Monday, July 15, 2013

Crazy, but Careful Camping With Kids

Kids who enjoy playing in the dirt and exploring the world around them will love heading out into the woods on a family camping trip. Going camping is an ideal way to get your kids to part with their video games, laptops or tablets for a few days. It gives you a chance to bond as a family and a chance to learn more about the natural world. When camping, safety should be always at the front of your mind.

Packing Up

Get your kids excited to head out on the trip by encouraging them to help you with packing. If your children are over the age of five, give them a list of clothing to pack. You can draw pictures of the clothing if your child can't read yet. Have them help you pack up the camping must-haves, such as a flashlight for each person, bug spray and dishes.

Hunting Safely

Some families choose to combine a camping trip and a hunting trip. Hunting remains a popular activity across the U.S. In 2006, approximately 12.5 million people over the age of 16 went hunting, according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service. If this will be your first time hunting, a safety course is a must. Online training and testing from offer government-approved hunting safety courses for 30 states and Canada.

Fire Safety

A camping trip isn't much of a camping trip without a bonfire and roasting marshmallows. Learning how to build a fire and the basics of fire safety is important for every child, whether he or she becomes a regular camper or not. If you do make a fire at your campsite, only build it in the designated area. Clear any plants or debris away from the fire ring to prevent it from spreading or getting out of control. Protect your tent from smoke and embers by building the fire downwind. Teach your kids how to smother the flames and never to leave the campsite while the fire is still roaring.

Camp Food Safety

Food safety can be a big concern when you head out on a camping trip. Unless you're camping in a motor home or RV with electricity, odds are high that you won't have access to a refrigerator or the trappings of a modern kitchen. Choose the foods you bring on your trip wisely. Bring a cooler to keep cold foods cold, but remember that it won't do the same job that a refrigerator will. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends bringing foods that need to be kept cold for the first day only. Bring along shelf-stable foods, such as peanut butter, jerky and canned goods for subsequent days. Pack the food in plastic, airtight containers to keep out pests and to avoid attracting animals.

Insect Protection

Insect bites aren't only a nuisance; they can also be a health risk. To protect against ticks and mosquitoes, which can spread disease, the Centers for Disease Control suggests using repellant with at least 20 percent DEET, which can provide several hours of protection. Apply the repellant to your children's skin yourself and be careful not to get it near their eyes or mouth. When you return to the campsite from a hike or other activity, have a family tick check.

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