Written by Ciara O’Hanlon
Travelling with children is a great way to expose them to new cultures and life experiences. It can be both educational and inspiring but can also pose a few risks. It’s important to keep a few important safety measures in mind so you can enjoy your holiday with your family.
Buy Travel Insurance
This one is a no-brainer and should be purchased while organising your holiday. While you might want to believe your trip is fairly risk free, things can and do go wrong. From lost luggage to broken limbs or even having to cancel your trip unexpectedly, travel insurance is a must just in case you are unfortunate enough to experience one of the above.
Childproof your accommodation
As soon as you arrive at your accommodation inspect the place for any potential hazards. A fairly standard balcony set up with tables and chairs can suddenly become extremely dangerous when travelling with a small child who has just learned the art of climbing. Remove the furniture or ensure the door to the balcony is locked with a key only you have access to. Check any blinds or curtains for any low hanging cords and make sure the taps in the bathroom are correctly marked hot and cold.
Pre-plan your days
Plan your day before leaving in the morning and make sure any activities are child friendly. The last thing you need is to find yourself having to carry a tired child on a 10km hike. Mark out exactly where you want to go and how you are going to make it to your destinations including looking up public transport options if that’s how you plan on moving around. Pre-planning can help with time management so you don’t feel rushed or overwhelmed. Feeling organised with help keeps everyone calm and in control.
Give your child emergency contact details
Equip your child with emergency contacts including where they are staying and their names. You can write it on the inside of your child’s clothing or give them a card with all of the information that they can keep in a zipped or buttoned pocket. Having this information on them will make your child feel important and give them a sense of responsibility. It can also provide you with some reassurance in the unlikely but terrifying scenario that they do get separated from you.
Find the police
Police can wear very different uniforms in one country to another. It’s a good idea to familarise your children with the law enforcement in the country you’re visiting in case they need to approach them for help. Point out security officials in different venues you visit and make sure they know where the nearest shops or hotels are and that they can ask for help in these establishments if they need to.
Don’t drink the water!
It’s an oldie but a goodie. In many countries tap water is not safe to drink. It is important that you use bottle or filtered water, not only for drinking but also for brushing your children’s teeth, when washing out bottles and for mixing formula. If you are eating out, ask for no ice in any drinks. Children are very susceptible to stomach bugs so avoiding tapped water could help in avoid having a sick child for the duration of your trip. Some water bottles come with an inbuilt filter so you can ensure you’re drinking clean water at all times and can keep your children feeling hydrated and well.
Pick a landmark
Whether you are spending the day at a theme park or tackling busy crowds at a popular attraction, it’s a good idea to pick a landmark in the vicinity which can act as a meeting place should your children get separated from you. Pick a spot that children can find easily and make sure they can repeat the meeting place back to you so you can be sure they know where to head.
Taking photos is fairly standard practice while holidaying with your family but it can also be a good way to keep you all safe. Take a picture of your child before entering into busy venues such as theme parks or train stations so you can show authorities what your child was wearing that day should you get separated.