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Tips for camping with babies and children

Camping is a great way for children to appreciate and enjoy the great outdoors by taking part in activities that bring you together as a family. Here are some tips to help you plan a fun camping trip and ensure that everybody stays safe.

Finding a Family-Friendly Camp Site

Although many campsites are child friendly, not all will meet your specific needs. Find a camp site that has good reviews for family-friendliness and that fulfils all of your requirements. Coolcamping.com is a great place to start, offering sites that only accept tents and campervans, and which offer separate camping areas for families. With generous pitches your family can enjoy the space without feeling like they’re camping on top of each other. There are sites that offer hot showers all day, which is a must for many families with young children, and grounds which are in a great location for walking and cycling activities.

Packing for Children

Making sure that you’ve packed the essentials will help your camping experience run smoothly. Here is a list to help you pack successfully for a camping trip with young children and babies.

  • Layers for colder weather
  • Woolly / Sun hats, depending on the forecast
  • Thermal wear to keep children and babies warm
  • A sling carrier for babies
  • Swim suits and life jackets, if appropriate
  • Nightlights and some glow sticks to keep an eye on your adventurous children
  • Travel beds and bassinets for colder evenings inside a tent
  • A training potty if one is still needed
  • A family cutlery set, preferably one that’s specially designed for camping
  • Easy meals that don’t need to be cooked in case rain prevents a campfire
  • A drinks cooler
  • A booster with a tray for meal time with a baby
  • A thermos to keep a warm feeding bottle at the ready
  • Buckets and spades, fishing nets and other toys/tools for fun activities
  • A pop-up beach shelter or canopy for relaxing in the shade
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Tissues and wet wipes
  • Anti-itch and antiseptic creams for bites, cuts or rashes
  • A first aid kit, including plasters and bandages
  • Children’s antihistamine for any allergic reactions or hay fever (make sure you ask your GP or pharmacist for advice on dosage and side effects).
  • Backpacks for activities away from the site

 

Making Your Camp Site Safer for Children

Camping is a great way to have some family fun, but with it come a number of risks including trip hazards from cables and scolds from campfires. Here are some ways to make your campsite safer for children.

  • Make the tension cables on your tent more noticeable by marking them out with visible material, such as coloured flags and tinfoil, or by choosing cables in a colour that contrasts with the colour of the ground.
  • Keep a bucket of water near any lit fires and make sure that children don’t go too close to any open flames. Avoid activities that require a lot of movement if there is a campfire nearby.
  • Mark off any areas that pose a significant risk to children with visible ropes, such as areas with poisonous plants or dangerous terrain.
  • Mark out nearby holes and dips with flags or noticeable poles.

 

Camping Games and Activities

Here are some ways to encourage young children to embrace the outdoors by keeping them entertained with fun games and activities.

Scavenger Hunt

Have your children collect items such as pine-cones, shells, flowers of particular colours, feathers and leaves. Create a checklist and have them compete to be the first to find all of the items.

Campfire Story Game

Gather round the fire and take it in turns to come up with one sentence that progresses a story. Children get very creative and will have a lot of fun using their imagination to conjure up some great tales.

Nature Trail

Stretch your legs and get some fresh air by heading out onto a nature trail. Using a guidebook create a guessing game to play with your children. They can have some competitive fun and learn about the different wildlife around them.

What to pack when flying pregnant

Pregnant and flying abroad? Packing your hand luggage carefully is the best way to ensure a comfortable, safe and trouble free trip. But what if you’re not sure what to pack?

Don’t despair, as we’ve come up with a handy guide to the travel essentials that will make your flight an enjoyable one

Keeping comfortable

  • The rapid changes your body undergoes during pregnancy can result in sore muscles and an achy back, so it’s worth packing a small cushion or pillow in your cabin bag. If space is tight, why not buy an inflatable version? You could also consider packing a lightweight bump band, which wraps around your bump for extra support.
  • Because flying during pregnancy can slightly increase your risk of blood clots, your carry-on luggage should definitely include a pair of compression socks. These will help to keep your circulation flowing during the flight, meaning that you’re less likely to suffer from swollen feet or ankles.
  • When it comes to your outfit, go for comfortable but versatile options like leggings or a maxi dress. Add a cardigan or jacket in case you feel cool and wear a pair of flat supportive slip on shoes, as these will be easy to remove when you go through security.
  • Flying is the perfect opportunity to rest and unwind, so why not use the time to get lost in a good book or record your thoughts in a pregnancy travel journal? Alternatively, pack an eye mask and enjoy some well-deserved shut-eye. After all, growing a baby is hard work!

Health and beauty

  • Having a baby on board means taking extra care of your health and wellbeing, so pack accordingly. Make sure you pop some hand sanitizer and wipes in your hand luggage, as these will enable you to stay clean and fresh on board.
  • Moisturiser, lip balm and a spray mister will also come in handy while you’re flying, because air conditioning can dehydrate your skin. And don’t forget to take blister pads for your feet, as even well fitting footwear can rub.
  • If you’re travelling to a hot country, it’s a good idea to pack some high factor sun cream in your cabin bag. This can be applied shortly before you arrive at your destination. You could also consider packing some insect repellent, as mosquitoes love mums to be! While Insect repellents containing up to 50% Deet are considered safe for pregnant women to use, natural alternatives containing citronella are also available.

Food and drink

  • Your travel bag should always contain a few nutritious nibbles, so that delays or tasteless airline food don’t leave you feeling hungry. Dried and fresh fruit, cereal bars, nuts and biscuits make ideal snacks. If you’re still battling morning sickness, try eating little and often and if you’re suffering from heartburn, don’t forget your antacids!
  • Staying hydrated is very important when you’re pregnant, so pack at least one bottle of water in your hand luggage once you’ve passed through the security scanners. If you’re taking vitamins, bring these with you too.

It can also be useful to carry a list of foods you should avoid eating in order to protect your developing baby. These include unpasteurised cheeses like Brie and Camembert, undercooked meat, raw fish and pate.

Whether the tap water is safe to drink depends on your destination, so check this with your travel agent. If you have any doubts, always buy bottled water and avoid eating salads washed in tap water.

Travel documents

  • Suffering from pregnancy related forgetfulness? Then we recommend double checking that you’ve packed your passport just before you leave home. If you’re hiring a car, you’ll also need to bring your driving licence.
  • As well as packing your holiday insurance documents, it’s worth making a separate note of the insurer’s helpline number. Keep this in your travel bag and give a copy to your travelling companion, just in case your luggage gets lost en route.
  • If you’re flying while pregnant you’ll also need to carry your maternity notes with you. After 28 weeks, most airlines will require an additional letter from your midwife or doctor confirming that you’re fit to fly. If this applies to you, ask your airline whether they have a standard letter you can print out for your GP to sign.
  • It’s also important to find out which number you should call if you require emergency treatment while you’re away. Your travel agent will be able to give you this, as well as details of local hospitals and doctors.

Finally, don’t forget to bring a list of key contact numbers, so that you can inform family members, friends and pet sitters about any travel delays.

 

We hope our packing tips have helped you to feel fully prepared for your flight. All you have to do now is kick back, relax and enjoy the journey.

Holiday First Aid Kit

Holiday First Aid Kit for kids

Accidents can happen at any time, so it’s extremely important that you’re prepared for them. Not all medical emergencies need to go through a GP or doctor; many small accidents, such as grazes, blisters and splinters, can be treated instantly with the help of a first aid kit.

We asked Dr Lotte Newman, a St John Ambulance Medical Advisor, about the importance of first aid kits:

“Having a fully stocked first aid kit on hand can make all the difference when an accident happens, whether it’s in the home, on the road, on holiday or in the workplace. The kit should be kept in a convenient location, with items being replaced immediately after they have been used. It’s also important to regularly check the kits to ensure that the appropriate items are not out of date. Coupled with a knowledge of first aid, using a first aid kit could mean the difference between life and death.”

So, having a first aid kit about you is basically essential. It’s probably the most essential item in your holiday suitcase. Below is a guide to exactly what you need to pack in your first aid kit when you’re packing for a holiday.

Essentials

1. Thermometer

You can get so many varieties of thermometers, such as glass sticks, plastic, and the newer sticky forehead strips which are easy to read. They’re particularly useful for babies and young children. There are also digital ear thermometers which give you accurate readings in no time.

Note: Normal body temperate is 37 degrees Celsius and any value above 38 degrees is defined as a fever.

2. Antiseptic

This is vital for skin injuries which cause the skin to break, such as cuts, bites and stings, since it is easy for germs to enter the bloodstream through these injuries. Antiseptic comes in different forms:

  • Solutions contain germ-killing agents; the most popular brands are Dettol Wound Wash, TCP and Savlon. Make sure your supply is in date and that the lid is securely fastened in order to prevent contamination. Apply the solution using sterile cotton wool. For smaller injuries, wash the wound with clean running water first, before using the solution to protect it against infection. Once cleaned and dried, apply a plaster or dressing to the area to cover it.
  • Sprays usually contain mild, fast-acting local anaesthetic to relieve pain from minor burns, bites, stings and grazes.
  • Wipes are a more practical way to clean cuts and grazes while also preventing infection. Take a fresh wipe and begin cleaning the wound by gently removing dirt and germs in an outward direction from the wound.

3. Eye wash

For these solutions, it’s best to carry small, individually packed solutions, as larger packs may get contaminated. Break the seal and squeeze the vial to allow the eye wash to thoroughly rinse the eye. Do not use them if their seal is broken. An alternative to the eye wash is boiled water that has been cooled down.

4. Plasters

Plasters are multipurpose essentials that come in various shapes and sizes. You could pack a variety of them:

  • Fabric: For long-lasting protection with extra sticking power.
  • Waterproof: Allow air to pass but prevent water and germs coming into contact with skin.
  • Hypoallergenic: Suitable for sensitive skin, easily removable.
  • Haemostatic: Help to stop bleeding and promote the clotting function of blood.
  • Cushioned: Provide extra protection against knocks and bumps.
  • Blister plasters: Specialised plasters for healing blisters. The blister area must be clean and dry and the plaster should be applied so that the blister is in the centre. If the blister does not heal or becomes infected, you should seek medical attention.

5. Dressings

Dressings are used to cover bigger wounds. They are like plasters, but provide extra cover and protection because they are larger. There are different types of dressings for different purposes:

  • Hydrocolloid: Used for small cuts and grazes which bleed continuously, as these dressings are designed to absorb excess fluid.
  • Waterproof film: Clear dressing for dry wounds, simply to keep water out while you monitor the healing process through the transparent film.
  • Skin closures: Thin and sticky antiseptic strips designed to hold the edges of deep cuts and grazes together.

Minor cuts and grazes, that are not continuously bleeding, should be cleaned under cold running water, sterilised with antiseptic and covered with a plaster or dressing after drying the area.

Minor burns and scalds should be cooled under rapidly running cold water for ten minutes and covered with a sterile non-fluffy dressing.

6. Antihistamines

These chemicals provide fast-acting relief against mild allergic reactions like hay fever. They are usually taken to relieve symptoms such as sneezing, itching, watery eyes or a runny nose. The best companies are Piriton and Zirtec, with one tablet providing 24-hour relief and is suitable for children over 6 years. Antihistamines are also available as creams; these reduce swelling and soothe insect bites and stings.

7. Painkillers

These are absolutely essential as a headache or muscle cramps can begin at any time. They include Paracetamol, Aspirin and Junior syrup pain relief. Paracetamol is often recommended by doctors for fast-acting pain relief and is suitable for several problems, including fever, cold, flu and muscle pain. However, it is important to stick to the appropriate dose as given on the box.

Aspirin may cause stomach irritation for some people, especially if taken on an empty stomach, and has been linked with Reyes Syndrome in some childhood illnesses. Children should be given junior preparations such as Calpol.

Ensure that the painkillers are stored in a clean, dry place and that they are in date. For administering children’s preparations, you should pack a 5ml dose spoon or cup.

8. Rehydration solution

These come as sachets of powder containing a mixture of salts and sugars, and is dissolved in water and drunk in the event of sickness or diarrhoea.

9. Travel sickness pills

These are especially important for people who are prone to travel sickness. Popular companies are Quells and Kalms. You can now also get travel band bracelets which work on pressure points on your wrists and are especially useful for drivers or someone who needs to stay awake as they do not cause drowsiness.

A great natural remedy for motion sickness is ginger; ginger biscuits or grated ginger wrapped in cling film to chew on during a journey are always a good idea to pack.

Extras

Latex gloves

When giving someone first aid, you must ensure that you are not adding to the risk of infection, for the injured person and for yourself. Keep a pair of latex gloves in your kit and use them when dealing with blood or vomit in particular.

Sharp scissors and safety pins
Always keep a clean pair of scissors and clean pins in your first aid kit in case you need them.

Tweezers

Tweezers are handy in case you need to remove small pieces of wood, metal or glass stuck in the skin. Sterilize the area and use the tweezers to pull out the splinter. Next, gently squeeze the wound and clean any fluid, and cover the area with a plaster. If you cannot remove the splinter, seek medical advice.

Crepe and support bandages

These bandages are useful in the event of a strain or sprain. The way to put them on is by slightly elevating the limb to a resting position and applying an ice pack. The bandage would be wrapped or pulled over the ice compress to help reduce pain and swelling. Applying Arnica cream can help reduce bruising and inflammation.

Ice pack or gel packs

These should be stored in the fridge and taken out only when needed. Apply them to bumps or bruises to reduce swelling. You could even use a pack of frozen peas instead, but make sure to wrap it in a clean tea towel before using it on the skin, as direct contact with ice can cause a cold burn.

Calamine lotion

This is used to soothe irritated skin, rashes and sunburn. You can also get gels and mousses for more severe rashes, like with chickenpox.

Giving Paracetamol and Ibuprofen to your child

Liquid forms of both paracetamol and ibuprofen can be found in pharmacies and supermarkets that are suitable for babies and young children. Use an oral syringe to measure and administer the medicine to your child.

  • Older children may be able to swallow the tablets with water.
  • There are also soluble tablets available, which are only suited to children aged 12 or over.
  • Remember, keep all medicines out of children’s reach and sight.

Emergency contact numbers:

Be sure to have the following contact information if you’re traveling abroad, in case you experience a serious medical problem:

  • Emergency phone number for ambulance
  • Phone number and address of the nearest hospital to where you’re staying
  • Phone number of your hotel or accommodation manager who may help in the event of an emergency.

Don’t hesitate to seek urgent medical help if the person has:

  • Stopped breathing
  • Is unconscious and if their lips are going blue.
  • Has a deep wound, or is bleeding badly.
  • Has a serious burn or chemicals in their eyes.
  • Consumed something poisonous.
  • Broken a bone.
  • Been bitten by an animal or snake.
  • Punctured an eye or ear.

Your hospital bag: What to pack

what to baby in hospital bag

Even if you are planning to have a home birth, it is still worth packing a hospital bag, just in case you need to go in. Packing it early, means you avoid any last minute panics.

Here is a list of items to pack:

For You:

  • Dressing gown
  • Slippers (ones that are easy to get on)
  • Socks
  • Old night dress for labour
  • Spare night dress
  • Lip balm
  • Snacks and drinks (glucose tablets)
  • Books, magazines and iPad
  • Hair ties
  • Pillows – a V shaped pillow is very useful
  • Music
  • Water spray
  • Handheld fan
  • Bendy straws
  • Tech chargers (phone)
  • Going home outfit
  • Nursing bras
  • Breast pads
  • Toiletries
  • Towels
  • Old underwear
  • Eye mask
  • Ear plugs
  • Empty bag (you will bring home gifts etc)

For your baby:

  • 5 x baby grows
  • 5 x vests
  • Baby blanket
  • Nappies (12 per day)
  • Muslin squares
  • 3 x hats
  • Baby car seat
  • Jacket or snowsuit
  • Gloves

Download and print checklist

What to pack in your baby changing bag

Above: You can never be over prepared when going out and about with babies or young children.

What you need in your baby changing bag depends on a number of factors: How old is your child? where are you going? What is the climate? Are you breast feeding?

In this video, Becky, our bag designer, give tips on what to pack in your changing bag.


For your baby

  • Changing mat
  • Nappies
  • Baby Wipes
  • Nappy bags
  • Bibs
  • Nappy cream
  • Muslin squares
  • Food/snacks
  • Water
  • Teether
  • Travel toy
  • Spare change of clothes..or two
  • Blanket/swaddle
  • Pacifier
  • Hat
  • Calpol Sachet
  • Coat/Cardigan
  • Socks
  • Bottles
  • Formula
  • Play mat/picnic rug

Download and print the checklist

And some ideas for you:

For you

  • Phone
  • Money
  • Keys
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Tissues
  • Book, iPad or magazine
  • Nursing cover for breast feeding
  • Breast pads/nipple cream
  • Spare top
  • Bottle of water

Download and print the checklist

Can you add anything else to our list? Useful life-hacks that you couldn’t have done without? Please email rebecca@zellie.co.uk and we will add it to the list.