MAD (Mindie, Adam, Alex, David) Family Fun is the result of friends and family asking "How do you find so much fun stuff to do?" So, I decided to share with everyone! There are no BIG secrets involved, I promise. I just have a knack for finding fun and now I want to share it with you!

MAD Family Fun is a place to find activities, events and ideas to have more fun with your family. Enjoy!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Camping with Kids (Part 1 Safety)

Summer is upon us and that means it is a great time to get out into nature by camping. When I first stared to think about this series on camping it was all about the fun stuff to do. After our first trip of the season, I need to step back from the fun and for this first part of the series, address the serious side of camping, SAFETY.

Now I am sure we have all given the fire safety talk. But it is a very important thing to remind everyone about each season. Thankfully at the state park we frequent, they have these raised "pits" so falling into the fire is VERY unlikely unless you stand on the rim (hey they are kids, they just might if you don't tell them not to.) If your camping experience does not come with one of these then enforce the "only behind" rule. What is that? Well, everyone usually pulls a chair up to the fire so the kids can walk "only behind" the chairs, not in front. This cuts down on the chance of falling in.

There are other safety concerns when camping with kids. Like poison ivy, don't mess with wild animals, and such. But what about the wandering off and getting lost in the woods with dusk approaching issue. I don't know if you remember I posted on Facebook about an issue we had the first night out camping this season but it fell into the getting lost area of camping.

A little back ground... Our son just turned 6, we have camped at this state park before, it is very family/kid friendly place, with roving bands of kids having good old fashion, none electrical fun (thats right, no gaming systems in the woods for us.) Our son knew the rules. What rule you ask? Well there are two playground in the park and we camp right by one of them so he can easily come and go to the park. He knows to check in with us before going to a new friend's camp and give us their site number. Like I said this park is roving bands of children making new friends and having the kind of fun we did as children. We have never had a problem with the rules till now.

So dusk is falling and my husband goes to fetch our son from the playground and he is NOT there. No panic yet. We head out around the camping loops looking for him and nothing, A little panic. Darkness is falling fast. We contact the park rangers who join the search. A little more panic. He is a smart kid who has been raised outdoors so I hadn't lost my mind just yet. Darkness had fallen and I returned to camp to find my son had been brought back by the rangers. THANK GOODNESS.

But where was the rule breaker? He had meet some kids at the playground who wanted to show him a LAKE. Instead of checking in he decided to just go on an adventure. He was soaking wet since they had played in the water. PANIC just set in. First, he went some where without us knowing where to find him, he is not a good swimmer, and he didn't have a flashlight with him and it was dark before he got back.

So why do I share this with you? Because it was a reminder to us, kids break rules and do stupid stuff that could get them very hurt. Have the safety talk with them before they break the rules. Don't assume they remember because you have said it before. And explain the rules so they understand your not trying to be controlling but trying to keep them safe. Remind them at length how things can quickly go bad. And if all else fails and they break the rules and that trust is broken, don't be afraid to "ruin" their fun by restricting their movements. At least they will be alive to have restricted movements!

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