Camping is a fun way to get family and friends together to enjoy the outdoors. Enjoying the beauty and nature of the woods can be fun — if you follow the proper safety precautions. Follow these tips to help ensure your camping trip is safe and enjoyable.
1. Receive camp physicals and up-to-date vaccinations
Before starting camp, children are often required to undergo a camp physical to determine the body’s fitness and overall health. Also, be sure you and your family’s vaccinations are up-to-date to help protect against certain diseases and conditions while camping.
2. Know your surroundings.
Look for landmarks at the campsite and on hikes. While hiking, look at the trail to familiarize yourselves with your surroundings.
3. Prepare healthy and safe food
- Pack foods in tight, waterproof bags or containers
- Keep food in an insulated cooler
- When cooking and storing food, separate raw foods from cooked foods
- Cook foods to proper temperatures
- Wash hands often and use hand sanitizer if water is not available
4. Avoid wild animals
To help keep wild animals away, store all food in sealed containers and out of the reach of animals. Avoid touching, feeding and getting near wild animals. Watch wild animals from a safe distance in their natural surroundings.
5. Protect yourself from the sun
Protect your eyes and skin from the strong ultraviolet rays of the sun. Wear sunscreen, lipscreen and sunglasses. You can get sunburn in a very short period of time even on overcast days.
6. Avoid water-related illness and injuries
- Never swim alone
- Take a shower before and after swimming
- Always wear a life jacket if you plan to ride in a boat, canoe, or other water vehicle
7. Lookout for poison ivy, oak and sumac
Avoid touching any unknown plants. Any part of your body that comes in contact with a poisonous plant should be washed immediately with cool water to help remove the oil that causes the allergic reaction. Calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream may help to stop the itching with poison ivy.
8. Protect from bug bites and ticks
Mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects can cause certain diseases. Apply insect repellent containing DEET to clothes and exposed skin. Check for ticks daily, and remove them promptly. Wear long sleeves, pants, and other light-colored clothing to help prevent and spot ticks more easily.
9. Campfire safety tips
- Build or use a campfire pit away from overhanging tree branches
- Make sure the campfire has a metal fire ring or is encircled with rocks
- Keep a bucket of water and shovel nearby
- Never leave a campfire unattended
- Be sure to put out your campfire completely before you leave
- Use fireproof cooking equipment
10. Protect against carbon monoxide poisoning
Never use fuel-burning equipment such as gas stoves, heaters, lanterns, and charcoal grills inside a tent, camper, or other enclosed shelter. It can cause dangerous levels of carbon monoxide to build up.