As we head into the summer, many Brits will be hitting the road with their tent, campervan or caravan, to spend their summer holidays enjoying the great outdoors. However, camping does bring with it an element of risk and accidents are not uncommon. To reduce the risk of an injury impacting on your holiday, we share our top tips for safe camping this summer.
Campfires, BBQs and Cooking Accidents
Camping trips are synonymous with BBQs and campfires. But inevitably, if you're cooking on a naked flame or sitting around an open fire, then accidents can happen.
If you have a campfire, ensure that logs are cut down to the correct size, keep the fire relatively small and ensure that everyone is a safe distance from it. Burning embers can float down onto the surrounding area so make sure there's nothing nearby that's flammable (including clothing).
For both BBQs and campfires, make sure that these are set up on level ground, a safe distance from tents, caravans, trees and buildings. Keep a bucket of water and a shovel to hand in case you need them. It's also a good idea to remove any potential trip hazards from the area and make sure children are fully briefed on the dangers of fire.
Many popular camping and caravanning locations are in areas with challenging or dangerous terrain.
Uneven ground can increase the risk of a nasty fall, particularly at night. Keep a torch on you at all times, particularly if you're walking around in the dark. Steep or slippery ground can also be treacherous – having the appropriate footwear will make a big difference.
Many holiday parks are either perched on cliffs, located alongside rivers or nestled in mountains, so it's important to know where you and the rest of your group are at all times and to be fully aware of your surroundings.
Also remember it's likely that there will be lots of vehicles moving around as people come and go from the campsite. Motorhomes and cars towing caravans are large vehicles with multiple blind spots, so be cautious.
Bites and Stings
The great outdoors are home to a host of weird and wonderful creatures. Some friendly, some not so friendly. It's a good idea to do some research on what you're likely to encounter before your trip. You may benefit from taking insect repellent along or you may simply want to be conscious of where you set up camp.
Take some bite and sting cream with you, just in case you need it, and make sure that any bites or stings are kept clean to reduce the risk of infection.
Sunburn & Heatstroke
While many of us will associate a camping holiday with sideways rain, sometimes the clouds will part and the sun will show its face. It's wise to be prepared for this eventuality. Take plenty of sun screen with you and wear sunglasses with UV protection.
Make sure that you stay hydrated and seek out shade when necessary to stave off heatstroke. Children are more prone to heatstroke, so make sure that they aren't exposed to the heat for too long.
The main water-associated risk that we all think of is drowning, and for good reason. It's so important to make sure that everyone looks out for each other and no one is ever out of their depth when swimming in the sea, a river or a lake. Strong, unexpected currents can quickly lead to disaster so it's essential that everyone stays together and knows where is and isn't safe to go.
Even in shallower water, there's a risk of slipping on rocks or stepping on something sharp. Jumping or diving into water without knowing what's below the surface can also be lethal.
If You Have an Accident
Even when you take all the necessary precautions, accidents do still happen. If you have been injured in an accident on holiday which wasn't your fault, you may be entitled to compensation.
While campsite management cannot manage all of the risks detailed above, they do have a duty of care to ensure that visitors are not put at any unnecessary risk. If the floor was wet in the toilet block with no warning signs, for example, and someone slipped over as a result, then the management of the campsite may have failed in their duty of care.
Other members of the public are also responsible for ensuring that their actions are not putting anyone at risk. For example, if a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle moving through the campsite because the driver has failed to see them, then the driver could possibly be held accountable for this.
If you do have the misfortune to suffer an injury while on holiday, record as many details as possible, taking photos of the scene of the accident and the cause if you're able to do so safely. Report the accident to whoever owns or manages the land and take down contact details of any witnesses.
When accidents take place on property or land owned by somebody else, it may be possible to bring what is called an Occupiers' Liability Claim. Our Personal Injury Solicitors can deal with these claims on a No Win No Fee basis.
We can assess the details of your accident and offer expert legal advice on what to do next, free of charge.