Camping Safety and Rules for Kids 1   Recently updated !

camping kid with electric hair

Camp Safety and Camp Rules for Kids

When kids go camping, whether it’s a weekend of tent camping or just an over-nighter – safety has to be a top priority. And that means camp rules, like; “No running in camp,” “stay within eyesight or earshot,” “don’t eat the berries,” etc.

The point is, if it’s a kid’s first outdoor camping trip, they don’t know what they shouldn’t do, or what could hurt them.

Camp rules should be discussed with the kids before the trip, and again when you arrive at the campsite. You want them to have fun – but safely.

5 Basic Camp Site Rules for Kids: As obvious as these rules seem, it is surprising how many parents assume the kids know them. It is important that you explain to the kids, when you arrive at camp, that these rules are firm and serious.

  1. Always Wear Footwear:
    camping kids shoes

    Never allow kids to go barefoot in camp. There are too many things to; cut, scratch, poke, and stick into their feet, not to mention all the things they can stub their toes on and trip over.


  2. NO Running & NO Horseplay: No Running Sign

    There are too many things to; trip over, like tent guy-lines, or roots; run into, like trees and lantern poles; and fall into, like the creek or campfire.


  3. NO Food, Snacks, or Candy in the Tents:
    bears tearing up tent

    Kids will sneak around this one because they can’t see the harm, but animals and critters can smell the food in a sealed unopened candy bar or chip bag and it acts like a magnet drawing them to the tent. The last problem would be ants and flies, the worst could be a bear attack. Explain this to the kids and then enforce this rule!


  4. No Candles, Lighters, or Open Flames in Tents:
    open candle flame

    Of course, this may seem obvious but tell them anyway.


  5. Use the “Buddy System:
    camping kids hiking

    You don’t want young campers wandering out of camp alone. Insist that they have at least one other person with them if they will be out of sight of the camp.

Trip Hazard Safety Tip

tent guy line with flag

Tie a strip of white cloth, (like strips of an old t-shirt), to all tent and/or tarp guy lines and any other ropes used in camp, to help them be seen. Tie them at knee or waist level for best visibility.
*If you are not expecting wet weather, white paper towels work just as well
** let the kids help you attach the line flags, it will reinforce their meaning.


Camping with Kids Campsite Layout

kid safe campsite layout
  Campsite layout

*A kid-friendly camp site layout can make these rules easier to follow.
And don’t forget to remind them:

• Don’t Touch the Camping Lanterns or Camp stove: They are very hot and could result in very nasty burns and accidents.
• Again – No Food or Snacks in Tents: Ants, bugs, and animals can smell food a long way off, (even while it is still in the wrapper), and they will follow that smell right into the tent, even if they have to tear up the tent to get in.

Tip: If you are camping with really young kids, – use rope and stakes to mark “out-of-bounds” areas that the kids may not enter. And tell them that! Make the ropes waist-high to the kids and mark them with the strips as mentioned above. Areas like; the campfire and cooking area, and the wood chopping area are good candidates for this tip.

The above rules will help eliminate most of the most common campsite accidents that involve kids. Make sure they understand they are FIRM rules.

Here are a few more that will help your piece of mind:

  1. Depending on age – stay within eyesight or earshot of camp.
  2. Do not eat any berries or nuts – unless an adult has approved it
  3. Do not pull leaves from vines or bushes
  4. Do not approach or try to pet woodland animals
  5. Never leave the campsite alone – insist on the buddy system

You may need other rules, depending on your campsite location. For instance; If you are near a body of water, or a cliff, or a crowded camping park, you will need to set rules for these circumstances too!

Tip: Speak to young kids like they were big kids, and speak to big kids like they were teenagers, it will give them a sense of responsibility to live up to the rules.

Tell them why not to eat the “pretty” berries, (possibly poisonous), or touch the leaves on vines and bushes, (poison Oak & Ivy). And that friendly-looking animal just might be a skunk! Or a hungry raccoon.

Safety Tip: Give each kid a whistle on a lanyard to hang around their neck. They can use it to let you know they need help! And if it is a really young kid that you want to know where they are all the time, – attach a small “jingle bell” to the lanyard also.

Here is an Amazon link for camping whistles, (if you don’t have a sports or camping store nearby), Inexpensive Camping Whistles on Amazon, (ps. the $2 ones work as well as the $6 ones)

Bad Weather Survival Ideas for Camping with Kids:
Bad Weather? Kids confined to the tent? Save your sanity – be prepared with these games and activities to keep them occupied.

The links are for individual products, or the all-in-one bad weather kit. (as pictured) Rainy Day Camping with kids games and activities

Available as an all-in-one kitJust click the image on the right to see complete all-in-one Camping activities for Kids and camp games for kids Bad Weather Survival kit” – All you have to do is select the item quantities to match your number of kids.

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Notes and discussions:
Camping with kids requires some camping gear and accommodations that you might not normally consider if just camping with adults.

Here are a few items and resources that may prove helpful:

Of all the camping books available to tell you how to do this or that, none have been around as long, as tested, updated, and revised to reflect new knowledge as the official Boy Scout Handbook.

Consider how ideal it is for camping with kids:

  • It is devoted to outdoor activities for and about kids!
  • It is extensive in its coverage, and is written to be understood by kids and adults alike.
  • Its camping first aid section is more appropriate and situation-specific than any other book on the market. (an opinion of course)

It is handy and helpful for experienced outdoor campers and is especially useful for new campers. A Boy Scout handbook contains easy-to-understand answers and how-tos for almost any camping question. Plus, it contains plant and foliage identifications, campsite activity suggestions, survival tips, and detailed primary first aid instructions. See available Boy Scout Handbooks


If you are camping with young kids, and there are no on-site bathrooms, (or they are a mile away), a camp potty is almost a necessity. First because when a little kid has to go, – they have to go now!

Also treks outside the “safety zone” of a lighted campsite after dark is not something most young kids want to do. This camping toilet is one of the most easy-to-use, and stable ones I have seen. See this Portable Camp Toilet


More handy “Camping with kids” gear

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