30+ Must-Know Travel Safety Tips for Families
The bags are packed, the kids have their books and snacks, and you just double checked the hotel reservation.
It’s all smooth sailing now, right?
Well…as much as I’d like to say that you can just sit back, relax, and hang out by the pool, it’s never that easy – especially when you have children.
It’s important to know how to keep your family safe on any vacation so everyone returns home safely. So today, I thought I’d share 30+ travel safety tips to keep in mind for your next trip!
We have partnered with Up and Away, an educational campaign that is proactive about making sure medications are stored safely and far away from children, to share this post. This is especially important during the summer when life is a little more hectic and you are traveling more.
- Have Emergency Numbers Easily Accessible: If there was an emergency, the last thing you want to do is to be scrambling around for numbers of family members, doctors, etc. Make sure you have all your emergency numbers easily accessible in multiple locations – your phone, your email, your journal, etc. – including the Poison Help number: 1-800-222-1222.
- Allergy Bracelets: If you or your children have allergies, it’s a smart idea to have some kind of allergy bracelet that indicates what your allergy easy, emergency contact number, etc. This is especially important if you will be around a lot of new places and situations where you may not always be with your child 100% of the time.
- Sunscreen: My family went to Hawaii when I was about eight-years-old, and the trip was about ruined for me because I got a horrific sunburn on the first day. We are talking blistering, hardly can move, so much pain kind of sunburn. We had used sunscreen that wasn’t appropriate for the situation, and I definitely paid for it. Make sure you use a high SPF sunscreen!
- Keep medications in original containers: Not only is this important in case you are unable to tell someone what medications you are on in case of an emergency, but it keeps your medication safe from little hands. The child-resistant containers are much harder for kiddos to get into – unlike pill containers or baggies. About 60,000 children are brought to the ER each year because they got into medications they weren’t supposed to. Being on a vacation is no excuse to not be proactive!
- Secure medications on a high shelf or in a hotel safe: Just treat your medication like you would at home – keep it as far away from your kids as possible. Being on vacation might make your kids extra curious.
- Ask people to keep medications/vitamins out of sight: This is important if you are staying at someone’s house – especially if they don’t normally have children around. Don’t be shy about asking them to relocate medications and vitamins, especially if you see them just sitting out!
- Don’t post on social media: I’m not the best at this one, but it is important. Make sure you don’t give away too much away on social media about being gone. And if you can’t help it, make sure you aren’t telling people exactly where you are or where your kids are.
- GPS watches: Losing your child is one the scariest experiences ever – believe me, I know. It may seem a bit overkill to have a bluetooth or GPS watch, but if you do lose your child, you’ll be grateful you have one. These are becoming more and more common and are pretty affordable.
- Bring common medications from home: When we went to Mexico for my brother’s wedding about seven or eight years ago, I got extremely sick. My dad ran through the streets of Veracruz, Mexico, in the middle of the night to get me medicine. It was not smart! If you can, bring a medicine kit with all the common medications you may need (ibuprofen, acetaminophen, allergy medications, anti-diarrheal, etc.). We’ve wasted a lot of money buying infant ibuprofen on trips! Make sure you store them correctly, though.
- Dress appropriately for the area/situation: You don’t want to stand out as a tourist – especially if you are traveling in foreign countries. Research the social and societal norms for clothing in the area that you will be traveling so you make sure you and your children fit in!
- Be mindful of surroundings: Just be aware of what is going on around you. Make sure you know where your children are and what they are doing at all times.
- Notify bank of travel: This can help prevent your credit cards from being rejected for suspicious activity, but it also will make sure you bank is hyperaware of what is going on with your account.
- Secure money: If you are carrying around your wallet, cash, etc., make sure you have it secured safely so you don’t have to deal with pick pocketers!
- Keep Poison Control in your Phone Address Book: (800) 222-1222 or text “POISON” to 797979
- Leave itinerary with family or friend – check in: It’s just good for someone who is not with you to be aware of where you will be and what you will be doing. I recommend checking in regularly with this person, so if something were to happen, they would know right away.
- Have an emergency car kit: I’ve been stranded a time or two in my life. Make sure you have an emergency car kit that not only has things like jumper cables, emergency blankets, flares, etc., but extra snacks, water, and even small games to keep you occupied.
- Baby on Board: Have you ever seen these little yellow signs that people put in their cars? Apparently, they are more than just for looks. It is a great way to make sure police officers and emergency medical personnel know that there is a child in a vehicle if there were to be an accident.
- Keep vaccinations up to date
- Know of local illnesses/outbreaks – avoid travel if necessary
- Get a seat for child when flying – it is always safest to travel by air with your child restrained in a child safety seat appropriate for their age – even if they are under two. While air travel is much safer than care travel, in the case of turbulence or an accident, if they aren’t restrained properly, it could be a disaster. Many airlines offer a discounted rate on infant seats – call the one you are traveling with for more details.
- Bring car seat to the gate: Never check your car seat with your luggage. It will get thrown around and could be damaged (internally or externally) because it was not properly restrained. If you aren’t going to be using it on the plane, you can check it at the gate. You can a
- Make sure transportation has appropriate child seats
- Kid proof rooms: Do this right when you get your hotel, family members home, etc. Small children are especially
- Disinfect TV remote: These are seriously so disgusting – and they often are not ever sanitized. When you get to your hotel, disinfect it, or even put a little baggie around it to keep germs from getting spread.
- Take a photo of each child each morning: I know this is a scary thought, but if your child were to disappear, you would want to be able to the authorities exactly what they looked like that day.
- Use shoes in hotel: I would wear them at all times, but I would especially wear them in the hotel.
- Be careful with food and water: If you are traveling abroad, this is especially important. Be aware of any recommendations for foreigners drinking water. Many countries will recommend you only drink bottled water or you boil any water that is being used – be careful about ice cubes!
- Turn of Geotagging: You don’t want to make it easy for a weirdo to find your exact location!
- US Embassy if traveling abroad
- Discuss different emergencies and what to do with your children
- Research Medical Facilities in the area
- Bring disinfectant wipes
- Have kids sandwiched when walking: I would never have your child bringing up the back of a line. If possible, keep the kids in between the adults.
- Follow the wind on the beach: This was an interesting tip I read. Someone said that whenever a child got lost on the beach, they would almost always find them by following the wind – they tend to go with the path of least resistance.
- Never leave your child alone: Not in the hotel room, not in a car…nowhere. You are in unfamiliar places, and no matter the age of your child, do not leave them alone.
- Bring your own crib: Many hotels have cribs, but they often aren’t up to code (or they aren’t regularly cleaned). Just bring a pack and play or rent one!
- Make sure you have safe snacks and drinks
- Phone number bracelets: Just in case your kiddo gets lost, and they don’t know your phone number!
- Don’t trust floaties to babysit your kids: When you are in the pool, make sure you are watching your children carefully. Just because you put arm floaties on them doesn’t mean they are constantly being protected
- Take breaks throughout the day – especially in hot weather: Heat stroke is serious business, and it can happen to anyone – especially young children. Make sure you schedule regular breaks, even if it’s not hot. It can be exhausting for everyone to be going go, go, go the whole time!
For more tips on how to keep your children safe while traveling with medicines this year, make sure you check out the Up and Away website! This poster is also very helpful – especially for new parents.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association Educational Foundation. The opinions and text are all mine.