Summer is undoubtedly the time of the year that most people and families look forward to, and why not? Everybody plans a vacation and there is just so much to do and so much fun to be had. Unfortunately, in the midst of all the excitement, the concern for safety often takes a backseat and this is when things start taking a turn for the worse.
Holidays are the most dangerous time of the year!
The roads are bustling with teen drivers and those who have taken their merry making a bit too far with little regard for the safety of others. So, it is no wonder that almost 27,000 Americans are involved in crashes during the holidays. But, the danger does not just lurk on the roads! From crowded resorts and pool areas that become a harboring ground for infectious diseases to heat strokes and heat exhaustion and adventure sports, all of these can lead to casualties if you are not careful.
- Children are inevitably the most in danger, with well over 100,000 unintentional injury deaths reported in the summer months.
- Drowning cases increase by almost 90% from May through August.
- There is a surge of almost 50% in bike deaths during this period.
- Also, there is a rise of 22% in the number of fall linked fatalities
Don’t have fun at the cost of safety!
Nearly 1/3rd of all travelers, including those who are on business trips fall sick. Children inadvertently catch a bug when on vacation. The simplest way to avoid the holiday germs is to be careful with your food and hygiene habits. Some tips that help include:
- Pack a meal from home if it is going to be short trip or take along some healthy and hygienic snacks, so you don’t have to stop over.
- When traveling by air, don’t use the blankets provided by the airline, they don’t get washed after every flight.
- Use packaged drinking water and only eat at reputable establishments.
Road safety starts with your vehicle!
The last thing you need is your car dying on you in the middle of a road trip. Particularly, for young children, it can get hard to endure the wait in the sweltering heat until the tow truck gets to you. So, a few precautionary initiatives are certainly warranted.
- Send your car for a routine maintenance check right before the trip; this should include a tune-up, battery and brake check, oil change and tire rotation check.
- Top of all fluids in the vehicle.
- Check the tires and the air pressure in them.
- Ensure that all the lights are working.
- Keep a roadside emergency kit along with a first aid box.
- Make sure the air conditioner is in top shape.
Be mindful of the safety of other drivers!
Just like you, there are other vacationers out on the road with their families and it’s only fair to ensure that you do not endanger their lives and that of your loved ones by being reckless. Some effective tips are:
- Never disobey safety limits.
- Follow all traffic and road safety rules.
- Do not drive when drunk or even when feeling a buzz from a drink or two.
- Do not use the cell phone or text when driving.
- If you need to eat, drink or freshen up, pull over.
- Get enough sleep, particularly if you intend to drive after sundown.
Traveling safely with toddlers!
Always use a properly installed and approved car seat when traveling with a child. For older children and even adults, ensure that everybody is buckled in before you get on the road.
- Use rare facing car seats for infants up to the age of 12 months.
- For kids between the ages of 1-3 years, you can use forward facing car seats.
- A booster seat works well for kids in the age range of 4-7 years.
- Make sure that the harness is buckled properly and fits snugly over the child’s chest.
Being safe at your destination
Foreign destinations and unexplored vacation spots sure are enticing, but they also increase the risk of being mugged. Here is what you can do to stay safe from antisocial elements.
- Do not take/wear expensive jewelry or at least keep it out of sight.
- Carry your money and credit cards in a neck wallet or a belt pouch instead of in your backpack or purse.
- Only keep 1-2 credit cards and an essential ID card with you.
- Don’t discuss money or your purchases in public; you never know who may be eavesdropping.
- It is best to travel in groups, particularly if you intend to visit secluded spots.
- Watch your kids closely and make sure you know where they are at all times.
- Have an emergency plan ready which should include a meeting spot in case the family gets separated.
Plan for safety when staying in hotels
Even if you have paid for accommodation at a reputable establishment, don’t let your guard down. Not all hotels have the best security features. Also, you never know what the employees and other guests have been up to. So, this is how you can help ensure your safety:
- Don’t visit dimly lit corridors or secluded areas of the establishment at night.
- Keep all your valuables locked up in the hotel safe.
- Stick to well traveled paths and roads.
- Lock your vehicle and ensure that your valuables are never left in plain sight.
- Hold on to your room keys when leaving the hotel.
- Do not forget to lock the door of your room/suite at night.
- Never leave cash or valuables in your room.
The pool area and water bodies: These claim a lot of lives!
If you intend to enjoy some beach or pool side time this summer, here are some tips to keep you safe:
- Always wear sunscreen and reapply every few hours.
- Children are the most susceptible to sunburns.
- Take swimming lessons beforehand.
- Kids should be taught to swim from the age of 4 years onward.
- Only swim in designated areas, preferably with a lifeguard present.
- Young children should always wear swim vests.
- Do not swim alone.
- Never leave your children unattended around a water body.
- Teach kids about pool hazards and ask them to stay away from the grates, drains and suction vents.
- Do not allow rough housing or running near the pool.
- Do not entrust the care and safety of your child to others.
- Keep your alcohol consumption to the bare minimum if you intend to indulge in water sports and swimming.
- Learn to administer CPR.
Amusement parks are great, but will it be safe?
For families traveling with young children, amusements parks offer a fantastic way to spend the day together. However, they do get incredibly crowded and when you add very excited kids to the mix, the situation can quickly get out of control. So, here is what you can do to be safe:
- Do not disregard the height and weight requirements of the rides.
- Always follow park rules and do not stray into restricted areas.
- Do not let kids loiter about unsupervised.
- Keep your hands, arms, legs and feet inside the ride.
- Ensure that you are safely restrained.
- Check the restraints on any child who may be sitting next to you.
- Do not try to stand up or exit the ride until it comes to a complete stop.
- Keep track of where your kids are at all times.
- Never force a child or an adult to accompany you on a ride.
- Follow all park and ride specific rules.
- Report suspicious behavior and unsafe rides at once.
- At water parks, do not run when in the vicinity of the rides.
Be adventurous and safe with all those outdoor activities.
An unknown environment and the fact that everybody is too busy having fun can cause distraction that can prove dangerous. These tips will help you to keep the family safe when enjoying outdoor activities:
- Complete a boating course if you intend to take your loved ones for a ride on a lake.
- Children should always wear life jackets when on a boat or in a kayak, canoe, etc, even if they know to swim.
- Don’t let kids dive into water that is less than 9 feet deep.
- For bicycled and wheeled sports, always wear helmets.
- When sizing a bike for a child, make sure that his/her feet touch the ground while sitting on the seat.
- Ensure that the helmet is of the right size and worn properly.
- Toddlers face an increased risk of falling from windows while older children are more susceptible to playground related injuries.
- Supervise children when at the playground.
- Do not allow young children near balconies or open windows unless you are with them.
Yes, it does take a bit of planning and constant vigilance to be safe when away from home. Vacations are supposed to take the stress away so diligent attention to safety is certainly a worthy effort because this way, you come back with memories and not injuries.