Top tips for a safe camping trip

Camping Safety

If you’ve got a camping trip on the horizon, it’s the perfect time to ensure you’re prepared for any first aid emergencies on family holidays away. First Aid For You runs face-to-face First Aid courses to support and education parents. Director

Director Mary Dawes offers us her tips for making your next camping trip with the family as easy and safe as possible.

Reinforce road safety

When out and about on holidays, reinforce the importance of road safety. The Easter break is a time when many of us go for extended bike rides or enjoy the facilities at campgrounds and holiday parks. Looking left and right before crossing the road and educating the kids about drivers not always being able to see kids is vital. Also, note the checkout time at your camping venue and make sure you keep your kids in sight during that time.

Teach animal awareness

Remember to tell your children that, if camping, you’re in “the native animals home”. Do not scream if you see a snake or a spider. Walk quietly and quickly away from it, NOT past it. If the children see the snake or spider without adult supervision, tell them they must tell an adult as soon as possible, including where they saw the snake and what it looked like. It’s also important to remember to check outdoor play equipment before the children use it, as this is a favourite spot for creatures to sleep and build webs or nests.

Make campsite rules

Tell kids not to run around the tent or campsite – look for large open play areas, away from tents and campfires, where they can let off steam. Tent pegs, strings and extinguished fires can all present hazards for children and adults alike. To make tent pegs more visible, consider putting glow sticks on them each night and ribbons so they’re visible during the day.

Keep emergency numbers handy

Tell your neighbours or other family members where you’re going, for how long and give them your contact details. It’s also a good time to save important phone numbers in your mobile. Around Australia, the phone number for the Poisons Information Centre is 13 11 26 and Health Direct is 1800 022 222.

These numbers are available for information and advice on any health concern 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Internationally, phone 112 on your mobile and this will connect you to the emergency services of the country you are travelling.

Be aware of water

Campsites are often located near creeks, rivers or streams so make sure your children are within sight at all time and are supervised when swimming. Wear thick soled shoes or aqua socks when wading in water, and check for hidden debris. No diving! If you’re boating, always wear a life jacket.

Teach fire safety

Campfires, stoves and open flames can be fascinating for kids so it’s important they understand fire rules. Teach them that only adults are allowed to touch, poke or add wood to the fire. Kids should have hair tied back and shouldn’t wear nylon clothing near flames. Keep buckets of sand or water nearby to extinguish flying sparks, and make sure all the adults brush up on first aid principles for burns.

What to bring

Chemical ice packs are a must-have for your camping holiday first aid kit. They provide ready-to-go ice for any situation where there isn’t a freezer nearby, making them ideal for camping trips.

Insect repellent is a must for camping, look for kids’ varieties that cater for sensitive, younger skin. If you are concerned about the sensitivity of the product on your child’s skin, spray a fine mist on your child’s clothing.

Band-Aids are a must, of course: ones with cartoon characters are always a favourite with kids and can often act as a distraction when helping bandage a cut or sore on little ones.

Large burn sheets provide a dry, sterile atmosphere for the prevention of infection after burns. It’s a smart move to stock up on several of them. This is because the burns which you might receive from a campfire are likely to be a significant size and this affected area will need to be adequately protected after you’ve applied large amounts of water to the wound.

A road trip kit is essential for long driving trips. Pack a few plastic bags, buckets, wet washcloth (in its own bag) and towels. Many a time I have had the wonderful joy of my boys projectile vomiting in the car from motion sickness! If you’re prepared, it’ll make the situation less traumatic for everyone. A decent supply of large, clean and re-sealable bags can also be used for waste disposal and storing soiled clothing, without getting the rest of your luggage dirty.

Always take medications that may not be available at your travel destination. If it’s tried and tested at home, it’s always better to take it from home, rather than risk trying something different while away.