Children love camping. They get the freedom to run around and explore, and the entire experience is one big adventure for them. Camping also provides an excellent family bonding experience and an opportunity for kids to learn more about nature.
Of course, you will want to give your kids the freedom to enjoy the outdoors. However, the woods are not as safe as your backyard. Consequently, setting safety rules to keep kids safe on a camping trip would be wise. Here are twelve safety rules to allow kids to enjoy a family camping trip and stay safe.
1. Stay Within the Campsite Boundaries
Beyond the boundaries of the immediate campsite, there are likely miles and miles of unpopulated country containing wild animals, water hazards, and other dangers. And in wooded areas, it will be easy for children to lose their way. It is best, therefore, to set boundaries around the campsite beyond which children must not go.
2. Stay Together
When children go outside the campsite boundary, it is best to always go in twos. Younger kids might partner up with an older sibling if they go exploring. Alternatively, you might prefer to insist on an adult accompanying a younger child. If children are never alone, there will always be someone there to raise the alarm should a child have an accident.
3. Keep the Campsite Clean
Animals have a keen sense of smell. So, kids should be aware of the dangers of leaving litter out. If you leave out any food, scraps, or garbage, you might get wild animals visiting your campsite, including bears. Consequently, cleanliness is even more important when camping.
4. Don’t Touch the Campfire
Sitting around the campfire is part of the family camping experience. Still, children need to be extra careful around fire. So, kids should be supervised when you have a campfire, and there should be no playing with the fire or embers. The same applies to lanterns, stoves, and grills.
5. Never Approach a Wild Animal
Wild animals may look cute and cuddly, but they have teeth! Kids should be taught never to approach wild animals or try to pet them. It would also be wise to explain to children that even harmless-looking small or young animals should be left alone. Wherever there is a baby animal, there is likely to be a much larger and very protective mum or dad nearby.
6. Always Carry a Whistle
It’s a good idea to give children a safety whistle on a camping trip, both at the campsite and when hiking. Then, if kids lose sight of their parents or can’t find their way back to camp, they can call for help with the whistle. However, you will also need to establish that the whistle is only for use in an emergency.
7. Don’t Eat Anything You Find
Berries, nuts, and mushrooms you find in the woods might look tempting. However, they might be poisonous. So, kids should be taught not to eat anything they find in the woods, even if it appears to be something they would eat at home. You should also not drink any water you find, however clean and refreshing it may look.
8. Drink Plenty of Water
Children are likely to be highly active on a camping holiday, and, if you are lucky, the sun will be shining too. Consequently, it will be easy for kids to get dehydrated. So, kids should be encouraged to drink plenty of water throughout the day. But, as mentioned above, they should only drink the water you provide.
9. Stay on The Trail
When hiking, older children will likely want to run ahead of you and explore by themselves. When they do, it would be best for them to stick to the trail and stay within sight of their parents or guardians. And as mentioned above, children should also carry their safety whistles. If kids go off-trail, they can quickly get lost or stumble into a dangerous situation.
10. No Bare Feet
It is best not to allow kids to run around barefoot when camping. You might want to use sandals or flip-flops around the campsite, but sturdier footwear will be needed when hiking trails. Without shoes, kids’ feet can be injured by thorns, rocks, and poisonous plants. The no bare feet rule is also a good one for adults to follow.
11. Watch Out for Poisonous Plants
If kids are unfamiliar with the outdoors, giving them a pre-camping-trip lesson on identifying poisonous plants would be a good move. Show them pictures of poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac, and tell them to avoid these plants. Insect nests should be avoided, too. So, ‘no poking ants, hornets, or any other insect nests’ would be another good camping safety rule to have in place.
12. No Food or Fire inside Tents
Your kids will undoubtedly know not to play with fire. Nevertheless, items such as matches and lighters may be easier to come by on the campsite. So, it is worth reinforcing this rule and emphasizing the dangers of having a naked flame inside or near tents. It is also best not to allow food inside tents because it attracts wildlife.
Making a load of rules for kids on holiday might feel like you are taking some of the fun out of camping. But kids can still have plenty of fun and freedom, even when playing within the boundaries of these rules. What’s more, if you play it safe, there is less chance that you will have to cut the holiday short. So, not only will a few camping safety rules keep your kids safe, but they will also ensure the fun lasts for longer.
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