Safely Camping and Hiking With Kids

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It's not only possible to have your baby or small child join you in camping and other outdoor activities, but many parents have found it's also great fun. The magic words to act on are "plan carefully," and "expect the unexpected."

  • Watch your baby or young child constantly. Don't appoint an older child as babysitter - there is no substitute for your own careful and experienced supervision at the campsite. Attach a bell to the child's clothing so you can hear as well as see him or her.
  • Put an identification tag on your child as an extra precaution. A luggage tag can do the trick.
  • Keep fishing gear up and away where your child can't possibly get into it. A sock, hung high on a tree where a child can't reach it, makes a good container for fishhooks, matches and other small items.
  • Don't let your child drink from a stream, however clean and clear it may look. If you wish, put some of the water in a container and purify it with special water purifying tablets. Another option would be to use a water filter specifically designed for use while camping, these devices not only remove physical contaminants but also remove micro organisms that may be present in the water. Whichever method you decide to use for purifying water, make sure to follow the instructions closely.
  • Don't allow your child to touch a live or dead wild animal or bird. Rabies is only one of the possibilities of infection. If your child is bitten by a wild animal, wash the wound carefully and see a doctor.
  • For hiking, stick to a front carrier for your baby until he or she is 5 or 6 months old. After that a backpack carrier would work.
  • Build up your stamina. (Bend from the knees when your child is in a backpack carrier, to keep him or her from falling out.)
  • Carrying a cell phone is a plus in an emergency.

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