Camping with Kids and Poisonous Plants
They look innocent, but Poison Oak, Ivy, and Sumac can be more than just an irritating rash, – they can be medically dangerous, and make kids never want to go camping again!
Make sure your camping kids know what to look for, and stay away from!
Start by teaching them the old Boy Scout warning: Leaves of three – Leave it be!
|Click to see enlarged pictures|
- All three plants, (Poison Oak, Poison Ivy, and Poison Sumac), are commonly found in most regions of the United States, in ALL seasons.
- They ARE NOT restricted to wooded areas, they can be found anywhere there is brush or under-growth. (even your backyard)
- The danger is in the oils that are on and in their leaves and stems.
- The symptoms of exposure can take one to three days to appear.
The Two Most Important Things You Can Do:
- Walk your camping area and look for these plants before your young camping kids do.
- If you find any of these plants, do not try to pull them up, cut them down, or remove them. Show the kids what you found and mark the area so they know to stay away.
- You can mark the spot with a sign on a stake or rope it off with a flagged line.
- Educate your young campers about these poisonous plants.
- Show them what these plants look like
- Tell them what will happen if they touch them
- As much as the weather will allow – have the kids wear clothing that reduces the amount of exposed skin. Like; long pants and long sleeve shirts.
What to do if a camper is exposed:
- Carefully remove any clothing that may have contacted the plants and put them in a separate bag. Remember, you can get the oil on you from the clothes too.
- Rinse the area with a lot of COLD water. A Lot!
- DO NOT use hot water, it will open the skin pores and let the oil penetrate deeper.
- DO NOT use a cloth to try to scrub off the oil, you will only spread the exposed area and rub the oil deeper into the skin.
- The best remedy is prescription stuff you can get from a doctor. (Prednizone, (a steroid), seems to be the most affective)
- Calamine lotion is not effective for rashes from these plants
- Some folks say Aloe Vera Gel helps, (it dries the skin), but this seems to be relative to the person using it.
Some experienced outdoor campers and hikers have recommended these products:
Prevention is the best cure. Blockers like this help stop the poison oils from being absorbed by the skin. A great idea for the very young or very sensitive camping kids.
Hyland Poison Ivy Block
For emergencies, Tecnu is one of the most respected and effective product lines that outdoor campers and hikers rely on. Their scrubs and cleaners are proven to dissolve and remove the plant oils, and they also include pain and itch relief ingredients.
Tecnu Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac Scrubs
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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)
Camping with Kids – Safety and Rules
Camping with Kids Campsite Layout
Camping Activities for Kids
Hiking and Camp – Games and Activities
Rainy Day Survival Kit – Games and Activities
Personal Gear/Bedding Checklist
Camp Tools and Accessories Checklist
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