Camping safety for the whole family


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Governor Rick Scott has proclaimed June as Great Outdoors Month in Florida in recognition of the outstanding recreational opportunities provided by Florida's natural resources, including forests, parks, trails and other public lands and waters. Great Outdoors Month is celebrated across the country each June, highlighting the health and social benefits of active fun outdoors.

Camping Safety Tips for Families:

Be prepared!
Before you leave, check the weather report, learn about your camping location and tell family and friends your plans. Know what to do when toilets are not available. Be sure to bring along a supply kit that includes a first-aid kit, compass or GPS, map, flashlight, blankets, batteries, food, water, clothes, and medications. Familiarize yourself with the area when you arrive including where to go and who to contact should you need help.

Bug bite prevention:
Mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects can cause certain diseases. To help fight the bite, apply insect repellent containing DEET to exposed skin. Be sure to follow directions on the package. Check for ticks daily, and remove them promptly. Wear long sleeves, pants, and other light-colored clothing to help prevent and spot ticks more easily. Be sure to also check your pets for ticks daily too!

Sun protection:
Protection from ultraviolet (UV) radiation is important all year. UV rays from the sun can reach you on cloudy and hazy days, as well as bright and sunny days. Use a broad-spectrum (against UVA and UVB rays) sunscreen and lipscreen with at least SPF 15. Seek shade, especially during midday hours, when the sun's rays are strongest. Cover up with clothing, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses.

Swim safety:
If your camping trip will include playing in and around the water., protect yourself and others from illness, don't swim if you have diarrhea, and don't swallow the water you swim in. Take a shower before and after swimming. Never swim alone. If you plan to ride in a boat, canoe, or other water vehicle, be sure to wear a life jacket.

Protect against carbon monoxide poisoning:
Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless and can cause illness or death in people and pets. Never use fuel-burning equipment such as gas stoves, heaters, lanterns, and charcoal grills inside a tent, camper, or other enclosed shelter. It can cause dangerous levels of carbon monoxide to build up.

As alternative heat sources to fuel-burning appliances inside an enclosed shelter, campers should bring adequate bedding and clothing and should consume extra calories and fluids during the outing to prevent hypothermia (a dangerous loss of body warmth that can cause death).

Safety during activities:
Camping often includes activities such as walking, hiking, biking, or swimming. Know what activities your camp location offers and decide what's of interest to your family and pack the proper gear, such as helmets, sturdy shoes, and life jackets. Avoid poisonous plants, like poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. Ask your park specialist what to look out for and avoid during activities. Never hike or swim alone.

Food and water safety:
Avoid developing illness from the food and water you consume. Take precautions when handling food and water including:
Pack foods in tight, waterproof bags or containers. Keep them in an insulated cooler.
Wash hands and surfaces often. Use hand sanitizer if water is not available.
Cook foods to proper temperatures (for instance, ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees).
Chill foods promptly.
Bring bottled water or a cooler of water for drinking or boil water for one minute to effectively sanitize water.

Pet Safety:  If you're bringing along your family pet, make sure pets are vaccinated. Always keep a close eye on them. Check for ticks, and remove them promptly. Make sure pets have plenty of safe water and food, and shelter from the elements,

If you're planning your next outdoor adventure, our partner, Jax4kids, features some great ideas geared towards families.

You can check out their website at http://jax4kids.com