Traveling with kids can be a hassle if you are unprepared. Being caught unprepared with children can distract you from other, more important issues like safety. Knowing what to take on a trip with kids and being mindful of basic safety can make any traveling with children much easier. The following are some safety and sanity tips in the form of checklists that you should consider the next time you travel with kids:
Safety Tips for Traveling With Kids
1. Know where they are. Never leave your child unattended.
Always have a hand on the stroller or a toddler’s hand in yours. If your child is in a stroller, be sure that it has a five-point harness and they are safely buckled in. If you have a toddler who walks better than he listens, do yourself and him a favor and get a harness buddy. This can provide your child with safety and you with peace of mind. It also helps you avoid looking like a frazzled, screaming adult you could be if you had a toddler running into the street every time you looked into a shop window.
2. Whenever a child gets into a moving vehicle, be sure that they are buckled in.
Whether you are getting into a car, bus, train or airplane, you must consider the safety of your child over convenience. Sure, it can be a hassle to bring a car seat to an airport but if your child will have their own seat, they may very well need a car seat or booster seat for their own safety. Turbulence happens and the last thing you want is your child being bumped around because the seat belt doesn’t hold them securely.
3. Don’t let yourself be outnumbered.
Be honest with yourself about how many kids you can travel safely with. Imagine all of them on their worst day at the same time. Can you effectively control them in a strange environment and ensure their safety as you travel? Never depend upon the kindness of others. If others help you, great, but be prepared not to receive it as well. Having traveled with kids myself, I have found that more people are interested in watching you juggle your child, diaper bag, car seat and stroller than are interested in assisting you. I cannot stress this enough: be honest with yourself about how many kids you can travel safely with.
What to Take on Any Trip with Kids
1. Safe snacks. Be mindful of choking hazards. If your child has never eaten peanuts or raisins before, now is not the time to give them a try! Go with what you know and what your kids will like. Having a variety of snacks ready in a small cooler or lunch box can keep children happy and distractions to a minimum for you. That will make for safe traveling with kids.
2. Safe beverages. Kids get thirsty and you may not want them sugared up on soft drinks while traveling. Kid-sized water bottles with sport caps for older kids, safety/sippy cups for toddlers and bottles for babies are just some of the required equipment when traveling with kids. If you must bring milk for the kids you are traveling with, remember food safety and keep it cold.
3. Extra clothes/diapers. Accidents happen and if somebody falls and tears their clothing or has a potty accident, you’ll be prepared.
4. Small first aid kit. Safely traveling with kids is as much about being prepared for accidents as it is preventing them. Some things just can’t be prevented. A small can of antiseptic spray, a small assortment of Band-Aids and some Be Cool pads can usually cover most small emergencies that do not require a hospital visit.
What to Take on a Car Trip with Kids
1. The appropriate car seat or booster seat is the first step in safe car travel for kids. Be sure that your child is always safely buckled in.
2. Packing some interesting books and/or non-battery operated toys for a road trip can help your child stay calm and amused so that you can focus on the road. Keeping distractions to a minimum can maximize car safety for all.
What to Take when Flying with Kids
1. The other checklists apply to this situation as well but the biggest problem with most kids who fly is getting their ears to “pop”. The easiest way to handle this is to give them chewing gum (if they are old enough) or a bottle at takeoff and landing. Chewing or sucking will help your child to easily adapt to the change in air pressure and prevent the painful feeling of eardrums that just can’t pop.
Follow these safety tips the next time you are traveling with kids. Be safe!