Campfire Safety for Kids
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Personally, I am of the persuasion that kids need to be kids. I want my kids to go out and experience life! I am not a "helicopter parent" constantly hoovering above them, making sure they do not do anything that may cause a paper cut. No, I think kids need to be free to make mistakes, get some bumps and bruises, and live life to the fullest!
But that doesn't mean I want them playing leapfrog with a campfire! I do, however, let them start fires in campfire pits (with supervision) at age 9 and 11. Here are our campfire safety for kids tips that we follow.
Keep at least 10 feet away from all buildings, vehicles, tents, and other objects
When learning how to start a campfire, the first most important campfire safety for kids rule is to make sure you have enough room between your campfire and your property! Starting a fire too close for comfort might cause an hefty insurance claim!
Clear a 10 foot radius around your fire
Also important is to pick up all debris and flammable materials within a 10 foot radius. Sparks can fly!
Always build your fire in a campfire pit. NEVER directly on the ground!
Many campgrounds do not allow open fires. If the campground or camping area you are staying in does not have a designated fire pit, chances are they do not allow fires! And as for campfire safety for kids, its just a good idea not to start a fire without a preexisting pit.
Keep it small. A 2'x2'x2' fire is big enough to have lots of fun!
This is not an example of go big or go broke. A small fire is more manageable for kids, and is big enough for stories, songs and snacks.
Keep a supply of water near your fire
Always set up a bucket of water before you start your fire. You never know when a big gust of wind will come by to blow embers out of the fire pit. Plus, when it's time for you to put out the fire, the water is there already.
Keep a shovel nearby to shovel sand on if the fire gets out of control
Just as a campfire safety for kids rule, always keep a shovel nearby for all campfire activities!
Stack extra firewood upwind
This is one I never really thought of. We used to always just pile the firewood near the ring. But now, we keep it outside that 10 foot radius too!
Never leave campfire unattended
Someone should always stay and babysit the fire.
We typically burn a fire for most of the afternoon/evening, and its not uncommon for us to burn one in the morning as well. Someone needs to stay outside with it at all times.
Don't plop wood down on top of fire
When you plop wood, it creates flying sparks! Ever burned through a camping chair before? I have. It isn't fun. (It was just a small hole.)
Throw used matches into fire
We personally use an Aim N Flame to start our fires, but if you're using matches, just toss them into the fire to dispose of them to avoid setting something else on fire.
Stand back 2-3 feet from fire
We keep our camping chairs 3 feet back from the fire, allowing us to stand up if desired and not be too close. Remember the burned chair? Yeah. This rule was implemented later.
When finished, thoroughly douse fire with water and stir
I see a lot of people who just let their campfires "burn out" instead of properly putting them out with water. It blows my mind! Campfires take hours and hours to go out on their own. One time we threw water on a fire but didn't properly stir the embers and the next morning we were able to reignite the fire without more flame or kindling! Fires need to be put out properly, or you might find yourself out of a home come morning!
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