A camping trip is a rite of passage for many children around the world. From setting up a tent to learning how to cook by the fire, camping is an experience sure to enrich the lives of young people.
As their guardians, we’ll naturally want to ensure that any activity that we introduce our children to is as close to 100 percent safe as possible.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at five safety tips that’ll help you and your child to get the most out of your camping trip together and make for a safe holiday to remember.
Know your surroundings
When it comes to planning your trip, you’ll want to consider setting up camp in an area that you know well so that both you and your child can feel in control and aware of your surroundings.
This way, you’re less likely to face any unexpected dangers, like lakes or steep hills, where younger children, in particular, may injure themselves if they wander off.
If you have reservations about camping in the wild, it’s a good idea to opt for a child-safe, established campsite. This tends to be a safer option for families than off-the-grid camping, as campsites are generally well-regulated and maintained. They should also come equipped with clean, safe tools and facilities, such as kitchen and bathroom areas.
If you choose a campsite that’s well-established, you’ll generally find that there are other families with children camping alongside you, particularly in the popular summer months – as well as staff on-site during the day. This added perk can make for a wonderful community experience and a few extra watchful eyes on the children.
Safely store your items.
Perhaps you’re heading off into the woods for a spot of hunting or to the lake to fish. While these activities can be fun and enriching, they can also require equipment that can be dangerous if they’re not safely stored out of reach of children.
You may want to store your items in the car or purchase a lockable, secure box to keep them in. Here, you can safely store fishing lines, fire lighters, and kitchen tools, as well as any other objects that may harm a child should their hands begin to wander.
For a top tip, consider packing plenty of engaging items, such as new toys and puzzles, so that your children have something to keep them occupied if you’re not able to give them your full attention.
Stick to daylight exploration.
Although a little nighttime exploration may be fun for adults, it can pose a risk for children – particularly as little feet can be easily caught in tree roots and branches along woodland trails.
It’s a whole lot harder to watch for hazards in low light, where you may not have the best visibility. Luckily, there’s plenty that your camping trip can offer you in daylight, with lots to do and see.
If you’re particularly determined to show your child the sights and sounds of the outdoors at night, you’ll want to make sure that you’re well equipped with torches – a headlight may work well for children who struggle to hold on to a heavy flashlight.
Choose child-friendly activities
A camping stay offers a great opportunity to try something new with your child or to pass on a learned skill of your own – making for a meaningful experience that your child is sure to treasure for a lifetime.
While there are likely to be lots of exciting activities to choose from on your camping trip, it’s important to consider the safety of each one. For example, whether your destination has safe terrain for hiking or if nearby bodies of water are approved for kayaking.
It’s best to do plenty of research on the activities available to you before you set off on your trip so that you know ahead of time which areas are safe to explore.
Don’t forget that child-friendly activities don’t have to involve risky sports. In fact, many children will enjoy simply roasting marshmallows over the fire with an adult, collecting colorful leaves, or spotting wildlife from a safe distance through their binoculars. Stargazing can also make for an educational nighttime experience within the safe confines of your camp.
Educate your child
Equipping your child with the knowledge that they need to protect themselves can go a long way in keeping them safe. While a child will always need the assistance of an adult on a camping trip, talking to them about personal safety can help them come to some understanding of the difference between safe and unsafe behaviors and situations.
You’ll want to think about how you can best talk to your child in a way that is appropriate for their age and that they will understand. When it comes to talking to a young child, you’ll want to keep it simple – perhaps talking about the need to dress warmly in cold weather or wear walking shoes for a hike – as well as the importance of staying close to you. Older children may better understand the dangers of wild swimming or speaking to strangers.
It’s important to talk to your child about handling foreign objects when out in nature, as younger children, in particular, may be tempted to reach for unsafe items.
You’ll want to emphasize the importance of not picking wild berries and mushrooms, as well as keeping a safe distance from any wild animals they may spot.
A safe, rewarding experience
Taking your child camping is a wonderful way to equip them with plenty of life and survival skills, making it a hugely educational and valuable experience.
As well as being an opportunity to create everlasting family memories, this activity will teach your child just how much the world has to offer, with endless natural wonders to be seen and explored in a way that is both safe and rewarding.
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