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Travel Safely with Children
Summer time is a busy time for everyone, especially families. With children out of school, many families are already planning a summer vacation. This means leaving familiar territory and travelling away from home, sometimes for extended periods. Traveling by itself is stressful and often chaotic, and this can be difficult for both adults and children. However, with a little advanced planning most trips will proceed smoothly.
Keep in mind that when traveling safety must remain a top priority. Safety is the key for fun in the summer sun whether at home or abroad. Now is a good time to establish or review basic safety rules for the family. Traveling, whether by plane, train, boat or car means exploring new exciting places. Before leaving home, decide on what is acceptable and what is unacceptable on the road, and set the course for safety.
Teach children your cell phone number. Older children can carry their cell phones with them to use for an emergency. Make sure younger children know mom or dadís full name, in addition to their own first and last name. Consider investing in a two-way radio system so when someone leaves the group, everyone can still remain in contact with the each other. They are easy to charge and use.
The problem with traveling is we are not familiar with hidden dangers in that area. Get in the habit of getting in and out of your vehicle quickly and keeping doors locked. No one should use a rest stop or gas station facility by himself or herself. There is safety in numbers. Have children who want to go explore stay together and make sure everyone knows what to do in an emergency.
Whenever children use public facilities, have them go in pairs, or only use the bathroom if a parent can see the bathroom, or go with the child. Many bathrooms are isolated and that can be not only scary but also dangerous for children. If separated from parents, children should look for a store clerk or a mother with children, before a single person or a man. Most mothers will help a lost child.
The first time you go to your hotel room, notice and point out to children where the emergency exits/stairways are located from the room, if you are on the first floor consider exiting through a window if needed. Review this information each time you walk to your room.
If a fire alarm activates, teach children to grab shoes, and then meet at the family vehicle.
Adults get in the habit of keeping your cell phone and car keys in one spot so in an emergency valuable time is not wasted looking for them. Everyone should meet at the car or van, so once everyone is accounted for you can leave the scene in your vehicle.
Remind children that hotel employees are still strangers and to never go anywhere with someone without telling a parent. Lock hotel doors and as an extra measure of safety stand the ironing board against the door at night, so if someone has access to the room it will fall and alert those sleeping. If travelling with children, do not get children their own room, but instead ask for a joined room, which provides a diving room door.
If in doubt and you are unsure if an area is safe, get out and reevaluate down the road. Pedophiles and child molesters will not be taking the summer off, so stay vigilante.
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