Going on a camping trip as a family can bring a lot of benefits to the youngest member in your clan. The fresh air they’ll breathe as well as the many opportunities for them to learn more about their world are just two of the fantastic reasons why you need to take your infant on a camping trip. However, it is equally important that you bring the most appropriate camping equipment for babies so they can reap the full benefits of such outdoor activities. From portable beds to portable hygiene kits and protective wear and many more, choosing the right outdoor baby gear is a must. Here, we’re sharing with you 10 things that will make camping with a baby truly worthwhile.
What to Look for in the Best Baby Camping Gear
There are many types of products that can aptly be called baby camping gear or equipment. Each of these has its own unique purpose as well as inherent qualities that make them special. However, like the products that we choose for ourselves, these kiddie items are not created equal. Some are definitely of higher quality than the rest. That is why it is important that you know how to choose the right one for your baby. Here are some things that you need to consider when choosing the right camping gear for your precious little child.
- Developmental appropriateness
While it is true that a baby product is especially designed for infants, it doesn’t automatically mean that it’s appropriate for your baby. For example, you may think a high chair is great for babies. But, if your child hasn’t mastered the art of pulling himself or herself in an upright sitting position, then this high chair simply is not appropriate even though it is considered as a bestseller in its category. What we are trying to say is that, even before you start shopping for any item for your infant, it is important that you understand your young kid’s developmental skills. Can he or she sit without support? Is he or she able to exert some control of his or her movements? These are just two of the questions you may need to answer, alongside many other questions about your kid’s developmental abilities, before you can start choosing the right outdoor equipment for him or for her. Check out these mothercare offers for some possible discount codes for outdoor baby gear.
- Safety of the product
Aside from the developmental appropriateness of the product, it is important to check for the camping gear’s safety features. In our example above, a high chair may be deemed just right for your child because he or she is already able to sit on his or her own. However, if there are no safety features such as rail guards or even seat belts, then it still is a lousy item to get for your young angel. The different materials used in the construction of the item should also be considered. Remember that children below the age of 3 years old have this tendency to automatically put anything and everything into their mouths as a means of exploring their world. If the item comes with harmful chemicals like phthalates, lead, bisphenol-A, and many others, then we are simply risking the health and wellness of our babies by exposing them to these chemicals. So, do check out the different materials used in a baby product before you buy. More importantly, make sure there are safety features that can safeguard the welfare of your infant.
- Level of comfort provided
Going outdoors means there are no plush, super-soft, and comfy mattresses to cushion your baby’s body against the hard surface of the earth. The outdoor clothing that they wear may be too warm or simply not warm enough to help very young infants get through another minute in the woods or even in the park. The point is that you also need to check the comfort that these products can provide.
- Ample protection
Whenever you go outdoors, you are essentially at the mercy of the elements. Not only do you have to check the level of comfort that the product provides to your baby, you also need to consider if it can protect him or her at the camp. This is why sunglasses, UV protection, and insect bug sprays are almost always considered as essential things when going on a camping trip.
- Quality of construction
While the safety of a product is always related to its inherent design and construction, it still pays to really consider the strength and durability of the design. Even infant wear should be assessed for their durability. Our example of a high chair, for instance, should be built with a wide and stable stance complete with very secure joints so that infants will not inadvertently fall from these types of baby gadgets and gizmos. Unfortunately, one can never really make a very accurate determination of the quality of a product’s construction until you have given it a try for some time. Sadly, if there are inherent flaws in the design that were not readily apparent during your initial investigation, then it might be too late to avert any accident.
- Reception by other consumers
When there is no way to evaluate or determine the quality and safety of a baby camping gear that you are considering on buying, then looking at the experiences of other consumers can provide you with a greater understanding of the product’s inherent qualities. Many consumers leave invaluable feedback including the pros and cons of a particular item so that other potential customers will have an idea of what they can expect. However, do understand that some negative comments may be considered as trivial or as isolated cases. Do exercise caution when looking at star ratings as these do not accurately reflect a product’s overall usefulness and quality.
Benefits of Camping for Babies
There are some parents who are averse to the idea of bringing their very young children, often below 12 months of age, outdoors or going on a camping trip. For them, babies are simply too young to be exposed to the elements as well as the many potential threats and obstacles going, staying, and leaving the campsite. While these are all valid concerns, young infants can benefit a lot from camping. For older children, the psychological benefits of camping far outweigh any concern for potential safety issue. For younger children especially babies, the benefits can be less apparent but are, nonetheless, very important.
- Optimizes brain development
True. Babies are not explorers yet because they are not yet fully mobile. However, one of the most important developmental milestones of children this age is their sensorimotor development. According to Jean Piaget, this is the stage where infants begin developing a rough understanding of their world using their actions and their senses. The things that they see, hear, feel, and even smell can help trigger the more efficient firing of electrical impulses across the nervous system. This essentially stimulates different areas of the brain to start developing to their fullest. The flowers and the bees, the trees and the birds, and the other living creatures in the wild open space can provide a host of visual, tactile, auditory, and even olfactory stimulation that things or objects in the home simply cannot provide. These things expand the capabilities of the infant brain which will ultimately lead to optimum brain and cognitive development.
- Provides ample opportunity for family bonding
One of the crucial psychosocial developmental tasks of infants is in the establishment of trust – trust in themselves, their primary caregivers, the others around them, and their environment. There are many benefits of camping as a family. For very young kids, the benefits center on the establishment of trust that can only be earned through close family bonds. Because going camping means you have all the time to really focus your attention on each member of the family and not on some fancy gadget like smartphone, laptop, or tablet, infants learn to trust you as his or her primary caregiver. This is important since, a few years from now, your little man or woman will have to go exploring his or her own world. It is going to be tough but he or she knows he or she will make it because he or she trusts you to be there should his or her journey be uneventful.
- Fresh air, and plenty of it
You can never underestimate the benefit of having to breathe high quality, fresh air. Oxygen is what keeps us alive. It keeps our cells and tissues functioning properly. Likewise, the carbon dioxide we breathe out helps plants make food and give off oxygen in the process. So, it’s a win-win situation. The effects of oxygen on infant development are all the more important as the brain is largely dependent on adequate supply of this life-giving gas. Brain cells are dependent on oxygen for these to function normally. Without it, many of the cognitive processes that young children need to develop simply cease.
Types of Baby Camping Gear You May Want to Consider
There is no single type of outdoor baby gear that can do all the different things that you expect whenever you’re outdoors. That is why many parents always make sure to have at least one of each of these types of products every time they plan to head to their favorite camp site.
- Portable baby furniture
While conventional cribs are definitely out of the question, you may need to consider getting portable infant furniture like portable high chairs, baby carriers, portable and mini playpens, and even strollers as these can help you provide both safety and comfort for your young child while out in the open.
- Sleeping essentials
Remember that you may not have the comfort of home to put your infant to sleep when you’re camping. That’s why it’s always a good idea to consider getting sleeping essentials like bedtime toys, receiving blankets, nightlights, music, and even a portable crib with mosquito net.
- Play essentials
Infants still need plenty of playtime even when they are out camping. That’s why on-the-go toys are such a huge hit when it comes to outdoor play. You may also want to consider bringing security toys. Portable playpens should also do the trick.
- Grooming and hygiene
Would you bring your baby to the river for a bath? Again, the trick is to bring camping gears that are designed with optimum portability.
- Outdoor wear
This cannot be overemphasized as not wearing the correct outdoor or camping wear can undermine the positive experience for your baby. Always consider infant wear that is both comfortable and protective against the elements and insects or bugs.
- Outdoor protection
Insect bug sprays and UV protection products are all essential things when you and your baby are going outdoors. You may also consider products that have built-in external protection from insects, dust and dirt, and even UV radiation. Tents and portable cribs with built-in nets can help in this aspect.
The Bottom Line
Going camping with a baby can bring a host of benefits to your young child’s early development. It’s also a great way to strengthen family ties. In choosing the right camping gear for your kid, it is essential to look at its appropriateness, safety, comfort, security, and other features that your baby will need.