One of the best things about traveling is venturing into the unknown. Seeing new sights, eating interesting foods and getting out of your comfort zone. But when the adventure involves one or more small children, that exciting element of risk can quickly morph into a source of stress.
From bedtime in an unfamiliar place to corralling a troop of would-be sprinters in a crowd, it’s very hard not to be freaked out by all of the (scary) possibilities that traveling with kids can bring.
And while there is no possible way to safeguard kids from every possible danger that comes along with striking out into the wide world, there’s a wide array of things you can do to minimize the risks–and give yourself a little peace of mind in the process.
Here are four ways to stay a little safer on your next adventure:
Get informed ahead of time. It’s a good idea to gather some information about the area you’ll be traveling to–before you ever set foot out the door. What you need to know can vary widely based on where you’re traveling but there are a few questions that apply anywhere.
First, know a little about the weather. If the region is prone to tornadoes, extreme heat, tropical storms or heavy snow (yes, it can snow even in the summer at high enough elevation) make sure you’re not headed there during the high season for these events.
Second, have an idea of where the nearest hospitals will be in case someone needs medical attention. If you’re headed somewhere with limited services or you’ll be without a phone for extended periods, have an emergency plan in place and be sure to pack a well-stocked first aid kit.
Be “that” parent. Yes, some people find putting a child on a “leash” very offensive. However, if you’ve ever had a toddler, you probably agree that in certain situations, it’s a must-have.
If you have a little one who insists on walking but thinks bolting into the nearest parking lot, crowd or body of water is the greatest joy in life, then a kid harness is for you. The fact is, being in a new place can be distracting and it only takes a split second for something terrible to happen, this may be one way to prevent that.
If your child is too old to harness and you’ll be in large crowds–at an amusement park, for example–have them wear an ID bracelet with their info on it, or simply write it on their arm in waterproof marker.
Use a portable alarm. Have an escape artist? Consider bringing along a wireless, battery operated door/window alarm. These are great if you’re traveling in an RV, but could also be used in a hotel room or vacation rental.
These can be set up on doors (or windows) and the alarm will sound if the door is opened. Use these in addition to the available locks/latches and you may have a chance of getting a good night’s sleep while traveling. Even better, they’re super affordable (roughly $15 for a 2 pack)
Take your time. This can be a tough one to follow. Traveling is hectic–there’s so much to take in but a limited amount of time. But forcing yourself to slow down will not only allow you to better enjoy your trip, it may also prevent unnecessary dangers.
From hitting your head on the car door to losing track of one of the kids, being in too much of a hurry paves the way for all kinds of easily avoidable, but potentially disastrous, situations. So go a little slower, and be a bit more mindful, on your next trip–for safety’s sake.