Here are some suggestions that can be used for family recreation. They will help you plan how to have a safer, happier, ad more comfortable summer of camping or other outdoor activities. Have fun in the sun.
SOON thousands of you will hit the highways and head for the beaches, the parks, the forests for just any postage-stamp size of public land you can find. You will be searching for a release from the ordinary routine of daily life. Whether you camp, picnic, swim, boat, cook out or just amble and enjoy the sights and sounds of the Creator's wondrous work, IT IS CHANGE you are after. You arrive home "dead tired" but rejuvenated physically, mentally, and spiritually — ready to face the week ahead and looking forward to the next outing. No matter what the activity or where it takes place — in the backyard or a thousand miles away — you should PLAN it. Recognize how you can make it a delightful experience by being prepared. A few suggestions about camping, health, and safety are being given to help you plan ahead. Act on them and you will — BE COMFORTABLE — BE HAPPY — BE SAFE.
Those of you who have put real effort into planning your excursions know the rewards. You are repaid by the joy and tranquility of a wonderful experience — a time to be remembered. Some of you did not plan and the end result was frayed tempers, turmoil, and a terrible time. Change this the next time by making a plan that would be dictated by such factors as: What is the purpose? Where shall we go? How long will we stay? How much will it cost? In other words, it boils down to your using a familiar Boy Scout formula of WHY, WHAT, WHEN, AND WHERE. Follow this formula and you are guaranteed good results. Many families like to get out frequently and their planning starts early. They discuss plans and make a suggestion box for summer activities. During the winter months, they decide what they would like to do. A road map then becomes a valuable ally, not only because it shows the way, but also it suggests places to go. Circles of various radii (50, 100, 150 miles), depending on the amount of time available, can be placed on the map by using your home town as the center. Very often within these circles are found recreational areas, historical landmarks, zoos, museums or scenic sites. A great deal of information is available about such places if you are willing to seek it. (State and U. S. Information Agencies are good sources) Finally, the place to go is chosen. This decision, of course, determines what you will need in the way of clothing and equipment. The only safe way to be certain that you have everything is to make a check list. Then USE IT! The fun ceases with, "Oh, NO, I forgot" — the food, matches or whatever other essential you may have left behind. Successful and enjoyable activities are planned ahead of time. They do follow an overall principle found in the Bible — that things are to be done decently and in an orderly manner (I Cor. 14:40). Without order, the activity undertaken will probably end in near chaos. If you believe in and fear God, you will abhor harum-scarum, willy-nilly confusion because God is NOT the author of confusion (I Cor. 14:33). Even after advanced planning there are many things that can affect your trip. The following generalizations will be of value to your health, safety, and comfort.
How About Your Children
Your decision has been made as to where you are going. BUT WAIT. Arrangements for the children must be made. If they are poor campers or travelers and would cause no end of bother, you might think — why not leave them with Aunt Mary. NO! Don't Do THIS, as God emphasizes the family unit throughout the Scriptures. Take them. Train them so that this unity is preserved. (Send for our free booklet, The Plain Truth About Child Rearing) Family projects can result in priceless memories and a close-knit, happy family. Children are by nature inquisitive little explorers, so you must select a safe site for your activity. A place close enough for you to see and supervise over any dangerous condition. For instance, be close enough to a waterfront area so that you can see it. You will be able to see your child, and if he wanders toward danger, you can take action before it is too late. Incidentally, many waterfront areas are now composed of beach, broken bottles, and rusty tin cans. A wise rule to follow at an unfamiliar or unsupervised area is to wear an old pair of tennis shoes, especially when wading or playing on the beach. Sleeping bags can be dangerous. If you have had the bag cleaned recently, it was probably done with naphtha. You should air the bag thoroughly because children often burrow into them and if the fumes are still present, they could be lethal. A few such deaths have been reported in the United States. Another hazard to children is that of plastic bags. Due to their convenience, these are often used to cover suits, protect bedding, or as other protective coverings around a camp. THESE ARE DANGEROUS! There is a tendency for them to cling to the skin — especially the face — just like a mask. Their advantages of being water-proof and dust-proof can harbor the hidden enemy of also being air-proof. Air will not pass through, causing a person to suffocate. Children are drawn to them like "iron filings to a magnet"; therefore, don't keep them around. When you are finished using them, roll them up, tie knots in them, and discard them in a suitable refuse can. Swimming is a wonderful and invigorating sport, but there are inherent dangers. A few precautions that should be followed are: DON'T dive head first into unknown waters. DON'T swim in water that shows dangerous currents. DON'T swim for at least an hour after a heavy meal. DON'T swim alone but use the buddy system of swimmers, being responsible for each other. Unless wisdom is used, fun could end in tragedy. DON'T let it happen to YOU. A boating family should teach their children not to be afraid of water and how to wear a life jacket. This doesn't mean that the life jacket replaces the skill of swimming, but only that it should be familiar and comfortable when worn while boating. Caution — skiing should be carefully supervised as to water safety rules. There are many and varied hazards around a camp or picnic area, such as fires, fuels, unclean water supply to name a few. However, these can be minimized by training the child to recognize them, avoid them, and to react instantly to the words No and STOP. THE LIFE YOU SAVE MAY BE YOUR OWN CHILD'S!
Through the ages, fire has been a great asset to man, giving him comfort and serving his needs. Don't let this valuable tool become a curse because you were not cautious and careful in its use. The number one rule in the use of fire is to be sure that you have permission and that it is legal in your particular area. A fire of any type should not be started until you have checked possible hazards above and around. The space above should be clear of any low hanging branches. A clearing of 6 to 8 feet around the site of the fire should then be made. It is essential that all ground cover be removed down to the bare soil, as this prevents the spread of fire along roots and leaves. Small precautions! Yes, but prevention is easier than fighting a holocaust. In some areas, even though an open fire can't be started, fuel stoves and lanterns may be used. Do not light them inside tents or automobiles, as there is a danger of flare-up flash fires. This could be disastrous. Incidentally, if your tent should catch fire, collapse it. You can combat and control the flames as well as prevent the spread of sparks much easier when it is flat. Be sure everyone is out of the tent first. Again let me emphasize, do NOT light heaters or lanterns inside a tent. Light them outside, adjust them, and then take them inside. Do put them outside or turn them off before going to sleep. Catalytic or vented heaters are a great deal safer for warmth. Remember! A small campfire is as efficient and is safer than a large one. You should never leave a fire until you are sure it is dead out. Help preserve our forests. As Smokey the bear says, "Only you can prevent forest fires."
Germs like dirt. Germs like food. Therefore, no matter how carefully you prepare your food, it will only be as clean as your cooking area. You should clean all the cooking gear after use and not leave food or refuse lying around. You can keep garbage in sacks or a small covered pail until it is emptied into the receptacles provided. If there are no trash cans, burn your refuse and bury it. But DO NOT let it accumulate. Take care of it after each meal. You should keep food in sealed containers. Incidentally, coffee cans with plastic lids or metal cracker boxes are excellent to store such things as sugar, flour, or other such items. Small plastic bags with soft wire fasteners are also very good for this purpose. If you do these things, you will find you will have fewer unwelcome visitors in the form of flies, ants, and other insects. Food that can spoil should be kept in an ice chest. A few small pieces of dry ice in the bottom of the chest can keep your ice from melting. Such things as potato salad, chicken salad, egg salad, or tuna fish spoil very easily and can cause SEVERE FOOD POISONING! You should store these in shallow containers, refrigerate, and use them in a matter of a few hours. Throw the unused portion away. Don't let illness, due to careless food handling, spoil your outing. Another possible source of trouble around the kitchen area could be the use of old refrigerator shelves as cooking grills. Some of these shelves have been plated with cadmium, a material that prevents rust and keeps them shiny. When these are heated, fumes of cadmium oxide are given off which are toxic and dangerous when inhaled.
Cleanliness and Sanitation
God gave ancient Israel rules pertaining to health and sanitation. These primarily stressed cleanliness and were designed to protect Israel from disease. Such rules were especially needed at that time because the nation was on the move. The conditions of crowded living and roving camps produced all the factors needed to cause a widespread, fast-moving epidemic that could have wiped out the whole Israelite nation. That is one reason why God emphasized that if He found uncleanliness in the camp He would withdraw His protective presence from it (Deut. 23:14). Those very principles are still fundamental concepts of public health and military preventive medicine. Today's crowded conditions and the constant movement of people in their living and recreation makes this same instruction as applicable now as it was then. Sanitation is a form of cleanliness that has to do with not only the physical cleanliness of your picnic or camp area but with the care and disposal of human waste as well. In an emergency, a little imagination and a shovel can solve the disposal problem of such waste. Specific instructions are given in Deut. 23:12-13. Too often these areas look like public dumping grounds rather than the pleasant, clean, attractive areas they were designed to be. Train yourselves as a family to leave the place cleaner than you found it. Be clean. Be considerate. Keep America clean.
The small wooded valley may seem like a beautiful place to pitch a tent but it isn't. Select high ground, because it is cooler during the day, less damp at night, and not subject to flash floods in the event of rain. Another advantage is that the mosquito problem will be lessened. A few minutes picking up rocks, sticks, and other debris from where the floor of your tent will be, pays with many hours of comfort later. If your tent will be on the down slope of a drainage area, make a ditch on the uphill side to divert the water around it. Control that flood before, not after. You should remember ropes and canvas tighten up when wet; therefore, loosen the stay ropes a little if it rains. Otherwise, you may suddenly find your tent falling down. When everything is dry, you can then readjust the tension in these ropes. A canopy over the tent acts both as insulation and as insurance against leakage during a rain. The fly used could be large enough to extend out from the front of the tent to form a porch-like arrangement. This provides a pleasant place to relax and eat. When the fly is properly used as a canopy with from four to six inches between it and the tent proper, the internal temperature of the tent can be reduced by ten to fifteen degrees. You should keep in mind a new tent will leak a little at first, but this type of leakage seals itself after a little seasoning. Remember that when you touch a tent or push something against the inside surface during a rain, IT WILL LEAK. Clothing can be hung on hangers by drilling two one-quarter-inch holes through the ridgepole, twelve, eighteen or twenty-four inches apart. Galvanized or aluminum wire is then threaded through the holes and a rod or pole placed in the wire loops to hold the hangers. Another trick for comfort, unless you are back-packing, is to carry a few old throw rugs to be placed in strategic locations on the tent floor. Rugs not only add to your comfort but make cleaning the tent an easier chore.
Minor accidents can and will happen. Most injuries can be taken care of by remaining calm and the use of common sense. However, accident prevention is the best cure by watching for and eliminating potential hazards. Abrasions, scratches, and cuts should be cleansed with plain soap and water to remove any debris present. The wound can then be cleansed with a mild antiseptic and an appropriate size band-aid applied. Ice packs or cold packs are of value in the immediate treatment of insect stings or bites. These are applied for about two hours. Sometimes it is beneficial to put a bicarbonate-of-soda paste directly on the bite before applying the ice pack. Sprains can also be treated with cold packs for the first twenty-four to thirty-six hours, combined with use of an elastic bandage as a support. If, in spite of all precautions, someone does get burned, a fast, convenient, and competent method of treatment is to immerse or plunge the burned area into cold or even iced water. This relieves the pain immediately and diminishes the eventual burn damage. The burned area may have to be kept under water for a period of thirty minutes to several hours. The burn can then be bandaged, or preferably, if it can be kept clean, left open to the air. Following this, A & D ointment as an emollient may be applied two or three times daily until healing has taken place. Poison ivy, along with poison oak (which really isn't an oak) and poison sumac, are the most common poisonous plants. The entire plant of these contains the same irritant toxic substance that can cause skin rashes of varying severity. If there is the possibility of contact, as soon as possible you should take a good soapy bath using laundry soap. The types of treatments are almost innumerable. The Indians used the juice from stems and leaves of the jewel weed; the present trend is to use one of the many calamine-base lotions. Perhaps the best method to use is to follow the old saying, "Leaflets three — let it be; berries white — poisonous sight" and LEAVE THEM BE. A first aid kit doesn't have to be elaborate. A small tackle box or check file will do very well. In this way, you can carry the items most needed and used by YOUR FAMILY. This kit could contain such things as: soap, mild antiseptic solution (or first aid cream), band-aids, sterile gauze pads, Visine Eye Solution, and tape, to itemize a few.
Fun Can Be Safe
When you begin to write about health, safety and comfort, you could go on and on, but space limits the words. Any activity can be fun, but it involves planning, and you must realize that the risks are a little higher than being at home. One of the very first things to get out of your mind is that it always happens to the other guy not you. The truth is that accidents are caused by or prevented by your own actions. The same type of defensive thinking can be carried forward by using your head, thinking ahead, and trying to see the end result. In other words, the anticipation of needs and troubles may eliminate the possibility of spoiling your activity by illness, injury, or severe discomfort. You are ready to leave. The "gear" is evenly and safely stowed and the passengers are aboard. As you point the nose of the car down the highway, you realize the enjoyment will be in proportion to how well you have planned and prepared. You smile in anticipation and confidence. You have planned well. You will return home a little tired — perhaps — but safe, sound, and happy.