When camping with kids you have to put safety at the top of your priorities – which is why I’ve put together this camping safety tips and rules for kids. Whether you are camping overnight, for a week, alone as a family, or on a campsite. Anyone with kids will know how easily a child can get into a world of trouble, and also how accidents can be avoided with the proper preparation.
Obviously, you know your own children and how responsible they are, and equally how experienced you are with camping. With that in mind, here are some camping safety rules for kids that I think everyone should be aware of:
Camping Safety Tips and Rules for Kids
Don’t Allow Kids to Leave the Campsite Alone
I will mention this one first as this is incredibly important. Without trying to put a scare on you, there are of course an endless amount of bad scenarios that can happen as a result of a child wandering off campsite.
A lot of the other safety concerns can be avoided by installing this rule into your little ones. Obviously, there is some discretion here as you know your own children and how old they are. Sometimes with an older chaperone kids will go exploring, take a good look at the campsite you’re on, weather conditions, err on the side of caution, and everyone will be fine.
Don’t Allow Kids to Run around the Campsite
Regardless of the excitement levels being at an all-time high because they are on a campsite, kids should never run around. There are countless hazards to be concerned about, fire pits, campfires, tools, tripping hazards, and more.
Have you ever walked into a tent line or rope without expecting it? It’s painful, and if you’re carrying something it’s a recipe for disaster. So walking at all times should be a hard rule.
Don’t Have Any Flames inside the Tent
Having any naked flames inside a tent is always a bad idea. Mix this with having children present and it’s a catalyst for disaster. You can pick up electronic lanterns for a very reasonable price, no need to try and use a candle or lighter.
Always Wear Footwear
This one will sound obvious to some, and some people would never consider walking around barefoot. But a lot of people do, and a lot of people stand on sharp twigs, hot coals, broken glass, or something else unpleasant.
Remember that you’re in the outdoors. Other people will have been where you are, maybe even animals. Everyone should wear footwear at all times, especially kids, so this is something to keep an eye on.
No Candy and Sugary Treats in the Tent
Kids love sweets, and sweets help to keep kids in line, right? You can still give your kids candy, but it’s a bad idea to let them have candy inside the tent. Sugary treats are a sure fire way to attract all kinds of unwanted insects and animals, and in the summer months this can become a really uncomfortable problem really quickly.
Have Plenty of Food and Water Available
Contaminated water is an all too common reason for sickness on the campsite. You need to be that little bit more prepared when camping with children too so pack plenty of safe water and food.
Having a bottle of hand sanitizer handy is also a good idea. Children have a habit of getting mucky, even when you don’t think it’s possible! Eating with clean hands will stop some of the tummy upsets and keep kids safe and happy.
Basic Camping Safety Rules for the Whole Family
With the above rules largely being specific to children, it’s also worth covering some of the basic safety rules that help to keep the whole family safe. Here are some things to consider when camping as a family, some of which have added implications when camping with children:
Cooking and Fire Safety
Cooking while camping is very different to cooking at home. You need to handle gas canisters and cooking stoves with care and keep them out the reach of children. I covered cooking with children along with some fun recipes and tips in this post.
Always set up your cooking equipment in a clear space well away from your tent or any other equipment. If you’re on a campsite check the specific rules of the campsite to make sure you’re acting within their rules.
Pitching up Your Tent Safely
You should always pick a safe area to pitch up. This means no running water to close, look for ground slightly elevated to avoid flooding, don’t pitch too close to another tent, and make sure you have some decent visibility and not too many hazards when it’s dark.
When camping with kids it’s important to make sure they are well aware of where your tent is if they get a little lost. Using bright colored guy ropes is always a good idea and adds some extra visibility and a unique touch to help kids identify the tent.
I wrote a post covering tent styles, types, and care tips here.
Check the Weather Forecast
The weather can, and will impact your camping experience. There is only so much you can do to plan ahead when weather is concerned, it’s how you deal with the weather that counts. It’s easy to check the forecast on your mobile each day, so prepare for the worst to avoid being caught out.
Bad weather doesn’t have to ruin your experience. Take some games you can play if you’re stuck inside a tent for a few hours, have plenty of food and water, and put on a brave face for your kids if it’s raining heavily for a few hours.
Preparing for a Camping Trip with Kids
Knowing the safety rules when you’re camping is important. But so is the preparing phase, if you don’t get your kids excited to go camping or take all the necessary items they aren’t going to have as much fun.
Here are some tips to drum up some excitement and get your kids involved in the whole camping experience:
Show them what they can expect – Kids associate more with visuals than a verbal breakdown. If they have not been camping before show them some pictures of what to expect. If you’re visiting a campsite I’m sure their website will have some pictures, or if you’re pitching up somewhere random you can just as easily find some pictures online.
Let your kids help to pack – There are two good reasons for this. One, it’s not fun packing, I’m sure you’ll agree. Two, this makes the experience a lot more real, especially if they pack most of their own clothes and items they are taking.
Let them choose a couple of their favorite toys – Being away from home can be scary for children. Even if they have been camping before, something can spook them so having their favorite toys or comfort items may come in handy.
With the safety tips above in mind, here are some things to do when you arrive at a campsite and have kids with you.
Be organized and pitch up asap – Get your tent pitched up and unpack all the items you need as soon as you can when you arrive. You need to minimize any stress or confusion if you’re going to keep an eye on your children.
Run through the safety rules – What are rules if you don’t run through them and make sure everyone knows what they are. It’s a good idea to run through the rules before you leave, and then again when you arrive at the campsite and can see the lay of the land.
Always remember the kids – It’s easy to get sidetracked when you’re camping and there are lots of things to see and do. But remember to give kids plenty of attention, leaving them to their own devices is when they can potentially come across some hazards.
Extra safety tips – Always be cautious of plants and berries you are not familiar with as a lot of them can be poisonous. Check this post for an in-depth guide to identifying poisonous plants and berries in North America.
If you want to source your own water while camping check this post as it has everything you need to know about purifying water safely.