How to keep your kids safe when travelling
Eight tips for a trouble-free family trip
In days gone by you might have got a kick out of the unexpected happening on an adventure holiday. Now you’ve got kids, you’ll want to be a bit more prepared. Below, you’ll find eight top tips to keep the whole family safe and sound wherever your adventures take you.
In those free and easy pre-parenting years, a bit of holiday unpredictability was welcome – not knowing what was round the next corner made travelling fun. But add some kids to the mix and what seemed “adventurous” can now seem “a bit scary”. There’s no need to go over the top, but planning helps: identify where local hospitals are, find out which neighbourhoods are family-friendly, research safe swimming spots. Then be as spontaneous as you like!
Take a first aid kit – and know how to use it
Buy a travel kit before you go – it’s common sense. But those gauzes, dressings and ointments are going to be no use if you turn into a flapping wreck the minute your offspring falls over / gets stung / eats something that disagrees with them. St John Ambulance offers low-cost training courses in most areas of the UK – they’ll turn you into a first-class first-aider so you can react quickly to any health issues that arise.
Relax: a seaside shark attack is incredibly unlikely to happen. What is very likely to happen, if you’re travelling somewhere hot and the children aren’t protected, is sunburn – and even its nasty cousin sunstroke. Be fastidious – fanatical even – with high-SPF sunscreen, keep sensitive skin covered and if you can persuade them to keep a hat on for the hottest part of the day, possibly through a system of chocolate-based bribery, then do so.
Do a safety check on your accommodation
Your home is baby-proofed – so make sure your hotel or apartment is too. Before you go, ask if accessible stairs have a gate. Take a few socket covers and, if the young ’uns are of toddling age, some corner guards. Put anything hazardous above reaching height for little hands, and pack a portable carbon monoxide tester – they’re cheap but potentially lifesaving.
Get the right travel insurance
The peace of mind brought by proper cover will make your holiday much more relaxing. If you’re travelling with children you’ll need to make sure your insurance will cover any eventuality before you go. For instance, winter sports accidents, or if they decide to hide their passport then can’t remember where they put it.
Get regular updates
If they’re travelling on their own for the first time, don’t rely on receiving a postcard – ask them to check in regularly, by email, text or video call, explaining you’re just a worried old parent who wants to know they’re okay. Then leave them to it.
Apply for EHICs
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which replaced the E111 in 2005, allows its holder to access state-provided healthcare in the European Economic Area on holiday. In other words, if you don’t want to risk the chance of a huge medical bill, apply online – and remember that every family member needs one.
Keep a digital eye on them
Discreet, wearable location trackers (often in wristbands) work with Bluetooth or GPS and an app, and can help you find your kids if they wander a little too far. It may sound vaguely Orwellian, but if knowing exactly where your children are helps you unwind by the pool then bring it on.
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