Before you make travel plans for your family, it’s a good idea to review some safety tips for travelling with kids.
Anytime you travel with children, especially younger children, you have to take extra precautions. The last thing you want is your child being injured or getting lost while you’re in another state or country.
Take the time to talk to your child about safety before travelling. It’ll make the trip easier on the entire family.
1. Use The Correct Car Seat
If your child isn’t old enough or tall enough to wear a seat belt properly, place your little one in a car seat or booster seat. These seats are designed to restrain a child in the event of an accident to keep them from being thrown from the vehicle. Make certain you’re using the correct seat for your child’s age and size. Also check that you’ve fastened your child in correctly. If you’re flying, check with the airline to see if your car seat meets their requirements.
If your child no longer needs a car or booster seat, tell them to buckle up. Lead by example. Everyone in the car, including adults, should be buckled up.
2. Keep Kids 13 And Under In The Rear
You should always make children under 13 ride in the backseat. Most children before age 13 are too short to handle the front air bags. It also helps prevent you from being too distracted with your child beside you in the front seat.
3. Plan Activities To Avoid Distractions
Kids get restless on longer trips. You should plan some activities ahead of time to keep them occupied. The more restless children get, the more distractions they cause for you as the driver. Any activities should be relatively quiet with no loud, sudden noises. For airline travel, plan activities that keep your child in their seat so they don’t get hurt in the aisle.
4. Never Leave Kids In Cars Alone
One of the most obvious safety tips for travelling with kids is to never leave your child alone in the car. You might plan to only be gone a second, but anyone could steal your car or worse, take your child. It only takes a second for someone else to take advantage of you being away.
Kids are naturally curious, so your child may be tempted to get out of the car while you’re gone. You might have told them to stay put, but what if they see a stray dog or a toy in a store window? Your child might ignore your warning and get out of the car anyway. Always bring your child with you or be sure to bring a trusted adult along, even if you’ll only be a few minutes.
5. Stay Aware Of Your Child’s Location
It’s easy to get distracted in crowded locations while travelling. With small kids, crowds become camouflage. Tell your children to stay beside you at all times and to ask permission before walking away to do something. Staying aware of your children’s location at all times is vital to keeping them safer.
A good rule is to require smaller children to hold your hand when walking in crowds to prevent them from wandering off. Older kids should walk near you where you can keep them in sight.
6. Carry Water And Snacks
Water and snacks work as great distractions while travelling. They’re also ideal for situations such as a random breakdown or traffic jam. It’s easy to get hot while waiting for a tow truck and having water on hand will prevent your kids from getting dehydrated. Having snacks with you ensures your child always has something they like and can eat. This is important if your child has food allergies to anything.
7. Child Proof The Car And Hotel Room
Toddlers and young children might accidentally unlock and open a car door while travelling. Opt for a vehicle with child locks in the rear to prevent them from unlocking doors or rolling down windows.
If you’ll be staying in a hotel, be aware of any dangers. This is mainly for extremely young children. Use the same childproofing measures you’d use at home, such as using outlet covers and keeping any chemicals out of each.
Talk to your child about answering the hotel door. Advise them to never open the main door or the balcony door.
Family trips provide lasting memories for everyone involved. Make sure those memories are good ones by ensuring your child stays safe. Keep a list of safety tips for travelling with kids with you to avoid your child getting hurt or lost while you’re on vacation or visiting relatives.
Want to learn how to talk to your child about safety? Try one of Safety Education Alliance’s child safety education products to help your child stay safer in their daily lives.
*image courtesy of Rafael Castillo