While there aren’t any surefire ways to keep your kids completely safe when travelling, here are some tips that may ease your mind and keep your next family vacation a safe and happy one.
Plan a realistic trip
Part of keeping your child safe is avoiding situations where there may be a problem, so keep your travel plans realistic. Assess the reward versus the risk. A few things to avoid when travelling with youngsters include visiting places with potentially dangerous weather issues, engaging in intense physical adventures your child might not be ready for, staying in areas of political unrest or known violence or attending large, crowded events that may get unruly.
Have an emergency plan in place
Does your child know what to do if he or she gets separated from the family? How about injured or lost? Take time before your journey to come up with a family plan for such possibilities, and practice each scenario in detail. While you don’t want to scare your young children, it’s important to empower them with knowledge so they will feel secure but at the same time mindful of their situation.
A meeting place
When a child gets lost, the “stay where you are and we’ll find you” strategy might be appropriate, but it’s possible it may cause a frightened young child to put himself in danger. For instance, if they get separated in a large moving crowd and try to stay put. Consider planning a meeting place instead. Choose somewhere that’s easy and safe to get to. For younger children, tuck a card into their pocket with a map or details of the meeting place in case they need help to get there.
Teach your children their contact information
As early as possible, have your child learn his or her parents’ full names, home and cell phone numbers, address and the information for least one other emergency contact. This might be a challenge for a small child, so start with the cell number, and if necessary, put all the information on an ID card for the child to keep with him or her.
Some other safety ideas
- Use your phone to take a picture of your child before you head out each day. This will be a visual record of what your child looks like and what he or she is wearing in the event of an emergency.
- Always accompany children to public washrooms and in elevators.
- If the family separates into groups, be clear on who is responsible for each child.