But as a parent, you know how important the safety of your child(ren) is, particularly while you’re traveling on a family vacation. Let’s look at a few important child travel safety tips for making sure your next family vacation is a fun and safe time for all.
1). Knowledge is Power and Safety
They say knowledge is power, but what about safety? If your child memorizes key information, especially your cell phone number and your home address, they will have an important way to get help if the unthinkable happens and they’re separated from you.
No one, no parent, wants to think about the prospect of their children getting separated from them in a crowd by mistake, but planning ahead can go a long way toward your children’s safety if the hypothetical came true.
2). Give Them an Emergency Travel Card
Your child should have an emergency travel card containing basic information, such as your name, your cell phone, and your address.
It’s easy to print out one of these and put it in a lightweight, see-through plastic sleeve, for instance—but feel free to get one that’s laminated! You can even get a professionally-made children’s travel ID card.
One additional tip: if you have very young children, consider pinning the card inside their clothing to keep them from playing with, or losing, it.
3). Consider an ID Bracelet
Safety cards can fall out of children’s pockets, or your children might take them out and lose them. For younger children, consider an ID bracelet.
This will be less necessary for older children, since they will be less likely to lose travel ID cards and will of course be able to say your name, their name, and provide information like your cell phone.
For younger children, however, it is probably a very good idea to equip them with an ID bracelet and teach them not to take it off.
4). Teach Them Who to Ask For Help
Obviously we all have to teach our children who to ask for help when we’re out in public, but traveling can make this more complicated.
Depending on where you live, things may (or may not) be simpler at home as opposed to traveling. You may live in an area with friendly, familiar neighbors, shopkeepers, or law enforcement.
You’ll want to teach your kids who to approach if they are separated while you’re traveling. One good place to start is the hotel where you’ll be staying: if they get separated and they’re near the hotel – say, within eyesight – you can have them go back to the hotel and ask the manager or receptionist—be sure to point out this person and if possible make an introduction.
Other tips: instruct them to approach someone behind a cash register, or if they’re outside – say, in a park – another parent with children.
5). Medical Safety and Immunizations
You’ll want to make sure your child is up to date on their vaccinations before traveling, all the more if you’re traveling internationally.
As Pediatric Center explains, different areas will have different disease risks at different times, so it’s important to check in with your doctor (to learn more, visit http://pediatriccenter.com/).
6). Car Seats, Airplane Seats, and Cribs
For young children, you’ll want to bring car seats, of course – and if you’re flying, an FAA-approved car seat is a good idea for the plane, even though children under the age of two are usually good to sit on their parent’s laps.
Also, for babies and very young children, it may be a good idea to bring your own play yard or portable crib. Definitely avoid relying on your hotel to provide this equipment: play yards and cribs owned by hotels are not necessarily up to safety standards.
7). Handwashing & Hand Sanitation
You’ll want to make sure your children wash their hands often, and bring sanitizing gel with you and have them use it. This is a good way to control the chance of infection.
8). Bring Your Own Water and Snacks
Bringing your own water and snacks means you won’t have to rely on questionably safe water and snacks elsewhere. This is true in spades if you are planning to travel outside of the United States. It’s also good to think about any food sensitivities or allergies: if you have plenty of snacks your children can have, there will be fewer worries about hidden allergens.
Traveling with your children should be a fun and safe experience for you and for them. Follow these tips, and you’ll be on your way to safely making some wonderful memories.