Safety must always be a priority when travelling with children. Whilst we encourage that you go ahead and travel with your children, no one can 100% guarantee safety in any situation, least of all when you are on unfamiliar territory. It is important to keep your wits about you in order to ensure your most precious cargo is kept safe.
Practical considerations to keep your children safe when travelling
Relax. But not too much.
If you would not be happy at home, don’t just ‘let it slide’ when you are away. If anything, you should act with a touch more caution when travelling, than you would at home.
Even if your car hire promises a car seat, it does not mean it will be up to the rigours of UK testing standards. It surprises me how many people, that spend a long time checking safety reviews prior to buying a car seat in the UK, are happy to allow their children to travel without a car seat when they are away. Worse still some will allow children and babies to travel without restraints at all! Consider taking a car seat with you, most airlines will allow you to put a car seat in the hold in addition to your luggage. A top tip for young babies is to use a portable folding luggage trolley and attach a lightweight, good quality car seat with a bungee cord. Its pretty primitive but its allows you to wheel the car seat through the airport, complete with child in situ.
As our children have grown, we have taken to using the Trunki Boostapacks, which can be used for children’s hand luggage and are then ready when we arrive at our destination, to use in our hire vehicle or transfer vehicle.
Fire exits and carbon monoxide monitors
Take the time to evaluate your accommodations evacuation policy and run through your nearest exits with your children, in the event of a fire or earthquake, your children must be clear about what is expected from them in order to safely and calmly leave the building. We also always pack a carbon monoxide monitor for use in our room.
Pools and open water
Its easy to take your eye off the ball when you are relaxed on holiday with children, however the statistics regarding deaths from drowning, make for a scary read. The WHO state that drowning is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, accounting for 7% of all injury-related deaths. A large percentage of these deaths, sadly, are children. We know from personal experience how quickly a child can fall in a swimming pool or body of water, even when you think you have prepped them on the dangers. We can’t stress enough how important it is to have eyes on your children at all times when travelling, particularly around water. If you are taking a boat trip whilst abroad, insist on life jackets for your children.
Levels of safety may not be to a UK Standard
Travelling is the ideal time to try new activities and adventures. Whilst it’s fantastic to throw caution to the wind and get stuck into an activity that takes you out of your comfort zone, consider that safety checks and general safety standards may not be at the same level we experience in the UK.
Trust your instincts when travelling with kids
Don’t let the sunshine affect your judgement. If it feels wrong then it probably is. Be careful not to leave yourself in vulnerable situations when travelling with children.
Respect the culture
Study the rules and regulations in your destination BEFORE YOU TRAVEL and ensure that you respect and adhere to them. Flouting rules can lead to big trouble, and whilst most cultures will show leniency towards tourists not understanding every aspect of their cultures, some will not be so tolerant. Teaching your children to respect others cultures from an early age is an important part of family travel and an important life lesson.
This list is not intended to put you off travelling with children, actually the majority of our points would be followed day to day by most parents, whether you are travelling or not. It simply serves as a reminder that, whilst you cannot prevent every eventuality, with some forward planning and a ‘one step ahead’ outlook, travelling with children is safe…and importantly fun!