless for ways to keep your children safe. To be sure, you should let them be kids, just take reasonable precautions. Here are a few reminders that will apply to most camping trips.
• Always use caution around the campfire. I like to use a portable campfire which is very handy and is designed with safety in mind but still pose safety concerns for children. According to the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin 74% of all children’s camping injuries are related to campfires.
• Teach your youngsters how to fish. The proper use of knives and fishhooks is important.
• Always use the buddy system when swimming and avoid fast moving or cold water.
• Bring recent pictures and clothing descriptions of your children.
• Instill in them an awareness of stranger danger and the need to stay out of others’ campsites. It’s also very good etiquette.
• Set boundaries. Outline physical limits of where they can go—and never alone.
Memories That Last a Lifetime
Creating happy memories is one of the long lasting benefits of a family camping trip. By following these simple safety tips you will have those wholesome experiences that you and your children will cherish for the rest of your lives.
This is a guest post by Karen Ho Fatt, Karen makes her home near the Rocky Mountains. Her website showcases iron fire ring brands and other types of portable campfires to help you create a relaxing outdoors experience.
Author: Karen Ho Fatt
Edited By: CampTrip.com