Campfire safety for the whole family

We all have fond childhood memories of a crackling campfire. It can be the highlight of a camping trip!

Let’s keep those memories positive by making sure even the littlest members of the family know the ins and outs of fire safety.

Parents: if you and your family are enjoying a campfire during your trip, make sure you follow these safety tips.

Chopping firewood

The first place to practice safety happens before you even strike a match.

Stacked bags of firewood.

You may need to chop wood before building your fire. If so, make sure your children are a safe distance away before you take the first swing.

Don’t let your child handle the axe, and make sure you safely store it out of reach of small hands.

For more on axe safety, check out this blog.

Building your fire

Keep in mind that small fires are safer, easier to control, and easier to put out. By law, your fire cannot be more than one metre in height and one metre in diameter.

Two children look at firewood on a picnic table.

Building your campfire is a great opportunity to educate your child about fire safety. While you discuss the merits of the log cabin and tent methods, let your child know why we always build our campfires in designated fire pits.

Model good behaviour by burning local firewood and not harvesting any logs or sticks from your campsite.

Lighting the fire is best left to the grown-ups. Don’t let your child play with matches or lighters.

Sitting around the fire

You’ve got your fire going, and now it’s time to enjoy it!

Family sitting around a campfire.

The most important thing to keep your child safe around a fire is close supervision.

No matter how responsible your child is, they should be watched when near the fire. If you can’t keep a close eye on your child at the moment, don’t start your fire yet.

Extra caution for toddler and very young children: keep them within arm’s length when the campfire’s lit. Accidents can happen very quickly.

Follow these tips for a successful family fire:

  • Let your child know the fire is hot and not to get too close
  • Minimize running and playing once the fire is going
  • Set your chairs up a safe distance from the flames, and make it a rule for your child to always walk around the back of the circle of chairs
  • Watch for flying embers
  • Always keep a bucket of water nearby

Toasting marshmallows

S’mores are definitely an essential part of any camping trip!

Two children and parent roasting marshmallows.

We know many children will be eager to toast their own marshmallows! Make sure they use campfire sticks that will put as much space as possible between your child and the fire.

Remind your child not to fling or flail burning marshmallows. Blowing on them is a much safer tactic.

Child eating marshmallow.
Using a metal tool? Remind them that metal can get hot and to use care when taking the marshmallow off the stick

Practicing safety in all areas is the key to an enjoyable visit for you and your family.

We hope you’ll practice these fire safety tips on your next trip!