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Camping for Kids - is it Safe?

13 December 2022

Camping is a fantastic activity for the whole family to enjoy, it allows you to dust off the cobwebs and really explore the great outdoors. Camping with kids can seem like a daunting prospect but with a little precaution and preparation it can be a lot of fun. 

We have put together some tips and tricks to keep your family safe and well during your camping trip. 

Tent Safety

Perhaps the biggest fear parents have when taking young children camping is that your child may wander off during the night.

At home you have the safety of your stair gates and doors to safely keep your children contained whilst you sleep, so how do you put the same safe measures in place whilst you're camping? 

It is recommended that you sleep in the same tent and same compartment as your children. Position yourself closest to the exit so that in order for them to leave they would need to clamber over you. If you have a family dog, take them along and let them sleep in the same compartment as your children. They will provide comfort and a handy alert system should your child wake up and try to go for a walk in the dark. 

Pack appropriate clothing

It's a good idea to pack clothing that can be layered; you can then build up or take off layers depending on the temperature. Dress your children in light clothing so they are easy to see at all times. 

Arguably the most important element of your kids' camping attire is the shoes. Make sure their shoes are sturdy but also comfortable because they should be wearing them at all times. This is to protect their little feet from standing on any hazards such as rocks, stones or poisonous plants.  

Additional Necessities 

Whilst you might be tempted to try to pack as light as possible for your camping trip with kids, it is advised that you take the following things: 

  • A first aid kit
  • A compass
  • A torch and extra batteries
  • Sanitiser
  • Medical records and copy of emergency contact details.
  • Suncream
  • Bug repellent

Tent position and boundaries

Whilst it can seem like a nice idea to pitch your tent up next to a small stream or lake, this can pose a drowning risk for your small children. If you are camping in woodland, choose a flat open space to camp on, a safe distance from the nearest water source.

If you are on a campsite, establish a clear boundary around your pitch where you can see your children at all times and make sure your children understand they must not venture outside of this space. Use objects such as trees, bushes, picnic tables or your own car to do this. 

If you are cooking on a campfire, make sure to keep children far enough away from it to avoid them getting burned.

Be cautious of wildlife

Exploring woodlands is one of the best aspects of camping and Britain has some of the most beautiful wooded areas. With simple precautions this activity can be safe for small kids, firstly teach your children not to eat anything from the woods. A common and dangerous misconception with exploring is that, if an animal or bird is eating a certain type of berry or mushroom then it must be safe for humans to eat too. This is not the case, avoid eating anything from the woods.

As a good rule of thumb you should encourage your children to be noisy as you walk through the woods, this alerts wildlife nearby that you are approaching. A favourite hack amongst seasoned campers is to tie little bells into the shoelaces of your toddlers shoes, this helps them be easily noticed and as an added bonus, they love the sound it makes when they walk. 

Only drink purified water

Pack plenty of water for your trip. Your children should be encouraged to drink water often throughout the day, especially as they burn off energy exercising outdoors. If you're staying in a campsite, check with the owners whether there is safe drinking water available.

It is a good idea to take iodine tablets with you when camping. They are an inexpensive way to purify water quickly should you need to use natural water for drinking water. 

If you are planning on sourcing your own water then only use running water not stagnated water. If you don't have any iodine tablets then you will need to boil it first, failing to do so can make you and your children quite sick. 

The takeaway

Your first time camping with kids can be a daunting prospect, there seems to be a list full of potential dangers and worries surrounding your trip. But with a little preparation and understanding of the area you are camping in you can avoid any danger and concentrate on making precious memories camping with your kids. 

Photo by Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash

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