You’ve got the family and RV all packed and are ready to hit the road for spring break or summer vacation. You’ve got the goodies to make s’mores, roadmaps, activity books, and everything under the sun to keep them occupied. However, there’s one thing to discuss with the kids before taking off to explore the outdoors: CAMPING SAFETY.Its always good to practice safety and awareness before stepping outdoors because accidents and mishaps ‘will’ happen but most can be prevented. Let’s get started by listing some simple safety rules and guidelines to share:
- Make sure your child knows what site number and where your RV or camper is located. Write it on the back of their hand or arm.
- Have everyone check in every hour or two for accountability.
- If they are going on docks or water’s edge, they must have an adult or teen with them.
- Always use the buddy system.
- Never enter another RV, camper, tent or vehicle alone and/or without parent’s permission. This also goes for entering a bath house or restroom. Use the buddy system.
- Provide each child with a safety whistle. Instruct them to only use it in an emergency or dyer distress.
- Make sure they have identification (i.e. name and phone number inside their clothing, etc.)
- Teach everyone how to use 911. Write down the name of the campground, address and site number on a card and tape it to the refrigerator and to the outside door.
- Have a First Aid Kit stocked and readily available.
Speaking of first aid kids…
Before I go on about first aid kits, let’s first talk about knowing what to do. Regardless if you’re RVing, camping, at work or at home, everyone should be encouraged to take an American Red Cross First Aid Course. Regardless of age, everyone should learn how to treat and care for minor injuries and wounds. If injuries are more severe, proper and immediate triage will buy precious time until you can get to a medical professional. Further consider getting (re)certified in an American Red Cross CPR Course for both children and adults. There may come a day when you are the only one available to render aid.
We’ve heard it a million times; “it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt”. Sometimes we get so engrossed in having fun that carelessness, clumsiness, and inattentiveness result in some sort of minor injury. Burns, bruises, cuts, scrapes and splinters always seem to be part of the camping experience, so before heading out, you’ll need to have a well supplied first aid kit.
Each first aid kit should reflect the activity and location that you may need it for. For example, around water activities (i.e. swimming, kayaking, boating, fishing, etc.), you’ll want to stock your kit with topical antiseptic cleaner, waterproof bandages, wraps and tapes. If you’re a hiker in rattlesnake country, you’ll want to include a snake bite kit and blister care, and if you’re a back-country backpacker, perhaps adding in a small splint or two and extra wraps.
First aid kits can be purchased most anywhere and range in prices from $5-$100 or you can make your own designed specifically to your family’s needs. Whether you buy one already pre-stocked or assemble your own, make certain it has all the contents you may need. Restock when necessary and be observant of expiration dates. A good rule of thumb is ‘if you open it or use it, replace it’.
If you decide to make your own, we’ve put together a recommended shopping list of supplies. You may enlist your age-appropriate children to help you gather the essential supplies and show them how and when to use them. Importantly though, keep first aid kit contents, especially sharp tools, OTC’s and prescriptions out of children’s reach if they’ve not been properly trained on how to use them. I also recommend putting your physician’s contact information inside the kit.
FIRST AID SUPPLIES:
- Antiseptic Wound Cleanser and/or Wipes
- Gauze Rolls (2″ and 3″ wide)
- Sterile Non-stick Gauze Pads
- Hypoallergenic Adhesive Tape
- Stretch Tape or Ace Bandage
- Alcohol Swabs
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Saline Solution
- Sterile Cotton Swabs
- Antibiotic Cream/Ointment
- Calamine Lotion
- Hydrocortizone Cream
- Medical/Surgical Gloves
- Anti-Inflammatory Pain Relief Medication (Ibuprofen, etc.)
- Aloe Vera Topical Gel
- Ice Pack(s)
- Bottle(s) of Purified or Distilled Water (for eye washing or wound flushing)
- Pocket First Aid Manual
Keep your tools clean, sharp and dry. Replace as needed.
- Sewing Needle with Heavy Duty Thread
- Small Flashlight
- Sterile Sewing Needle with Thread
- Small Magnifying Mirror
- Surgical Scissors
- Safety Pins
- Irrigation Syringe
- Medical/Surgical Gloves
- Disposable Surgical Mask
- CPR Mask (one-way valve)
- Eye Wash Cup
- Medical Waste Bag (plastic zipper bag)
If you happen to be in more complex surroundings or may require more extensive treatments or special needs, our list extends to the following recommendations, but not limited to:
- Snake Bite Kit (should be familiar with to be able to administer)
- Insect Sting Relief Treatment Kit
- Antihistamine (Benadryl)
- EpiPen (prescription only for bee sting and other anaphlactic allergies)
- Prescription Medication (in proper bottles showing dosage)
You can prevent some bites, stings or wounds before they happen by including ‘preventative care supplies’ with your first aid kit listed below:
PREVENTATIVE CARE SUPPLIES:
- Insect Repellent
- Sunscreen (30+ SPF)
- Lip Balm (with SPF)
- Antibacterial Soap
- Hand Sanitizer
- Antibacterial Wipes
- Moleskin (to help prevent blisters or chafing)
- Anti-Chaffing Stick or Cream
- Sunglasses (with UV protection)
In short, the most important things you can do is to BE PREPARED and STAY CALM. By remaining calm, the injured will stay calm as well. Having the first aid essentials necessary to mitigate further or more severe injuries will allow you to continue enjoying your RV or camping adventures.
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