How To Keep Your Children Safe On Vacation
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A family vacation should be fun but keeping an eye on the children in an unfamiliar setting can be difficult. We all know that feeling of stress trying to keep everything organized. You get to the airport, and just feel panicked. Did you remember all the passports? What time is your flight? Where are the kids running off to?
A vacation is a perfect time to relax and unwind from the pressures of daily life, but it’s important that you don’t let yourself get too complacent about child safety, just because you’re away from home.
You need to take safety seriously, even on vacation. However, while it’s important to keep your children safe while you’re away, you also don’t want worry to ruin your vacation. Remember to be sensible and keep an eye on them, while still taking the time to relax and enjoy. This vacation is for you as well.
Give Everyone A Set Of Contact Details
Write down the address of wherever you’re staying, your contact number, and the phone number of your hotel. Write out a copy for each child, and put it safely in a zipped pocket in their clothing. Make sure they have this with them every day, in case they get separated from the group.
For older children who have their own mobile phones, make sure that you save these contact details on their phone too, just in case. Don’t rely on their phones though. Phones can easily be lost, and then your child doesn’t have a way to contact you.
It can be a good idea to buy ID bracelets for young children who won’t look after a piece of paper. The paper with the contact details on it can be slipped inside a window in the bracelet and be kept safe.
If your children lose you, they know where to go and how to call you, and have details to contact you if the hotel staff helps them.
Arrange A Meeting Point If You Get Separated
Wherever you go while you’re away, choose a clear landmark for the family to meet at if anyone gets lost or separated. You should choose something large and easy to see from a distance.
For example, in the hotel, you could choose the front desk. If you’re out and about, choose a large storefront, a statue, or some other landmark that can be easily found. If anyone gets separated, it will be much easier to find each other again.
Give Them Instructions If They Get Lost
Make sure that all your children know what to do if they do get lost and can’t find you. Explain to them that if they can’t see you, and don’t have a way to call, that they should look for someone safe to ask for help, like a staff member, a policeman, or another family with young children with them. Make sure they know not to wander around looking for you, or to approach just anyone.
It’s better to teach these lessons while you’re still at home. It can be a lot to take in, and they might not remember it when they’re distracted by the excitement of a family vacation. Try to get the balance right between making sure they take it seriously, and not frightening them too much.
Research The Area
Before you travel, you should do some of your own research first-hand before you go anywhere, so you know what to watch out for in the area that you’re visiting. You can research online before you travel, or you can have a quick chat with the hotel staff when you get there.
You should easily be able to find out what the potential risks might be, whether it’s strong tides on the beach, bugs, pickpockets in tourist areas, or stray animals.
You should also know what to do if something does do wrong, such as where to go in the hotel for medical assistance, or how to contact a personal injury lawyer like Leinart Law Firm if an accident does happen.
Slap On The Sunscreen
Your children might be dying to charge off to play or swim, but don’t let them get away from before you have been able to protect them from the sun. This means you must apply high-factor sunscreen to any exposed skin. Choose an SPF of at least 30, and apply it regularly throughout the day.
If the children are in and out of the pool or the beach all day, then look for water-resistant sunscreen, but still, make sure you’re reapplying it throughout the day.
As well as sunscreen, it’s a good idea to cover the skin of young children. Look for light fabrics, but long sleeves, so they’re covered but cool. At least cover their shoulders, and make sure they wear a wide-brimmed hat to keep the sensitive skin of the head and neck protected.
This is especially important for toddlers. Babies should be kept in the shade. Don’t forget that you need sun protection too, so slap on the sunscreen as well.
Watch Out For The Water
Even if your child is a strong and confident swimmer, you shouldn’t ever allow young children to swim unattended. If your child isn’t a confident swimmer yet, make sure they have armbands or another flotation device to help them enjoy the water in a safe way.
If you’re staying in a villa that has a pool, make sure it’s behind a fence with locked gates so they can’t access it without your knowledge and put themselves at risk. If you’re staying in a hotel or a resort, make sure the pool has a lifeguard on duty. Check what times the lifeguard is on duty, and only let your child swim during those times just in case.
While on the beach, ask a lifeguard which area is safe to swim in, and find out if there are any tides, currents, or rocks in the water to be aware of.
Follow any instructions you’re given, and look out for flags or other signs indicating areas or times that are not safe to swim. Swim shoes can be a good idea too to avoid injuries from stepping on hidden sharp stones or animals in the water.
Pack A Basic First Aid Kit
Pack a basic first-aid kit in your suitcase in case of accidents. Children can be accident-prone, so make sure you have supplies like anti-bacterial creams or sprays, band-aids, anti-allergy medicine for insect bites, and other essentials. Pack things like insect repellent in there too.
Some basic medicines can be a good idea to include too, like pain killers, Calpol, and electrolyte solution for headaches, minor illness, or upset stomachs. Check the rules about what you can take on the plane before you pack.
Make Staff Aware Of Any Allergies
If your child has any allergies, make sure that the hotel staff is aware of them. Before you go, lookup phrases in the local language to explain the allergy to avoid any confusion due to language barriers. This can also help you to recognize allergens on menus if their allergy is food-based.
It might be a good idea to give your child a medical alert bracelet if their allergies are severe. Make sure you have any emergency medication that they might need with you at all times, whether that’s an epi-pen, an inhaler, or steroids.
Check The Room
When you arrive at your hotel, give the room a quick check. Make sure the family knows where the fire escapes are, and double-check that they are accessible, and not blocked by people’s suitcases. If you have a balcony, check that the railings aren’t too close together for small children to squeeze through.
Make sure the door to the balcony can be securely locked and can’t be opened by the kids. Don’t show them how to open the balcony doors, unless this is an escape route in the event of a fire. If you’re on a high floor, check how far windows open, and make sure children can’t topple out while peering at the view.
Safety on vacation is important, but don’t let it take over your entire trip. Get the right balance between being too worried and relaxing on your safety standards more than you would at home.
Talk to your children about how to keep themselves safe, whether it’s why sunscreen is so important, or how to find you if they get separated from you. Help them to behave in a responsible way without scaring them.
Remember that hotels and resorts should already be geared up to keep families safe, whether that’s with appropriate first aid available on site, a pool with a lifeguard, and rooms that are safe for children.
Research what safety measure you will need before you go, whether it’s any paperwork you will need to take medication on a flight, or local emergency numbers so you can get help if you do happen to need it.
*This article is based on personal suggestions and/or experiences and is for informational purposes only. This should not be used as professional advice. Please consult a professional where applicable.