Summer Vacation Safety for Children

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Vacation SafetySummer is a great time for domestic travel with your family, but unfamiliar surroundings can be hazardous for kids.  Keep your kids safe with these smart vacation tips:

Eyes on the Prize

Children love to explore, and can easily get wrapped up in new discoveries.  Different environments require different levels of supervision.  Younger children should never be out of your line of sight, with body contact rules in place for crowded areas (hand holding, hand on shoulder, etc.).  Make sure kids always have identification on them with pertinent details including your cell phone number.  Older kids can use a buddy-system and carry cell phones themselves.  No matter what their water skills are, all children under the age of 5 should be wearing a life jacket and closely supervised near pools or bodies of water

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Before setting off for daily adventures, take cell phone photos of family members in the outfits they will be wearing that day with a clear headshot.   If you lose sight of a child, circulating a picture of him in his current outfit is a lot more likely to yield rapid results than your unreliable memory and a school photo.   Ask teen-aged kids that are exploring without you to take selfies at different landmarks throughout the day and text or email them to you in real time.  In the event someone goes missing, the pictures provide visual context for any possible witnesses.

The Cover Up

You never know what the day will bring, and nothing ruins a vacation quite like a nasty sunburn or – worse yet – a trip the ER for sunstroke.  Apply sunscreen before setting out, and bring enough with you to reapply throughout the day.  Don’t forget to apply to your own skin as well, and make sure all family members have hats and sunglasses.  You can invest in eyeglass lanyards to ensure younger kids won’t lose their sunglasses when they take them off.

Stranger Danger

Make sure your kids are stranger-savvy, but also ensure they know that some strangers can be helpful if they lose sight of mom or dad.   Point out people of authority like lifeguards, police officers, security personnel, or other parents with children.

Rendezvous 

Pick an easy to identify rendezvous point in the event you and your children get separated.  The best rendezvous spots are visible from numerous vantage points and come equipped with helpful personnel like lifeguards.

Set the balance between family fun and safety and have a memorable summer vacation!

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