Follow These Picnic Safety Tips
for a Safe Day Out

Safety Sign

Here are some picnic safety tips to help you prevent common accidents that can happen in the great outdoors. Unfamiliar surroundings, sun exposure and  wildlife can all be hazards if you are not prepared for them.

Don't be put off by the thought of dangers in the outdoors. They are really very small, but it is best to be prepared and take some simple precautions then everyone on a picnic will enjoy themselves.

Most of these tips boil down to using common sense and not taking stupid risks

Learn Basic First Aid

Cuts, scrapes, bruises or burns can be common on a picnic.

Hopefully nothing more serious than this will happen but you will feel so much more confident to deal with bad situations if you have some idea what to do.

First aid can come in useful at any time especially if you have children. For picnic safety it is particularly important. You are often in an unfamiliar place, being more active than usual.

Take a first aid kit with you. Here is a list of useful items to help you compile  your own first aid kit

Learn CPR and the basic treatments for common accidental injuries.

Climbing trees or scrambling on rocks are all part of the fun but they can lead to scrapes and bruises.

Boy Climbing a Tree

Wear Suitable Clothing.

The ground at a picnic is often rough and uneven. Suitable shoes will protect your feet. If you are at a beach picnic in summer the sand can burn your feet so wear some sandels or thongs.

Always take a jacket or jumper and rain protection. Weather can change quickly and it pays to be prepared.

Tell Someone Where You Are Going.

  • Whether you are going to a local park, a beach or the country it pays to let someone know where you are planning to picnic/
  • Let someone know what time you expect to be back.
  • A mobile phone is useful in an emergency but sometimes there is no service in the area.

Safety Around Wild Animals or Birds.

On a picnic you may get close to wild animals. On the whole animals will avoid contact with humans but if you disturb them they will feel threatened. Even the tamest animals can become aggressive if they are fighting over food. Feeding animals at a picnic can make them to hang about the picnic area and demand food from other picnickers.

Remember however friendly they appear they are still wild.

Some animals are poisonous.Learn which ones can be dangerous in your area and teach children to avoid them.


  • During summer months snakes are active in the bush. 
  • Snakes only bite to kill their prey or as a defense. 
  • They will avoid noisy, scary humans if possible but if you do accidentally disturb one they will bite. 
  • If someone does get bitten use a pressure bandage to immobilize the bitten limb (A torn t-shirt or similar material will do). Start to wrap around and over the bite area firmly a few times and keep wrapping the bandage moving up the limb from the bite. Keep the patient as still as possible and drive them to the hospital.

Insects love the Summer

Insect stings and bites are usually a minor annoyance but can become painful and infected.

  • Avoid getting stung by using a personal insect repellent and keeping food covered. 
  • If you have an allergic reaction antihistamines from a chemist or doctor can help. Keep some antihistamine in your first aid kit.
  • Remove bee stings carefully with tweezers or by scraping the sting along the skin.
  • Take particular care if you are drinking from a can. Bees and wasps crawl into opened cans and before you know it you have swallowed a mouthful containing an insect. If you are stung in your mouth or throat a swelling can restrict your breathing and be very dangerous.

Sun Picnic Safety

Picnic by the Lake

When you go on a summer picnic it is easy to get over exposed to the sun. It is fun to be outside but it is best to take precautions to prevent sunburn.

Apart from the pain of burnt skin too much exposure to sunlight increases the chance of skin cancer and melanoma later in life.

Remember to Slip Slop Slap

  • Slip on a T-shirt.
  • Slop on 30+ waterproof sunscreen before you leave for your picnic.
  • Slap on a shady hat and sunglasses.
  • Rest in the shade in the middle of the day.
  • The morning and late afternoon are the time for strenuous games and walks.
  • Keep cool by wearing light cotton clothing. Look for clothes with a 50+UPF rating to wear in the sun.
  • A damp cloth around your neck or wrists helps to keep you cool.
  • Drink plenty of water. Even if you don't feel thirsty it is easy to get dehydrated when active out of doors.

Find more tips to keep safe from the sun here.

Water Safety

Summer is a time to be in the water. A great way to cool off and have fun. But keep picnic safety in mind and follow the rules to make sure everyone keeps safe.

Dam with Danger Sign
  • If you are picnicking near water never leave children unsupervised. Even if they can swim keep a close eye on them. At a picnic make sure there is a designated adult watching children all the time. Adults can take the duty in turns but do make sure that there is no misunderstanding as to who is on duty at any one time. This is particularly important where the water is not be fenced.
  • The banks of a river may be steep or slippery and the water running fast over rocks. 
  • Dams have steep banks and the water can be very cold. 
  • If you are going out in a boat wear a life jacket and make sure the whole family has one of their own.
  • Be careful at the beach where the waves can be especially dangerous. Check out safety tips for swimming at the beach here.

Fire Safety.

When you go on a picnic you often want to be out in the bush where trees, dropped bark and grass are near.

Use common sense.

  • Clear the area of dry grass and pile stones around the fireplace to stop the fire from spreading.
  •  If the day is unexpectedly hot or a wind springs up do not light a fire that can quickly become out of control.
  •  Never light a fire during a fire ban. 
  • If you decide to have a barbeque picnic use a designated barbeque area and one of the gas or electric barbeques provided.
  • It is important for picnic safety to keep children away from any heat source. If anyone is accidentally burnt treat the burn with cool water. More serious burns will require a visit to the hospital.

Picnic Food Safety.

Although it pays to think about picnic safety don't become over protective and don't let caution rule your day.

Accidents occasionally happen but if you have done everything you can to prevent them you will know how to cope if they do.

So just relax and have a great picnic.

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