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Guide to Caravan Safety

Updated 13th June 2106

When you are on holiday in your caravan, you’ll probably be relaxed and in a holiday frame of mind – which is just as it should be! That doesn’t mean, however, that you should take a more relaxed view of your and your family’s personal safety in your tourer or static home – accidents can still happen, wherever you are.

Read on for our top tips on what to remember …

Carbon monoxide poisoning

Carbon monoxide is an odourless, tasteless gas that can make you feel very unwell and can even kill. According to the NHS website the gas kills around 50 people a year and is known as the “silent killer”.

Poorly installed, maintained or faulty cooking and heating devices are the main cause of accidental exposure to carbon monoxide. Although correctly fitted and well maintained appliances should produce very little CO gas, even barbecues, for example, can produce carbon monoxide when they are working well.

That is why you should take preventative steps as well as look out for the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning which include headaches, feeling sick, stomach pains, confusion, tiredness and shortness of breath.

Simple things you can do to prevent / lessen the risk of carbon monoide poisoning include:

  • invest in a portable carbon monoxide detector, for home and caravan use;
  • always cook barbeques outdoors – never take them in to an awning or caravan;
  • have any gas appliances within your caravan serviced regularly;
  • if you are looking to warm up a motorhome or caravan, use a heater designed for that specific use, and don’t try and make do – stoves and barbecues are designed for cooking – not heating up space!

Useful resources:

http://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/learn/carbon_monoxide_kills.aspx

http://www.hse.gov.uk/gas/domestic/co.htm

http://www.co-bealarmed.co.uk/2012/10/millions-still-at-risk-from-carbon-monoxide-poisoning/

 

Insects and bugs

Annoying insects are what they say on the tin – annoying. Bites from bugs and nibbles from nasties aren’t pleasant, but, in most cases, are not dangerous. That doesn’t mean you have to put up with them.

Chemists such as Boots sell insect repellents that can be sprayed on or rubbed in (as well as plug in devices too).  Or visit one of a number of online caravan accessory shops (see resources below) which have some ideas of how to ward off the bugs.

That said, any bite should be taken seriously – for example, some ticks may carry Lyme’s Disease – and some puncture sites can get infected.  Keeping a first aid kit in your caravan – and maybe even taking some basic first aid courses – will help keep you safe.

If you are enjoying an evening outside, try using citronella candles to deter the biters. While it may not give 100% protection in high risk areas, if you are in the UK, it should be enough to scare off the nasties.

Useful resources:

http://www.gooutdoors.co.uk/expert-advice/insect-repellent-

http://www.caravanaccessoryshop.co.uk/index.php?_a=viewCat&catId=186

http://www.towsure.com/category/Insect_Repellents_2

Sun safety

Many caravanners venture abroad for their holidays to chase the sun, but even in the UK, we are still vulnerable to sunburn. Don’t get caught out by cloudy skies or by thinking that, because you are in the UK, you won’t get burnt!

No matter where you go – here or overseas – if you are going in the summer, then make sure you take sunscreen, hats and lots of water.

If you have children with you, make sure you reapply their sunscreen regularly – and again after swimming. There are a number of children’s sun creams on the market with high SPFs (sun protection factors) which will help keep them safe in the sun.

Look out for signs of heat stroke (confusion, fainting, dizziness etc) and if you have pets with you, make sure they are never shut in anywhere (such as a car or a hot caravan) and they have free access to water.

Useful resources:

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/travelhealth/Pages/SunsafetyQA.aspx

http://www.sunsmart.org.uk/

http://www.woodgreen.org.uk/pet_advice/337_sun_safety_for_animals

http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/health_advice/facts/sunchildren.htm

General safety

Falling over tent ropes, tent pegs or on uneven ground (say, when you are in a farmer’s field) are probably something most caravanners are familiar with. While these are common mishaps, sometimes they can cause more than just grazes and cuts.

Carrying a torch after dark so you can make your way safely back to your caravan is one thing you can do to avoid mishaps.

Also, if you have mobile steps with your caravan, do secure them if you can – they can slip, especially in wet weather.

As mentioned in the “insects” section above, make sure you have a first aid kit in your caravan so you can deal with any minor scrapes and bumps. Also, anti bacterial hand-gel is another must – particularly useful if you have children with you who like to pick up animal droppings!

Useful resources:

http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/990.aspx

http://www.rospa.com/leisuresafety/adviceandinformation/leisuresafety/camping-safety.aspx

http://www.lovetheoutdoors.com/camping/safety.htm

Electricity

All of us are aware of the dangers of electricity – and mixed with the often damp environment of caravanning and camping, it can be fatal. A lack of power sockets in your caravan can lead to systems being overloaded and using household appliances in your caravan is dangerous.

The Camping and Caravanning Club have two really in depth and useful guides: Electricity for Campers and Caravanners Data Sheet and Electricity in Tents Data Sheet.

Plus, check out the Caravan Club’s Guide here: http://www.caravanclub.co.uk/media/1026258/hookinguptothemains.pdf

More useful resources:

http://www.caravantalk.co.uk/library/files/Beginners-Guide-To-Electrics.pdf

http://www.ukcampsite.co.uk/chatter/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=8&TopicID=299459

Insurance

It may seem strange having insurance within this guide, but you would be surprised how many people actually don’t bother with caravan insurance – only to realise its importance when it is too late.

No matter whether yours is a tourer or static caravan, insurance is a must. Our own figures show that the average insured value of a static caravan is £15,000 and for a tourer, it is £9,333 – so we are talking about serious sums of investment.

Anything may happen to your caravan, whether it is accidental damage, theft or even a guest claiming against you for an injury that occurred on your premises. The costs could run to hundreds of thousands of pounds, which may have been avoided if you had cover in place.

Some people also misguidedly believe that their motor insurance will cover the tourer in its entirety – this is typically not the case and it is just the liability part of that is covered. For example, if you are involved in a road accident whilst towing, and it is your fault, any damage to your caravan would not be covered. It needs its own separate cover.

Useful resources:

www.cover4caravans.co.uk

http://www.touringandtenting.com/index.html/_/articles/caravanning-and-camping-news/top-5-strangest-caravan-insurance-claims-r278

Finally …

We hope this short guide proves useful for you on your next trips. Don’t forget to check out the rest of our website for useful information and links – simply use the “search” box at the top of each page of our website to find what you are looking for.