You’ve got your family and RV all packed and are ready to hit the road for spring break or summer camping trip! 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 you need to discuss with the kids before taking off to explore the outdoors: Camping Safety!
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It’s 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.
Camping Safety First!
- 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.
An Ounce of Prevention
There are several camping essentials you should pack in your camping kit that could save you or your family members from getting ill from germ transmission, sunburn, insect bites and other minor injury setbacks. Having these readily available and within easy reach for you and the kids will help mitigate those owies.
Rendering First Aid
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.
And, 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.
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.
However, if you don’t have time or want to leave that to the professionals, you can just buy a first aid kit that’s ready to be part of your camping kit.
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)
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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