Traveling with kids can be plenty of fun and yet still very challenging. And almost every mother tends to worry even more when it comes to taking the little ones on a trip, especially if it is for the first time. Children under 15 years old still have developing systems, and this makes their travel needs pr etty unique. That means there are so many safety concerns an adult traveler may ignore (and get away with) but will have adverse or even permanent effects on kids. So, whether you’re traveling with toddlers or bigger children, how do you keep everyone safe? It all boils down to preparation and care. Here are some essential safety tips every mother should consider before traveling with her kids.
On the airplane
Always make sure that your little ones get their own seats on the plane. If your child is under two years of age, your safest bet will be to use a restraint seat. But make sure you opt for one approved by the FAA. Also, ensure that you pick out the correct car seat or restraint size. For example, if the car seat you have is more comprehensive than 16 inches, then you’ll have a lot of difficulties getting it to fit on a plane seat.
Furthermore, try calling your airline ahead of your flight to determine if there are emergency options designed specifically and available for children alone. And once on the plane, ensure that your child remains buckled at all times unless they need “to go” (and you should always accompany them).
Practice your safety plan
It is impossible to foresee things that might go wrong. However, it is essential to first put in place some safety plans you can rehearse with your kids before you travel. For example, you can practice what they need to do should they be separated from you while out and about – who not to talk to, where to go, and what to say. You can also practice with them what they can do in cases of emergency. For example, you can teach them to stay put or ask for the help of another parent with children.
You can also attach contact information to your kids and instruct them on what to do with it. In the same vein, make sure your kids know who to call in case something happens to you. Losing one’s child is probably the number one fear many parents have when traveling. Therefore, it would help if you took measures to prevent that occurrence.
Childproof your accommodation
Part of your safety plan should also cover finding ways to childproof your accommodation. Start by searching online for suitable accommodation before you set off. Call your options to make inquiries concerning child-friendly facilities and crib-safety. And when you get to your booked accommodation, take the time to scan for anything that could be a potential danger to your little one – from sharp objects to exposed metals. Also, ensure that all door locks function properly and keep your child from answering the door. If you plan to stay for a more extended period, take the time to tour the playground areas (if available) and ensure that you keep your child in view at all times.
Check the safety and security of the city or country you want to visit
Before you decide to visit any location with your kids, take the time to check the safety and security issues. Look out for red flags like political and civil unrest, kidnapping and child abduction cases, etc. Even though no place on earth may be 100% safe, it is important not to take certain risks. Keep yourself updated with official publications from that location or read up on what other tourists and locals have published about those locations.
Plan your trip
Planning a trip with kids requires extra care, taking into consideration every vital detail. Some portions of your travel plan may depend on the age of your child, especially when it comes to feeding. But the most important thing is to ensure that you have every stage of your travel covered in your plan – from the moment you set off until you return home. Pay attention to the routes you choose to take and the availability of clean toilet facilities when your little one needs “to go.”
Also, ensure that your luggage does not get in the way. This is particularly important if your kids are not old enough to help with the bags. That means the less luggage you have to deal with, the better. If you’re planning a short trip, you can find out if there are luggage storage options available in your chosen destination, as this will help reduce your burden when touring around the city. For example, if you are thinking of visiting New York City with your kids, you can look for luggage storage nyc options to book ahead of your trip.
Vaccinate your kids
Once you have settled on your preferred location, checked out all safety issues, and planned your trip, you need to vaccinate your kids. Make sure your little one is up-to-date with all the required vaccinations. If you’re taking a trip outside the United States, you can check out the CDC’s list of required vaccines, depending on the country you choose to visit.
Besides vaccination, it is also a good idea to get travel insurance cover for each member of your travel team. Although this may not be the first thing most people consider before traveling, it goes a long way to offer some needed financial cover. Despite your best efforts, you can never be sure what will happen during your travel. Therefore, it is best to know that you wouldn’t have to worry about certain unplanned medical expenses.
Get medical approval
We have already mentioned getting the right vaccinations. However, before you set off, it is a good idea to get your kids medically cleared by your doctor. If your child is still recovering from an illness, your doctor will advise you if you need to go ahead with your plans or postpone them. Always ensure that you carry essential medical supplies with you, especially if your little one is on any particular medication. Even if your kid is healthy, it is always better to be safe than sorry.