Camping Safety Tips

Putting safety first is a sure way to avoid mishaps and frantic trips to the emergency room. Planning a safe camping trip involves not only common sense, but education as well. On this page, we'll outline simple techniques and tips that will prepare your for a great, outdoor adventure.

  • Learn basic first-aid skills in treating rashes, burns, insect bites and injuries, such as sprains, fractures and breaks.
  • Check out your campsite for potential hazards. Also look for holes, sharp objects, slippery mud, and low branches that can be avoided. Learn to identify poisonous plants such as burning nettle and poison ivy. Set up camp far away from these irritating plants.
  • Water sources such as rivers, streams and creeks can be contaminated with common parasites and bacteria. You need to assume that these sources are not safe for drinking. Bring your own water in large tanks, containers and bottles. If necessary, water can be purified by boiling it or using iodine tablets, which should always be in supply for emergencies.
  • Keep your campsite neat and organized. Place your tent or camper away from the fire pit and if possible, upwind. Don't set down camping equipment near the campfire where a breeze can blow ashes or sparks on your gear.
  • Take a fully-stocked first aid kit and check the inventory after each trip. Make sure it is easily accessible and that everyone knows where it's stored.
  • Keep your food and trash away from the animals. It's dangerous to feed the wildlife or to let them find food near your campsite. Throw all garbage and food scraps in a garbage receptacle with tight lids.
  • If possible, obtain a map of the area and mark the spot where you'll be camping. Make copies and have everyone carry one, along with a compass.
  • Always have spare batteries for flashlights, radios and other handy doodads.

Camping With Children

  • If you're bringing along the kids, there are extra steps you will need to take to prevent accidents and illnesses. Preventive measures and first-aid skills can save your trip if something goes wrong.
  • Advise them to be aware of their surroundings and to mark their paths. Tell them never to wander off without adult supervision.
  • Give them a whistle to wear at all times and show them how to use a compass. It's prudent for adults to carry these items as well.
  • Tell them that if they ever get lost, strangers may also be looking for them, calling their name. Consider setting up a code word that verifies that a stranger has permission to have contact with them.
“Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach of us more than we can ever learn from books.” - John Lubbock