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5 Safety Tips for Camping with Kids

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Camping is a great family activity, but exposing kids to the outdoors can incur unnecessary safety risks. As a parent, you are responsible for teaching your children not only about the wonders of nature, but also about its hidden dangers. Anything could happen while in the wild, so here are five camping precautions to stay safe when camping with kids.

Camping with Kids

Wear the right clothes.

Temperatures rise and there is no thermostat to regulate the outdoors. The only way to cope with the constant weather changes is to protect your kids with the proper clothes. Dressing in layers keeps children warm, while letting them peel off the outer layers when they feel hot. Also, bring lightweight jackets, hats, and caps in case it rains as well as hiking boots for rough terrain.

Always drink purified water.

Bring bottled water for you and your kids. You never know what you could get from drinking water with contaminants. Common camper’s illnesses like diarrhea, stomachaches, and bloating come from drinking unclean H2O. Since bottled water can be difficult to carry, so consider packing iodine tablets instead. They dissolve quickly into the water and kill parasites, bacteria, and other contaminants.

Pack all your food.

While foraging for berries “survivor style” looks like something your tyke would want to try, it’s not really in his best interest. Wild berries are best left for bears. Bring all of your food with you, even if you are planning to camp for a week. Trail mix, granola bars, fruits, and breads are portable enough to carry to the campsite without being too much of a bother. And they are nutritious enough to keep you and the kids well fed and healthy during the camping trip.

Beware of poisonous plants and insects.

While you can apply topical treatments to cure insect bites, you can’t do much about poison oak, ivy, and sumac except to tell your kids not to go near any of these plants. Even before you get the tent and the sleeping bags ready, show your children photos of poisonous plants that you may encounter during the trip and tell them not to touch anything that looks like the items in the pictures. Insects, on the other hand, can be kept away with citronella-based repellents applied to your child’s skin. If all else fails and your kid contracts an insect bite allergy (noted by hives, swelling, and in severe cases, difficulty breathing) an antihistamine can help while you rush to the nearest hospital.

Teach kids how to react to emergencies.

Whether we like it or not, kids may get lost or eat a poisonous berry. When crunch time comes, you have to be ready to deal with health issues; in addition, your child has to know how to let you know they are in danger. Hang a whistle on a chain around his neck. Teach your child, when in danger, to whistle three times. This is the universal call for help. But tell him it is only for emergencies in order to prevent unnecessary alarm.

Learn more tips on how to camp with kids from a family camping expert and read about what to buy or borrow for your camping trip.

What’s the biggest family fiasco you’ve ever experienced when camping with kids? Let us know in the comments below! 

Belle writes for, where you can read reviews on state parks camping as well as about her family camping gear list.

  1. Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

    Belle – Thank you for these fabulous tips! I love the whistle idea and reminder to bring along an anthistimine for an unexpected allergic reaction.

  2. Camping with kids is fun, but it is important to remain mindful that there are dangers when staying outdoors and what was fun can so quickly turn to disaster. Your post outlines some excellent ways to stay safe while still having fun. Good work!

  3. Great advice for family campers – except, let’ em eat the berries. As an avid wilderness camper one of the great pleasures of being in the wild is coming across a bounty of wild blueberries, strawberries, blackberries or raspberries. I have eaten all of these in the wild and the store bought berries simply cannot compare. The key to doing this with kids is teaching them to know what is good and what is not. Make sure they ask Mom or Dad to confirm that a given berry is safe. If Mom or Dad don’t know then they ought to learn so their children can get the full camping experience.

  4. Great suggestions for having a successful and safe camping trip with your family. Thanks for sharing this post with your readers.

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