Bringing your kids along for a camping trip can be a life-changing experience for the family. The grownups get to unwind from work, while the kids get to learn more about the world they live in. For parents, you can bond with your children through recreational activities.
While this does sound appealing, families should still take steps to ensure safety for all. This is especially important for those with toddlers or young children. Whether you’re going to a lakeside cabin, a camp in the mountains, or a lodge by the beach, here are some tips to follow.
Do the safety measures you do in the kitchen. Sharp camp tools like axes or knives can seriously injure kids who might mistake them for toys. The same can be said for pointed ones like wooden stakes or metal pegs. You can still keep your kids’ hands busy by giving them easy tasks.
Let them help you dig the soil to create the pit for the campfire. You can do so by giving them tools that are safe enough for use like pails or shovels. Still, don’t fail to keep a watchful eye on the kids in case they get restless.
Before you set out for camp, it’s a given to have already packed food and water enough for the trip. The challenge lies in preparing these consumables in a way that’ll keep them safe from contamination or spoilage.
Contaminated or spoiled food could make young children sick with nausea, diarrhea, or worse health conditions. To make sure your food and drinks are kept safe, pack them in waterproof or tight containers. Keep the beverages in an insulated cooler.
When preparing raw food for cooking, make sure to wash your hands and surfaces that will be used. Thoroughly clean cutlery and cookware, and don’t group raw food and cooked ones in one area. Finally, cook food and chill them at the appropriate temperature.
Identify the plants indigenous to the area you’ll be camping in. Take note of the ones that are poisonous and the ones that aren’t. Common examples include poison ivy, poison sumac, and poison oak. If these are present, stay away from them while trekking through the woods.
Make sure you and the kids wear protective clothing like long pants, long socks, and enclosed shoes. In case you or the young ones accidentally touch these plants, wash your hands thoroughly to prevent spreading the rash. Bring with you anti-itch creams, wet compresses, and rubbing alcohol just in case.
If you’re bringing toddlers and family pets, keep them safe from wild animals in the area. These creatures might look cute or worth petting, but you never know whether they carry serious diseases. Keep a safe distance from them by not camping near where they hunt, roam, or graze.
This also reinforces storing your food in sealed containers – doing so ensures that wild animals won’t get attracted to your campsite. As for your family cat or dog, make sure they’re vaccinated and kept free of ticks. These bugs might carry infections that they got from feeding on wild animals earlier.
If you’re going to camp near a beach or anywhere sunny, don’t forget to bring sunscreen. This will help you and your kids’ skin from getting long-term sun damage. With sun protection, you’re free to frolic at the beach or lake for some time without having to worry about serious sunburns. Just make sure to reapply sunscreen whenever needed.
Another protective cream to bring would be bug repellents. Your children can be susceptible to nasty insects like mosquitoes or ticks, both of which can cause itching and diseases. As a precaution, apply some bug spray to your kids’ clothes before they put it on. Make sure the bug spray has good reviews and contains no potential irritants.
Many have come to take camping as exposing yourself to the elements. While this may be true, you don’t have to do so to the point of sickness. Exposure to too much cold at night might cause hypothermia, while too much heat might cause dehydration or heat strokes.
These are dangerous bodily conditions, much more so for kids. Bring with you warm clothing and bedding when you’re going to camp in the mountains, by the lake, or somewhere that gets cold. Place plastic under your tent to help keep everyone dry. When traversing during sunny days, drink lots of liquids free of sugar and alcohol. Wear light and breathable clothing to let the air cool your body.
While camping, toddlers or kids might get antsy and get into tantrums. Children’s toys would come in handy since they can help keep the young ones preoccupied. Still, keep in mind that these objects might be choking hazards if you leave your kids unsupervised.
Make sure that playtime and other physical activities for the kids stay safe. Bring toys that are nontoxic and create a boundary for the play area at camp. This way, the children won’t wander outside the camp and get lost or in danger. Remember to give your kids age-appropriate lessons, such as fire safety rules or things they shouldn’t touch.
Camping, at its essence, is resting and doing activities in an unfamiliar and barely inhabited area. You’re fortunate if you’re camping with other groups of people, but stay vigilant if you’ll be camping on your own while having kids in tow. Stay on the trail so that you won’t get lost.
Ideally, set up camp beside or near the marked path. Don’t let kids play around unsupervised, especially at night. Bring navigational tools like a GPS, a phone, or a radio with you, and make sure there’s ample signal. This way, you can seek help when needed.
These tips should help parents embark on camping trips, especially if it’s their first time bringing kids along. As long as you follow these and seek advice from experienced parents, the trip should go as planned with the kids in safe hands.