Caravanning with children? Sounds like fun. However, there are a few potential bear traps. Here’s how you can minimise the risk of your cubs falling into them.
Bunk beds are always fun for kids in family caravans, but to be child-safe, have a rule that the top bunk is only ever to be used for quiet activities such as sleeping, reading and talking; no rough stuff. If there’s not a sturdy barrier on the edge, have one installed.
Meal preparation in a small area can be distracting and there’s always the risk of sharp knives and hot liquids causing injury, so have things for the kids to do nearby while you’re busy. Depending on their age, you could get them to shred lettuce, butter the bread or set the table. Otherwise, sit them down with a video. Older children could use the time to record their day in a journal.
Animals are a kid magnet, but not all dogs are used to small children. Have a rule that your children only play with a dog if they know its name; that way either the owner has to be around or you have already met the dog and know it’s child safe.
You have a lot higher chance of encountering wildlife when you’re travelling and camping. Talk to your children about the more dangerous critters such as snakes, goannas, spiders and even crocodiles. Make sure they understand that when they’re in the bush, they always wear enclosed shoes, stay alert and avoid running around or jumping over logs without first checking the surroundings. Teach them to respect and appreciate the animals, birds and plants they encounter; this will not only instill a lifelong love but will make them far safer in their surroundings.
Guy ropes can trip a running child, so teach the kids to recognise where they’re likely to be and how to avoid them. Even better, teach the kids to respect other campers’ boundaries.
Remember that your kids’ environment is constantly changing, so when you arrive at a new site, walk around with them and recognise markers together. Make up a pendant, bracelet or card with your contact details on it and teach them to stay put if they do get separated from you.
The best way to keep your kids safe on family caravan holidays is having them busy and engaged in what is going on; that way they won’t be looking for entertainment in all the wrong places.
If you plan to share your caravan with the family, you might like these suggestions on how to make the most of the available space.