Campfire, water and hiking safety tips
07-22-2011 (Dayton, OH) -
Camping is a great way to spend summer vacation as a family. However before you pack the supplies and load up the car there are a few safety precautions that families should be aware of.
“It is essential to remember key safety guidelines as you’ll be leaving the daily environment your kids are used to,” says Jessica Saunders, injury prevention coordinator at Dayton Children’s and Safe Kids Greater Dayton coordinator.
A recent study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that although hand sanitizer is proven to kill germs that cause cold and flu viruses, it may not kill all germs on the hands. A recent outbreak of illness at summer camps has found that illnesses were contracted after being in contact with animals and stagnate water even when using hand sanitizer. To protect your family from possible illness, occasionally wash your hands with soap and water whenever you expect you have come into contact with animals or questionable substances.
Another consideration when camping with your family is the dangers of camp fires and portable stoves. Besides the possibility of starting a brush fire, they both produce Carbon Monoxide. This colorless and odorless gas, usually called CO,can be potentially fatal in situations of extreme exposure.
“About 30 campers each year die of CO poisoning,” says Saunders. “If someone near a campfire or portable stove seems drowsy, disoriented or sick, move that person away from the fire immediately to get some fresh air.”
Dayton Children’s and Safe Kids Greater Dayton recommend these four safety tips around campfires and portable heating devices:
- Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children.
- Never use matches, lighters, candles or any device powered by kerosene, propane or other heating fuel inside a tent or camper.
- Always actively supervise children near a campfire or portable stove.Follow posted rules about campfires, and do not light fires in windy or excessively dry conditions.
- Keep a bucket of water and a shovel near the fire at all times. Extinguish the fire completely before going to sleep or leaving the site.
If your camping trip involves a relaxing day on the lake fishing or swimming there are additional dangers involved with an open body of water. Approximately 750 children ages 14 and under die each year due to unintentional drowning. Keep these tips in mind while around water:
- Supervise children in and around water at all times. Stay where you can see, hear and reach them in the water.
- Be aware that rivers and lake can be shallow near the bank and then sharply increase in depth further out from shore
- Swimming in a lake or river is much different than in a swimming pool. Therefore, be wary of strong undercurrents.
Also keep these eight tips in mind while camping and hiking:
- Keep first aid supplies and emergency phone numbers handy. Know where the nearest phone is located because a phone may not work in remote areas.
- Let friends and relatives know where you are going and when you are coming home.
- Never let children hike alone.
- Dress children in layers of clothing to help prevent heat-related illness and hypothermia. A child’s body temperature changes faster than an adult’s.
- Do not push kids to go on a longer or more strenuous hike than they can handle. Exhausted children are more likely to fall, wander off or otherwise get injured.
- Bring plenty of drinking water or sports drinks and high-energy snacks.
- Kids should wear hiking boots and clothing that offers protection from scrapes, bites and poisonous plants. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, apply insect repellent to a child’s clothing and exposed skin.
- Apply sunscreen rated SPF 15 or higher to your child’s exposed skin 15 to 30 minutes before going out, and reapply frequently. It is possible to get a sunburn in cloudy conditions.
About Safe Kids Greater Dayton
Safe Kids Greater Daytonworks to prevent accidental childhood injury, the leading killer of children 14 and younger. Safe Kids Greater Dayton is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing accidental injury. Safe Kids Greater Dayton was founded in 1994 and is led by The Children’s Medical Center of Dayton. For more information, log on to www.childrensdayton.org/safekids.
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