Taking the time to review camping safety tips with your family prevents accidents. There are a number of unforeseen camping accidents that strike unsuspecting families each year. The National Park Service reports that the most common camping accidents are drowning, dehydration, freezing (due to unforeseen weather changes and improper planning), getting lost by wandering off clearly marked trails and, of course, drunkenness caused by over-consumption of alcohol. There’s a common theme stated throughout the reports:campers can often hurt themselves, their children or others by not properly preparing for their camping or hiking trip.
A quick stop at a camping supply store like REI or online at Cabelas.com, campingworld.com, backcountry.com or LLBean.com helps with those last minute items you forgot, but planning ahead makes your family camping trip a lot more fun- and stress-free.
Dr. Brett Ferdinand Talks Safety Tips for Your Family’s Camping Trips
- Family camping trips require lots of bottled water. Bring plenty to the campground with you – not just for yourself but a spare for others.
- The best camping and hiking gear includes a battery powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries.
- A first-aid kit comes in handy when you’re camping with kids.
- Pack all prescriptions and some basic bathroom cabinet medications (aspirin, stomach medicine, Benadryl for bug bites).
- If you set up your camping and hiking gear near a river, it’s best to make sure you’re on high ground- any rain can quickly cause rivers to flood.
- Stop by the camping supply store if you didn’t remember camping accessories like sunscreen or bug spray. They might be more expensive than your usual discount drug store, but they’ll typically carry more effective products. It’s worth it in the long run.
- Never go hiking alone and if you’re camping with kids, make sure they have an adult nearby at all times.
- A small toolkit can save you a lot of time, especially if you’re tent camping.
- Empty your trash frequently when you’re camping so you don’t attract animals and recycle products as you would normally do at home.
- Thoroughly douse your campfire before you go to sleep. By day’s end you’ve probably got a cooler full of melted ice- this works fine for dousing flames.
Finally, before you take a family camping trip, give or email copies of your itinerary to a few other family members, friends or neighbors.
Darrin Gleeman: Tips to Make Camping with Kids Safe and Fun.
Darrin Gleeman shares some fun family planning activities and adventures that involve the entire family. Darrin remarks, “Before you go camping with kids, get them involved in the planning process. Look at maps and atlases together, decide where you want to go, etc.” Oftentimes, camping grounds are minutes away (by car) from our country’s most popular and cherished landmarks, museums and parks. Build excitement and anticipation – give your kids a stake in the trip and you will be rewarded.
- Take your kids to the camping supply store and ask about the best hiking and camping gear to buy. This adds to the enthusiasm for the trip, making it seem like a really special event.
- Have a practice campout before you go camping with kids. Set up your tent in the backyard or spend the night under the stars. Make sure everyone knows they can only go inside to use the facilities- no grabbing extra snacks or watching TV allowed.
- Pack several items of extra clothing in case of an unexpected spill or tear. That way, there’s no frustration or anxiety if something gets spilled or torn.
- Review camping safety tips with your kids before you travel. Make sure everyone’s clear on campsite and family rules.
Finally, make sure you talk with your kids about why camping is so special. Family camping trips help you appreciate what you have. Darrin Gleeman shared this with the guide: “Getting back to basics, and giving up our prized possessions, even for only a few days, gives us a new way to be thankful for what we have. It’s an important lesson for all of us.”
We thank our contributors:
- Dr. Brett Ferdinand Montreal, Canada
- Darrin Gleeman New York, New York