The following post was prepared and submitted by Jamie Strand. Thanks for your input, Jamie. I hope the readers enjoy this.
Photo via Pixabay by Free-Photos
Camping is a great experience to share with loved ones. Bonding over a trip in the great outdoors can really boost your family’s ability to communicate and listen to one another.
Whether the trip is a weekend escape or a cross-country adventure, safety is always a priority. Many of the things that come along with camping–campfires, swimming, hiking–can be dangerous if you’re not prepared. Talk to your family members before leaving and start a conversation about the best ways to stay safe during the trip. Some of the things you might include are:
- Only adults can handle matches or lighters
- No running or playing around the campfire or grill
- Never hike alone or leave the group
- Never touch any wild plants or animals
- Never eat any plants or berries
- No swimming alone or without safety gear (children should be supervised at all times, even when wearing a lifevest)
It’s important to be prepared, so make a packing list and check it twice before you leave. Aside from the obvious things like weather-appropriate clothing, each family member needs their own water bottle or canteen, dry socks, sunblock, bug spray, a hat to keep warm or to keep the sun away, aspirin, matches, and a first-aid kit. Perhaps the biggest item on your packing list is your mode of travel. Whether you’re taking a car or an RV on your trip, you’ll want to make sure it’s in great working order before you set off. Take it in for an oil change and have the tires checked, as well as the wipers and fluids. You don’t want to be caught off guard in a rainstorm with less-than-stellar wipers.
If you have an RV, make sure it’s well stocked with your family’s favorite foods, water, and pots and pans, as well as utensils and plates, cups, and napkins. Most importantly, don’t forget the car seats, reminding children that although the RV is a home on wheels, they should remain seated and buckled any time the RV is in motion. In addition, if you are traveling for an extended period of time, make sure to bring important extras such as seasonal clothing, prescription refills, and insurance cards in case of a medical emergency.
Watch those fires
Campfires are used for various reasons, often to stay warm on a cold night or cook a hot meal after a long day. When you have children at a campsite, there are many things to think about as far as safety is concerned. Keep matches, lighters, and gas canisters out of reach and establish your campsite a safe distance upwind from the fire pit. Use only tents and sleeping bags that are fire retardant.
Always build a fire pit with stones or a metal fire ring, and never leave it unattended. Make sure it’s completely out before leaving the site; put it out with water until you don’t hear hissing anymore. Don’t cover it with dirt, as the fire might still burn underground and set roots on fire.
Never start a fire without first checking with the park, campground, or property owner first. Many locations have strict fire restrictions to ensure the comfort and safety of all nearby campers as well as the safety of the surrounding land. Fire restrictions are in place for a reason. Do not ignore them! You can check the Forest Service’s campfire restrictions page here for current conditions, limitations, and today’s fire danger forecast.
Be careful when working with a grill, as well. Always keep it away from the camping area and make sure there is a bucket of water and a fire extinguisher nearby at all times. Designate one person to do the grilling and have everyone else keep a distance. Make sure it’s in a well-ventilated area and that is completely out off when you’re done cooking.
Camping is great fun for the entire family, but it’s important to make sure everyone knows the rules before the trip begins. Being prepared goes a long way toward keeping everyone safe and happy.