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Camping Cautions

Gadget Guide

Cellular phones may be a nice convenience, but they shouldn't be relied on for summoning help on a hike. For one thing, you may not be in an area that can pick up your phone signal. Also, if you haven't been tracing your steps on a map, you can't tell rescuers where you are! This is one time when old-fashioned gadgets—compasses and maps—work better.

Gone Fishing

A few simple precautions can prevent you hooking people instead of fish. When carrying the rod, keep the hook secured to the hook keeper on the rod or cover the sharp barb on the end with a cork. Teach your child to not fish in the same area with swimmers and to keep some distance between herself and other people fishing.

If the hook becomes impaled in your child's skin, don't pull it out unless just the point has entered the skin. If the shank has entered, too, push it on through the skin so the point emerges and you can cut off the barb on the end with pliers or clippers. Then you can safely pull the hook back out the way it went in, disinfect the wound and cover with a bandage. Then consult your doctor because of the risk of infection.

Never remove a fish hook that has entered your child's face or eye. Instead, seek medical help immediately.

Weather Wisdom

Check a weather forecast before going on a hike to get an idea of how much clothing to take. Skip the hike if the forecast calls for storms. Lightning strikes the tallest objects in the area, so if thunder and lightening develop unexpectedly while you're hiking, move from higher to lower ground and don't stand near tall trees or on hills. If you are in a forest, seek shelter under low growth, saplings or smaller trees.

If an electrical storm threatens while you're in your tent, it's safer to wait it out in your vehicle, especially if your tent has metal poles. If you are boating or swimming, get out of the water immediately.

Safety Savvy

It's important for family members to be trained in first aid and CPR since you may not be close to medical help when you are camping. Taking a well-equipped first-aid kit on your trip is a must, too.

Avoiding Animal Bites

One of the joys of a camping vacation is seeing wildlife up close. Unfortunately, many campers want to get close enough to pet animals or feed them even when signs warn visitors not to. Explain to your children that this is a dangerous practice because animals are unpredictable and may bite or kick. People-food can hurt the animals' digestive systems, too. Watch from a safe distance and don't attempt to feed them.

Another risk is rabies. Raccoons, skunks, bats, and other creatures are prime carriers you should stay clear of. If your child is bitten, treatment to prevent rabies could be necessary unless the animal can be captured and determined to be healthy, an unlikely possibility in the wild.

Safety Savvy

If you take your dog camping with you, make sure its rabies vaccination is up-to-date. Otherwise, it could get rabies from the bite of a wild animal and become a danger to your family.

Avoiding Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide (CO), a colorless, odorless gas, kills approximately 30 campers each year and sends hundreds more to the hospital. The source of this gas is generally a portable camping heater, lantern, or stove that has been brought inside a tent, camper, or vehicle with poor ventilation. Usually, the victims are sleeping when they are overcome.

Sometimes rain causes campers to pull their charcoal grills inside the shelter of their tent to finish cooking a meal. This, too, is dangerous because burning charcoal generates CO. Don't store a grill inside an enclosed area until the coals are completely cold. Until then, the coals continue to release the dangerous gas.


Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Child Safety © 2000 by Miriam Bacher Settle, Ph.D., and Susan Crites Price. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

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