One of the greatest things about summer break is taking off with the kids to go places near and far. I get so excited about it, I start planning my summer trips in March! This summer will be traveling by air, car, train and boat. We will sleep in fancy beach resort hotel rooms, in a tent in the Utah dessert, and in houses reserved using the HomeAway website. Preparing for these trips is always a blast! But, in all the excitement I can’t forget the importance of keeping my family safe. Believe me when I say, that I cannot have a well-planned-totally-excited-for trip ruined because of a preventable injury.
According to The Home Safety Guru, author of How to Childproof Your Home, there are ways to be prepared. Here are a few things you can do to make travel safer for the kids and less stressful for you.
Prepare a vehicle survival kit. Hey, you’re packing the car full anyway. You may as well add on a little extra. I, personally, like to keep many of these items in my car at all times anyway… you never know when you’ll need them!
Your kit should include:
- A flashlight
- A fully stocked first aid kit
- A cell phone emergency charger
- Snacks and bottled water
- Physical maps as well as GPS
- A basic tool set
- Emergency tire repair
- Emergency rescue equipment
- A fire extinguisher and flares
There are companies that offer kits. I found this one from eSafety Supplies.
It’s definitely a lot cheaper to hold your under-age-two baby in your lap when flying, but that is not recommended as anything can happen in the air with turbulence. The Home Safety Guru suggests all children under 40 lbs use a car seat when flying. *Note: it is not recommended to rely on car rental companies for car seats.
- If you insist upon keeping your baby in your lap, you should check out these new FAA approved infant flight travel vests from Baby B’air. This nifty device secures your 6-week to one-year-old infant to your lap belt. Aside from purchasing an additional seat to secure baby in a car seat to, this is your best choice for the highest safety during a flight.
- For children weighing between 22-44 lbs there is the CARES Airplane Safety Harness recommended by The National Transportation Safety Board. The harness is super-light (less than a pound) and easy to use; simply attach it to the seat and buckle your child in.
Other tips include; flying non-stop, choose pre-assigned seating (car seats should be used in the window or middle seat), board early and pack extra snacks and water.
We all have our camping lists that include the basics, right? Water, bug spray, sunscreen, extra food and if you’re car camping you’ll already have the items listed in your vehicle survival kit.
Here are additional things you can do to keep your family safer in the wilderness.
- Inform a non-camping source your whereabouts prior to departure.
- Prepare children as much as possible on fire safety and emergency procedures.
- Pack appropriate clothing; include layering items and extras.
- Make sure children have memorized – or add to their person – contact information. Include your name, address and cell and home telephone numbers. You should also include an emergency number of someone who is not camping with you since cell phones don’t always work in remote areas.
- Pack a fully stocked first-aid kit and be sure to check it prior to your camping trip EVERY time.
- Teach children basic first aid skills and consider adding “kid-friendly” items to your first-aid kit.
- Never hike alone, and teach kids never to hike alone.
- Practice common-sense fire safety and keep a bucket of water nearby campfires at all times.
- Portable camping heaters and lanterns can be a source of carbon monoxide poisoning, never use these devices inside a small-enclosed space.
For children aged four and under, drownings are the 2nd leading cause of death. Scary, huh? To keep as safe as possible when swimming in public pools here are a few things to minimize risks:
- Teach your child water safety as early as possible – even learning how to tread water can drastically minimize risks
- Split lifeguard duties by the hour – one of the most common situations is when someone “thought” another person was watching
- Check for fencing and gates
- Keep toys and floats out of the water
- Enforce safety rules
- Never leave a child unattended in a pool area. Seriously.
Safety No Matter Where You Are
When traveling, you should not assume that Aunt Sally or the local hotel has everything you need to keep your child safe during his/her stay. Not to mention, sometimes, gear is outdated. Here are a few things you can do:
- Staying at a hotel? Some hotels will childproof in advance of your arrival, with a pre-arrival request. If requesting a crib, make sure the slats are no more than 2 3/8 inches apart with no drop-down front.
- Get down on your child’s level and inspect outlets, window pull cords, whether there are any sharp protruding objects.
- Check to see the furniture is stable and not placed in front of a window or balcony.
- Bring your own supplies; plug covers, bathmats and night-lights.
- Duct tape; this magical tape is not just for your Hubby! You can use it to create barriers, block windows, and drawers, add it to the corner of pokey end tables and more.
Whew! That’s a lot! BUT, I think a little preparation up front will go a long way when we’re a long way from home this summer!
Do you have any go-to safety tips for summer travel? Share them here!