Child Safety (and Fun!) Tips on Camping Trips
Camping is a favored vacation outing for families. It brings everyone closer together without everyday distractions. Camping is a great experience to make fond childhood memories. As a parent, your role is to make the best memories as much as possible. Of course, there’s always the inevitable and accidents do happen.
Parents must be prepared to protect their cubs and play mama and papa bears. That means educating and guiding your child on the right thing to do. With kids, safety is first and foremost! To avoid unnecessary harmful incidences to your child during your family camping trip, here are child safety camping tips to follow along with ways to making it fun!
#1. Safety Basics
Needless to say, these rules should already be familiar to your children. Nevertheless, as a parent you should remind them of these basic safety rules when camping:
- Stay away from sharp objects: Notify your child that camping gear are not toys. Your child may get confused with camping gear as a toy since they are designed to be smaller and perfectly sized for a child.
Don’t go too close or play with fire. Open fires always pose a danger. If they’re allowed to create smores, alert your children to keep a safe distance.
- Avoid talking to or accepting anything from strangers: Your campsite may be in proximity to another campsite. Be respectful to your temporary neighbors, but let your kids know to not be readily friendly to them. This may welcome unwarranted behavior from a possible creepy camping neighbor.
- Wash your hands before handling or eating food: Preventing food illnesses can be tricky outdoors. While your children are aware of washing their hands, make sure they wash their hands using a safe water source.
- Don't eat anything off the ground or a plant: Children love to pick plants and flowers. Alert your child that touching them can result to poison ivy or an allergic reaction. Protect your child in advance by dressing them in long sleeve layers and pants.
- Keep hydrated: Bring a supply of bottled water to drink. Inform your child that drinking water from the camp site’s source may not be filtered and can make them sick. They should also be advised to not play in the water too.
- Use the buddy system: Have your child with you or another responsible adult with them at all times. Let them know that they are not allowed to go to restricted areas.
- Don't approach, pet, or feed an animal: As cute as they look, wildlife animals are not the same as domesticated animals. Before your camping trip, watch a documentary on wildlife animals with your children. They will not only get some education on animals but see how wild they can be.
#2. Be prepared and practice caution
Great, you’ve got your camping checklist marked off. There’s a lot to prepare for a family camping trip to ensure your children are comfortable and safe. Here are a few other precautions to complete just in case you forgot them:
- Do you have the right vehicle? Analyze if your vehicle can handle a camping trip. You’ll have to consider room for your family, camping gear, and maybe a pet. Remember camping gear is built to be sturdy. Your gear may shuffle and fall on your child. Having at least a spacious SUV is ideal to prevent cramps, grouchiness, and accidents. Consider the color of your car too. If you’re camping out in pure wilderness, avoid bright and bold color cars. This can attract hungry wildlife!
- Survival kit: Just like a goodie or swag bag, pack a survival kit for each family member. It’s a fun way to customize something special for them. Store the items using a fanny pack. There are many cool options for kids and adults! A fanny pack ensures they’ll have their camping survival kit with them at all times. If you’re feeling creative, make a paracord safety bracelet that includes a compass and a whistle. Other important items to include in the camping survival kit are: ID card, list of important numbers, mini first aid kit, map, fully charged power bank with cords, flashlight and granola bar.
- Be ready mentally and physically: Let’s face it, we live in a digital world. Kids are accustomed to being on the computer and their phones. They’d rather play video games or watch YouTube than go outside to play. In order for them to enjoy camping and ease away from technology, get them out of the house before the trip. Have them experience a taste of nature. Go for a pleasant hike or go fishing.
#3. Be familiar with your campsite surroundings
If it’s their first time camping at the site or if they adventure beyond the camping spot, your children will be in unfamiliar territory. Do research on the campsite area with your children beyond the campsite website:
- Keep a map handy: Print out a map of the camping ground in black and white as a coloring activity for your child. Have your child color restricted areas in red and circle safe spots in their favorite color (except for the color red). Save this map and play a game of scavenger hunt to allow your child to know their way around the camping site especially where the safe spots are located. When reaching a safe spot, award your child with a small prize.
- Play it smart with plants: Be on alert for the type of plants around the campsite. Depending on how primitive the campsite, there may or may not be warning signs. Make photo flashcards in advance to help your child identify plants that are harmful and good for them. Connect these photo flashcards on a loose-leaf ring for your child to take along and reference back to them if needed.
- Say hello to a ranger: Upon your arrival, talk to a ranger for additional camping safety tips particular to that campground and find out the locations of the nearest health clinics/hospitals. Some campgrounds offer tours and at the end of the tour, the ranger may have a giveaway for your children like a pin or a badge.
A family trip to the wild side is a terrific adventure for the kids. To keep camping fun, it must be safe. Have your child remember these camping safety basics and precautions at all times until it becomes second nature to them. Happy family trails!
About the Author
Ahoy there! The name’s Kevin Smith, the proprietor of this little travel and outdoors blog. The outdoors has always been a passion of mine since I was a kid as my parents were avid campers themselves. They taught me everything I know when it comes to camping, hiking etc. and I would like to do my part by imparting my know-how to like-minded individuals who enjoy the same hobby as me. I started this website in the hopes of helping other people when it comes to answering questions, giving tips and recommendations focusing on the camping niche. Along with some close friends of mine, we are here to help you make the most out of your outdoor experience. Enjoy your stay and enjoy the wild side!