Outdoor safety tips for you and your children

Children climbing on logs in the woods
Follow our essential tips to stay safe when you're exploring the woods. (Photo: WTML)

Make sure your day out in the woods is 100% fun by following our simple safety tips.

Safety before you set off

Check the local weather forecast. Avoid woods when there may be thunder storms or strong winds, which can bring down branches.

Always tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to be back. Don’t just rely on your mobile phone as you may not be able to get a good signal in the woods.

Safety tips: Be woods wise

Wear suitable footwear, such as walking boots, wellies or sturdy trainers. The ground takes longer to dry out in the woods, so paths may be muddy or slippery from leaf sap, even if it hasn’t rained for a while.

Remind kids never to eat any part of a plant or fungi, or drink water from streams. Get them to wash their hands, or clean them with wipes, before they eat anything.

Teach small children what stinging nettles and brambles look like so they can take care around them.

Climbing safety tips

Kids love climbing trees. It’s great exercise, gives them a sense of achievement, and teaches them about managing risk. But don’t let the little monkeys loose without a few safety tips.

  • Make sure they know to ask your permission before climbing
  • Show them how to choose a good climbing tree – one with plenty of chunky branches not far from the ground
  • Set a safe height limit for their climb
  • Tell them to test a branch before putting their full weight on it

If you get caught in an unexpected thunder storm, shelter under a clump of low trees and away from metal objects. Don’t stand under tall trees as these are more likely to attract lightning. Thankfully, lightning strikes are rare but it’s best to be on the safe side.

Outdoor safety essentials

Don’t forget to pack…

  • A basic first aid kit - Including plasters and antiseptic for scrapes, antihistamine cream for bites and stings, and some wipes for cleaning mucky hands
  • Sun cream and hats - there’ll be sunny clearings in the woods, and remember that you can still burn on a dull day. Kids need a sunscreen of at least SPF 30 with UVA protection. Apply it 20 minutes before going outside, and reapply every two hours, or more often if the kids are running around and getting sweaty. Don’t forget the bits that are easy to miss, such as ears
  • Insect repellent - To ward off bugs and ticks. Read more about how to protect against ticks
  • Enough water - Or other drinks as kids can get dehydrated after all that energetic play

Have fun on your outdoor adventure! What are your best tips for safety outdoors?

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