I consider myself a generally cautious and relatively safe person.
I try to stay informed on current events (like TORNADO WARNING run to the basement!) and up to date on best safety practices (rear facing car seats for babies is what’s up). You’re not going to catch me tracking a storm across the country or listening raptly in my basement to my police scanner app (yes, I have a police scanner app, but I totally only listen to it when I need to), and sometimes I let comfortable parenting prevail (We co-slept, ok? I know it’s not “recommended” but it worked and we survived, thankfully).
What it boils down to though is that I’m not a purse clutcher, but I also probably won’t be caught cliff diving any time soon. I live a balanced life with the right amount of risk and fun to remain alive and largely injury free. Note: I can NOT be trusted with a kitchen knife.
Basically, I am the perfect person. When it comes to safety. And mostly everything else too.
When it comes to The Dudes, we have both a purse clutcher (Dude 1) and a cliff diver (Dude 2), with Dude 3 being the sensible voice of reason clearly created in my image.
It’s just so funny to think that in this house, raised by the exact same parents, we have one child that would never even consider riding his skateboard without a helmet and a full compliment of body pads, and one that wouldn’t be caught dead in body pads and probably takes the helmet off when he gets out of eyeshot of Mom.
Regardless, keeping them all safe is a major concern. Especially when we travel.
When it comes time to pack up the car and hit the road for a vacay, DudeDad usually takes the wheel and I am in charge of the rest, including all of the important things like securing adequate in car snackage, ensuring everyone is amply entertained, taking care of itinerary planning, and safety.
I am wholly in charge of the first three, but I think the best way to keep my kids safe is to keep them informed and empowered to do some of that for themselves. Here’s how I manage that.
10 Travel Safety Tips to Share With Your Kids
Always be aware of your surroundings. Living obliviously is also living dangerously. Take a minute to mark exits and really look at your surroundings so you can react quickly if you need to.
Know your vital info. If your kid is too young to learn their full name, your name, address, and cell phone number, write it down and shove it in their pocket before they head out each day. Or, invest in these temporary identification tattoos.
Discuss the If Then plan. My mom always used to say, “If we get separated, DON’T MOVE.” She didn’t want us wandering around looking for her while she was wandering around looking for us, and she always said she’d come back to the last place she saw us and it would be easier for her if we were waiting there. I also tell The Dudes to wait for another mom to ask for help to come by.
Wear a seat belt. And sit in your booster seat. This is second nature when they are traveling with us –it’s a way of life and we never need to even remind them. I know every family doesn’t require that though (seriously, it’s true) so we ask them to be diligent as well and to always buckle up, even when they are not in a car with us and the other kids don’t have to.
Don’t post about your travel details. For older kids who are active on social media, it’s a good idea to remind them that posting, “My whole family is going on vacation to Hawaii for two weeks!!” is kinda like posting, “Dear burglar people, go rob us because we are away and no one will even notice for weeks. Have fun!”
Mind your personal property. Really we just try to give them as little as possible to be in charge of because kids lose stuff all the freaking time.
Understand stranger danger. We aren’t people who are excessively afraid of strangers taking our children –we get that it’s not statistically likely. But, we are diligent about helping them not be easy pickings. You know, common stuff like don’t check out puppies in the back of a cruddy old vans or give hairy dudes directions to the ice cream shop.
Know about your itinerary. When we travel we make sure the kids know where we are staying and other pertinent details of our travel plans. In the event of a large scale emergency, we want them and the authorities to have a starting point in reuniting us.
Talk about panicking. Dude 3 suffers from panic attacks so helping him prepare for all of the contingencies in advance seems to help in scary situations. But, even if your child doesn’t have a clinical condition, helping them learn to keep their wits in an emergency is smart living.
Follow the rules. Pool rules, park rules, special event rules. Usually those are in place to keep people safe, not just to inconvenience you.
Safety 1st, makers of safety seats for kids, wants you and your family to have a safe summer travel season. They remind you to be conscientious about your vehicle and ensure its safety by securing unused safety belts (so kids can’t be choked by them) and eliminating in car projectiles (small items that could become dangerous in the event of a crash). Also, remember, the rear middle seat is the safest for children and those under 2 should be in a rear facing seat. You can learn more about car seat safety on their site.
To help you and your family have a safer summer, we are giving away a Safety 1s Go and Grow 3-in-1 Car Seat that fits children from 5-100lbs!
The seat features side impact protection, a no rethread harness, buckle holders, two cup holders and an easily removable seat cover. It retails for $169.99, but you can win one if you’re awesome.