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Camping With Kids

By Nathan Asher, M.D.

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If you are looking for a way to create more family-time, camping may be the perfect adventure. By turning off the daily routines and plugging into nature, your family can explore a whole new world that surrounds them. Throw a line in the pond, chase after a butterfly, toast marshmallows over the camp fire—the things to do are endless. And best of all, you are creating family memories that will last a lifetime.

Family participation can start before your trip begins.

  • Plan the trip together by choosing a destination or theme such as a fishing trip.
  • Test-run sleeping under the stars in your own back yard. This will give you the opportunity to alleviate any fears before the trip.
  • Read a book about nature to help get your children familiar with insects, animals and plants they may see during the camping trip.
  • Have your children help pack the cooler and camping supplies. Younger children might like to pack a few toys from home.
  • Ask your children what they want to do on the trip and write it down so you can make sure to do at least one thing from everyone’s list.

The excitement of exploring nature is a big part of the camping experience. Boys Town Pediatrics would like to recommend a few safety tips to help you enjoy a fun-filled family trip.

  • Never go in the water alone and always wear a life vest.
  • Tell others where you are going.
  • If you get lost, stay put. Trying to retrace your steps can actually get you more turned around and your family will be out looking for you.
  • Do not pick or touch plants you do not know—they may be poisonous.
  • Make noise when you walk so you don’t sneak up on unexpected animals.

The joy of camping is that it can tie in something every family member enjoys; swimming, fishing, exploring, cooking and just relaxing in the midst of nature. And don’t worry if everything doesn’t go just as planned—that’s what creates the best family stories!

Don’t Leave Home Without

  • Sunscreen
  • Bug Repellant
  • Rain gear
  • Extra clothes
  • Flashlight (extra batteries)
  • Blankets
  • First aid kit

You don’t have to travel far to have an adventure!

  • Hike the wilderness (search your backyard or a local park)
  • Collect lightening bugs
  • Fish at a local pond
  • Create a scavenger hunt

Poison Ivy

Poison ivy and poison oak are native to Nebraska. The plant contains an oil which irritates human skin. If you or your child comes in contact with poison ivy or poison oak, wash the area immediately with cold water to remove as much oil as possible. A rash or blistering may occur. Avoid scratching as much as possible. Corticosteroid skin creams may be used to help with inflammation and irritation. Your physician may prescribe an ointment or cream if the over-the-counter medications are not working. Contact your physician if the irritation is severe or if there is no improvement within a few days.