Summers are the best times for vacations and excitement for the whole family. Whether you’re heading to the Rocky Mountains for some RNR or to the sandy Florida beaches for a tropical escape, you want to make sure the entire family has a great time while also staying safe.
In our family, we like to do a little of both and it seems that no matter where we travel to there is one thing every destination has in common – water. Couple that with kids and you have a recipe for a great holiday. With great times for kids comes great responsibility for parents, which is why parents often feel like they need another vacation after they get home from their vacation.
To help you enjoy your time away, here are the ways parents can keep their family and home safe while on vacation.
Making Water Safety Rules for Children
When vacationing with small children who are non-swimmers, it is important to set boundaries that help keep them safe in and around the water.
1. Create a Codeword for Your Family
If you have a child that is too young, not able or is still learning how to swim, set a codeword or a countdown to let them know it’s safe to enter the water. This can be something as simple as, “One, two, three.” or “Ready, set, go!” If your family is like ours, go ahead and make your codeword a silly, fun word.
The key is that anyone who cannot swim knows the word and doesn’t get in the water until the code is said. This will help prevent them from running full-steam and jumping in before a parent is ready.
2. Use Coast Guard-Approved Flotation Devices
Make sure your family only uses coast guard-approved flotation devices. Inflatable water toys, such as water wings or inflatable infant tubes, may seem like a safe option, but they can actually be extremely dangerous. A safe flotation device is one that is not inflatable and attaches securely to the body in more than one place.
Puddle Jumper makes a wonderful life jacket solution for smaller children because they allow children to freely move around but are Coast Guard approved. They also fold up quite small and are easy to pack.
3. Stay Close to Your Children
Even with a flotation device, a parent should always be nearby to ensure safety. Stay within an arm’s length reach of children who can’t swim on their own at all times. It only takes 30 to 60 seconds for a distressed swimmer to drown.
4. Take Regular Breaks
Remember to take frequent water and sunscreen breaks throughout your day. At the local pool, it’s easy to remember safety breaks for snacks, water and sunscreen. So while you’re on vacation, establish your own safety breaks every 60 to 80 minutes to keep kids hydrated and protected.
5. Be Cautious with Open Cuts
Never swim with an open wound or new tattoo. Oceans and lakes are fun to swim in, but they are also home to fish and bacteria. Swimming with an open wound in untreated water can be dangerous.
6. Watch Out for Cloudy Water
Resort pools are typically not held to as high of a standard as your local community swimming pool or water park. Never enter a hotel pool, or any pool for that matter, if the water is cloudy. Cloudy water is a good indicator that something is wrong with the chemistry or filtration. It also makes it difficult to keep your kids safe if you can see them when they dive under. If the water is cloudy and looks milky, refrain from swimming and notify hotel staff.
Travel and Hotel Safety
Hotel and travel safety are sometimes overlooked among the hustle of packing, traveling with kids and trying to have a fun relaxing vacation. There are some general precautions you can take to help keep your family safe in your home away from home.
1. Teach Your Kids to Keep the Hotel Room Number Private
Teach your kids to remember the hotel room number, but with a big caveat…that, they can never use it. Teaching your older children the hotel room number is imperative if your children are old enough and ready to roam. If you have older children who will be roaming free, discuss the importance of no one knowing your room number. Just as you teach your kids “stranger danger,” they should also know that the hotel room number is for family only, unless it’s an emergency.
2. Emergency Preparation
Teach your kids what to do in case of an emergency and who they can ask for help on vacation. If you are not there, make sure they know how they can find and identify an official lifeguard, hotel staff member or security guard to request help from.
3. Make Copies of Passports
Make copies of passports and drivers licenses before leaving. This is especially important when traveling internationally. We always take a copy along with our documents and leave one at home where a relative can access it if need be.
4. Stay Private on Social Media
As tempting as it may be, never post information on social media about your vacation until you have returned – this can leave your home vulnerable to opportunistic criminals.
While it is important to plan out all of the fun details of your trips, it is equally important to return home safely, so follow these tips for a fun and safe trip!