Millions of Americans head out for family fun and camping adventures throughout the summer and on long holiday weekends. It’s important to cover safety rules with your kids before you set up the tent and ensure they are following the rules to keep them safe.
Aside from keeping the area as child-proof as possible by keeping your camp items picked up, there are a number of rules you should cover that do not generally apply when you are in the comfort of your home.
Always Stay Together
Make sure your kids know they must always stay with you while camping. Outside of your immediate camp area, they should follow the rule of twos. There are many instances they’ll need to leave the area including using the restroom, showering, or maybe they want to gather sticks for the campfire.
Set boundaries they are allowed to go to on their own and be sure they know who their partner(s) should be if they go outside the boundaries you set. Use markers to show them the boundaries. You can use visual aids such as “the big tree” or “don’t go past the picnic tables” to help them understand the boundaries you set.
Stay Away from Water
Many camping areas have water nearby and sometimes right next to your campsite. Be sure that your children are old enough to understand not to go near the water and can swim in the event they do. If they are not or cannot swim, set up camp away from easily accessible lakes or waterways.
Make sure they know that they will get plenty of playtime in the water – with you or an adult present, but never alone. This will make is less tempting for them to set off on their own when no one is looking.
General Camp Information
When you arrive at camp, see if you can seek out some poison ivy or poison sumac. Show it to your kids and let them know not to go near it if they see any. You should also have a rule that they are to keep their shoes on at all times outside of the tent. Campgrounds often have glass and other dangerous debris that can easily cause harm.
Especially for younger children, tell them not to pick up anything from outdoors and put it in their mouths. Wild, poisonous berries and other things that may look tempting to eat can turn your camping adventure into a camping nightmare in only seconds.
For rules to set around campfires, read our article, Campfire Safety Rules for Kids.
Avoid Wild Animals
They should also be warned not to try and touch wild animals. Anytime you are outdoors, you could have dangerous animals lurking that can attack if your child tries to touch or catch them. It’s also a good safety precaution to attach bells or noisemakers to them.
This will not only ward off wild animals, but it will also help you locate them or know if they have wandered outside your boundaries if a period goes by that you do not hear the sound.