The Southern Glamper: Safety at the Campground - 4 Tips for Your Children

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Safety at the Campground - 4 Tips for Your Children

Monday, August 5, 2019


Safety at the campground is more than just having a first aid kit.  However, this Surviveware First Aid Kit is handy, and I recommend it!

Camping can feel like this bubble of good times and fun.  Children latch onto this feeling of freedom as they race through the campground on bikes, scooters, and foot.  They can play outdoors after dark and enjoy running free for hours.  But, you also have to encourage some good habits and solid rules so that everyone is safe.

I don't like the feeling of living in fear or in a state of paranoia.  Maybe I've listened to one too many crime podcasts or watched too much Law and Order, but we have to instill a sense of safety and caution in our children as we travel.  What are the precautions that we take at the campground?

Making New Friends vs. Stranger Danger

Our son quickly developed a routine of making new friends at the campground.  I think this is important.  I can talk to a billy goat, and he is just like his mamma.  The ability to make new friends easily and fearlessly is a skill that can be both good and bad.

I encourage our son to make friends with other children.  But, children need to be taught about age-appropriate friendships and contact.  Children shouldn't befriend other adults (strangers) quickly.  Children can be trusting.  Have open and honest discussions with your children about this.

Having a straight dialog with your children about making friends at the campground is vital.  We love to let our little boy go and roam, but we want him to be smart and safe about it!


Boundaries

Have specific boundaries for children at the campground and still to them.  For us, it is:
  • Tell us where you are going and don't go anywhere else.
  • Don't go inside of other people's tents or campers.
  • Don't take food, snacks, and drinks from others.
  • Don't accept rides from others.  Come back to your own campsite the way that you got there.  
  • Do not leave the campground area.
These may sound silly, but they are age-appropriate for where we are in our lives.  Depending on the age of your child, you may more boundaries for your crew.  Specific rules can keep your child safe and self-control.  None of us ever need to be yes people.  Just because someone invites us inside doesn't mean we should.  It is okay to politely say no and walk away.

Be explicit with your rules and boundaries.  Have your child repeat them back to you if you are unsure if they are fully listening or understanding what you are asking them to do.  Don't leave these things to chance.

Depending on where you are camping, you may have other rules and boundaries based on the geographical space.  We have camped where there are rocky areas and bodies of water.  These are both places where we can have to really clamp down about where you can go alone.  Be mindful of your surroundings and adjust as you need to do so.  

Communication

Our son is young, we are years away from a cell phone.  But, a walkie talkie is an effective way to communicate with your children while scooting around the campground.  If your child is old enough to venture out without you, grab some walkie talkies and teach your child to use them.  Grab a set and equip everyone in the family.

              

Using a walkie talkie to call children for dinner or ask their location, is an excellent tool.  Plus, if your child does fall and get hurt on a bike or scooter, he or she can call you.  This one tool equips your family with the ability to communicate at will with or without cell signals.  Even if your child does own a cell phone, service may not be available.  So, a walkie talkie may still be the best option.

If children have their own pets at the campground, they naturally feel safe going up to animals.  But, not all animals are pets and not all pets want to be approached by strangers.

Wildlife and Animals

Campgrounds are full of animals.  The animals are mostly pets.  But, even pets should be approached with caution, if at all.  The rule in our house is not to pet other people's animals without permission.  If he wants to pet someone's dog, ask permission first.  But, we have been having lots of discussions about how not everyone's pet wants a stranger to pet them.  

It is also important to talk to children about snakes and other potentially dangerous wildlife.  We should all be on the lookout for snakes around water and on land during hot summer months.  Teach your children to proceed with caution and not approach wildlife.  There have been lots of frank discussions in our home about not putting your face or hands into holes where animals can burrow and build homes.

Teach your children about safety when hiking and being in the wild.  We are always on the lookout for snakes.  


Does this feel like I'm trying to scare you?  I certainly hope not.  I'm not a fearful camper.  I feel like we camp with caution and good common sense.  I enjoyed playing outdoors for hours as a child and learned to respect nature.  Hopefully, we are instilling this our son.  

Right now we are in a season of discovery at our home.  I'm coming home to a frog habitat daily and a few prisoners each afternoon.  He happily lets them go after showing them off.  I'm loving our days of catching frogs and learning about backyard creatures.  We take this same sense of adventure to the campground.  

Until next time...

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