Keeping Kids Safe on Vacation

1092318_beach_dream_1_lostchild This is especially important with young children who don’t speak as well, as well as those who are too young to remember much about who they are, their parents are and where they’re staying if they get stressed out because they’re lost. Put a tag in their shoe with relevant information such as your cell phone number (if it works in your vacation destination), your hotel name, your child’s name, language and any health information such as diabetic or other condition that requires medication. If possible, if you are in a non-English speaking country, translate any important information to the local population as well as other English speaking tourists.

Instruct your child to hand this tag over to someone like a security official, or someone working in a store, if they are find themselves lost. Role play this with them so that if they do find themselves split up from you within a crowded area, they will be confident enough to find the right kind of person to introduce themselves to, say that they have lost mommy and daddy, and hand them the card.

If your children are a little older you could also supply them with a coin for the local public telephone service and put the hotel’s phone number on it so that your child can phone the reception desk at the hotel, and ask them how to get back to the hotel. This way you can also phone the hotel reception to see if they’ve called.

Always have a plan on how to get back together if you get split up when out and about, especially at theme parks – the main gate is usually a good place, or a well-seen landmark. Make sure you all have a map and mark out the meeting place on it. Your kids can always ask a staff member to show them where they are on the map and that will help them get back to the meeting place.

Airports are another area where you need to have a clear strategy for your children to follow if they become lost as one gate looks rather like another, one check-in desk looks like another so it will be easy for them to get very stressed quickly. One strategy for this would be to find a toy bracelet and write in permanent marker your name, airline and flight number on it, and instruct your children to hand this to a member of airport staff at any check-in desk. Do not allow your child to carry their own passport. As long as you have the passport, they’re not leaving the country without you.

As much as you try to keep your family together, it’s easy to become detached from the group especially when there are a lot of other people around. Prepare your kids in advance for this possibility and make sure they know exactly what to do so that you are reunited with them quickly.

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