Keeping Your Kids Safe On Vacation
Summer break is almost over, so if you haven’t hit the road yet, there’s no time like the present!. But like most worthwhile parenting experiences, traveling with your child carries some risks and totally valid concerns. At NCA, we care about more than home security, we care about your safety. So today, we’re here to give you some tips to make sure your next adventure is as safe as possible, no matter the destination.
If you’re a parent, becoming separated from your kids is about the worst thing imaginable. Here are some precautions you can take to help ensure that your child will be alright if the unthinkable occurs:
Develop a Call-and-Response
More often than not, your child isn’t actually lost, you’re just having a hard time picking them out of a crowd. Come up with something that will sound distinct in a busy place that you and your child can use to locate each other if you get separated. Here are a couple of great call-and-responses that are fun for the whole family!
- Do your best crow impersonation, like a comedic “CAW, CAW.”
- Shout “Marco!” which would be answered by “Polo!”
Give Them an ID
You’ve quizzed them on your name, phone number, and address more times than they are physically capable of counting, but you want to be certain that they can be returned to you if need be. Nowadays, there are several inexpensive services offering ID tags and bracelets that you can customize to have your child’s emergency information on them. There are also plenty of kid-friendly, GPS-enabled wearables you can use to locate your child. Of the devices on that list, we particularly liked the following:
- The Trax Play GPS tracker, which is well-reviewed, has a wide range of features and a smartphone app, and offers a 2-year subscription to the GPS service at $4 per month.
- The hereO Watch, which is easily fastened with a typical watch band, and also offers a smartphone app.
- The KidsConnect GPS Tracker Phone Wearable, which has an SOS button that texts four people your child’s GPS coordinates, in addition to auto-dialing those numbers until one answers. For an extra fee, it can also dial an emergency call center.
Play Memory Games
Have them memorize where you’re staying. This is a pretty common-knowledge step, but it bears repeating. If your child knows where you can be found, they can make their way back to you with ease once they find a helpful adult. However, this raises the question: how do they know which adults are helpful? Well...
- Practice identifying adults. Before you go on your trip, take your kid with you to the mall, grocery store, or through public transit systems. Explain ways they can determine if an adult would be okay to approach or not (uniformed personnel and mothers with children are always good starts), then have them pick out adults they’d go to to make sure you’re comfortable with their selections.
- Teach “not my parent” safety. During a crisis scenario in which your lost child is being abducted, an uncontrolled screaming outburst might be construed as a normal hissy fit by uncomfortable bystanders. Instead, teach your child to yell “Help! This is not my parent!” to make sure they get the help they need in this situation.
Being away from home also means that you’ll be in an environment with new medical hazards and without access to your usual medical resources. Here are some tips that apply to you and your child to keep you both healthy away from home:
- Bring basic medical needs. Pack some simple, over-the-counter medicines to combat general ailments. This is especially important on trips where jet lag, unhealthy eating, or other disruptions from routine can lead to nausea, diarrhea, etc. Don’t forget about sunscreen and aloe, either.
- Be careful with water. If you’re traveling internationally, do some research to make sure the tap water is safe for Americans to drink. Tap water can carry bacteria outside of what you’re normally exposed to, leading to bowel trouble. Even if you’re staying local, but your vacation involves being in large bodies of water, make sure your child is wearing a life vest as a precaution.
- Remember to wash your hands. There’s a reason you’re constantly reminding your kids to wash their grubby hands! Washing your hands is one of the most effective ways to keep unwanted bacteria, viruses, and other toxins out of your system.
- Do some research and talk to your child’s pediatrician. No matter where you’re going, make sure you know about possible health risks at your destination. The CDC has a phenomenal resource that allows you to check specific countries and filter based on your medical needs. You can also talk to your child’s health professional to fill in the gaps the internet can’t cover.
From everyone here at NCA Alarms, safe travels.