Many people enjoy camping because it can be a fun way to take a break from the chaos of daily life and an opportunity to enjoy the serenity of the woods. Camping is a great way to relax and enjoy nature, as long as you remember to practice safety first.
General Camping Safety Tips
Don’t embark on your outdoor adventure without reading these camping safety tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- Get Vaccinated: It’s important to make sure your vaccinations, such as a tetanus shot, are up to date before going on a camping trip. This can help protect you from certain diseases and conditions you may encounter in the wilderness.
- Keep Hands Clean: Wash your hands often and always do so before eating. If no running water is available, use hand sanitizer.
- Food Storage: Keep food in airtight, waterproof containers. Store containers in an insulated cooler. This helps the food to stay fresh and keeps wild animals away from it.
- Campfire Safety: If your campsite allows fires and you choose to build one, do it safely. Choose a spot without any overhanging tree branches nearby, ensure that it has a metal fire ring or is encircled with rocks, keep a bucket of water or a shovel nearby in case it gets out of hand, never leave it unattended, put it out before you leave your campsite, and always use fireproof cooking equipment.
- Be Prepared: Always check the weather report before you leave, and if a storm is on the way, stay home. Make sure others not going camping with you know your whereabouts and how to reach you in case of an emergency.
- Supply Kit: Bring a supply kit with you that includes a first aid kit, map, compass, flashlight and extra batteries, blanket, medications, and extra clothing.
Put Safety First When Camping With Kids
Camping is a great way to build lasting memories with your children and teach them to enjoy nature. Follow these safety tips from REI and KidsHealth for a fun camping trip with your kids:
- Packing: Make a list of outdoor appropriate clothing for your children to pack, including proper footwear, extra dry socks, cotton clothing, warm clothing for nighttime, hats to protect them from the sun, etc. Double check their duffel bags to make sure they’ve followed the list before leaving on your trip.
- Sun Protection: Apply fresh sunscreen on your children at regular intervals, as it’s very possible to get burnt even in the shade. Also check to ensure they’re wearing the hats and cotton clothing in their duffel bags.
- Wildlife Precautions: Check with park rangers to see if there’s any wildlife activity near your campsite. If so, ask for advice on food storage and on what to do if an animal comes near your campsite. Make sure your children understand the importance of not feeding wildlife and treating their habitat with respect.
- Staying Oriented: Make sure your children are familiar with the location of your campsite, in case they accidently got lost. Repeatedly point out landmarks and campsite or cabin numbers to help them memorize your location, so they can recognize important spots and easily find their way back.
- Helpful Accessories: Have each of your children wear a whistle on a string around their neck. Tell them to blow it if they get lost or run into trouble, needing your immediate attention. At night, tie a small flashlight around each child’s belt loop or have them wear a headlamp.
- Avoiding Heat Exhaustion: If you’re camping during the summer months, especially on extremely hot days, do activities like hiking during the cooler parts of the days such as the early morning hours and the evening. Spend the hottest mid-morning to mid-afternoon parts of the day in the shade.
Author: Laura Jerpi