Safe Family Camping and Hiking
We don’t want to sound alarmist, but being unprepared for camping or hiking trips can land your family in some serious situations. Take a few precautions to keep your risk of danger low.
Prepared for your camping trip?
It seems obvious, but people don’t always do it: prepare for emergencies. This means you’ll need:
- A first aid kit
- A list of emergency telephone numbers
Be sure you know where the nearest telephone and ranger’s station are, and make sure other people know where you’re going and what your planned schedule is.
Protect your children from the elements. Young children are more vulnerable to extreme temperatures, so be sure to have plenty of warm clothing in case there’s an unexpected cold spell. Keep sleeping bags and blankets dry. If you’re using a tent, a rain-resistant spray can help keep you dry. And everybody on the trip should have rain gear.
Remember to pack bug spray, sun screen, lip protection and any medications you or a family member are taking.
If you’ve never gone camping before, be sure to talk with people who have gone where you’re going. They can give you the best idea of what weather to expect, what kind of terrain you’ll encounter, how buggy the place is, etc.
Get a map of the area you’ll be hiking in. Mark out your trial and don’t stray from it. While on a hike, always have a compass, flashlight, Swiss army knife, matches, first aid supplies and your trusty map. If you do light a fire, be sure it’s out completely before you go.
Children should never hike alone, but sometimes they wander off, even if you’ve told them not to. Explain to kids that if they get lost, they should stay in one place, not wander around trying to find you. Have your children wear whistles around their necks. You can hear whistles at a greater distance than a child’s voice.
Wear hiking boots that provide ankle support. It’s way too easy to break or sprain your ankle on a hike.
If you have small children, avoid extremely rocky terrain or very steep areas.
Peanut butter sandwiches are a good snack choice because they don’t spoil easily and they’re a good source of protein. Trail mix is also a good option. Bottled water is a better choice than soda. Soda dehydrates you, which is the last thing you want on a summer hike.
If you’re going to a National Park, visit the National Parks Service Web site
You’ll find a listing of all the parks, telephone numbers, details about camping in each park, telephone numbers, climate information, pricing, etc.
FamilyTravelGuides.com; National Park Service; National Safe Kids Campaign