Holiday Accident Hot Spots for Children
We all like to take our children on holiday, and enjoy the pleasure they take in the freedom of being away. But the fact that you're not at home doesn't make the possibility of accidents vanish - it can even increase them. No one can eliminate all accidents. Yet with some thought, common sense, and a few preparations you can make your kids a lot safer on your trip.
Before You LeaveEnsure you have an adequate supply of any medications the children take and remember to pack basics like spectacles, if they wear them. Put together a travel first aid kit including Calpol (Paracetamol for pain) or Calprofen (Ibuprofen for pain and fever/swelling) or their equivalents, a thermometer, bandages and plasters, sun block, child-friendly insect repellent and sting treatment, some bags plus a change of clothing for travel sickness (pharmacists can recommend medication for serious sufferers) and a first aid manual. If your child has any allergies, remember to check out menus on planes and in hotels before you go.
On the RoadIt goes without saying that everyone needs seat belts in a car. But new EU regulations stipulate that children under 3 must be in a car seat and those up to the age of 11, on a booster seat. Buy (or hire if abroad) the correct seat for your child and make sure it's used properly. The road's a dangerous place, especially in the summer, and car seats greatly increase their safety. Also, never leave your children alone in the car with the windows rolled up. On a hot day the temperature can rapidly soar in a vehicle. Kiddicare have an affordable range of child car seats.
Being outside a vehicle can be even more dangerous. Remind your children about the rules of road safety. Never let young children cross the road alone - that's especially true abroad, with traffic coming from the opposite direction. Dress them in bright colours that will be more visible to drivers. Don't let them play close to the road at any time and invest in safety walking reins for toddlers.
Trains and PlanesTrains and planes might seem safe forms of transports, and for the most part they are. When you're travelling by train don't let your children explore alone, and make them very aware of the dangers of opening an outside door or opening a window and sticking their heads out while it's in motion. Help small children up and down the awkward step from the carriage to the platform. At crowded stations keep them close to you at all times and consider using wrist straps or reins for young children.
Airports are always busy, too, so again, keep your children close and make sure they know what to do if they get lost (the nearest information desk is the best place at an airport). On the plane keep them in seat belts unless leaving their seats, with infants in special belts for take off and landing (cabin crew will provide these). It's worth taking some hard sweets (not for the very young) for them to suck during take off and landing too, to prevent ear popping.
At the BeachYour kids will love to feel their toes in the sand, but insist on sandals - you never know where broken glass might be buried. Don't let them go exploring alone; tides come in quickly and can leave them trapped.
On a hot day the water can look very inviting, but accompany them if they want a dip. Make sure they have personal floatation devices, and never be more than a pace away from non-swimmers (that's also true in swimming pools, where you should also discourage your children from diving). Undertows and riptides can be deadly, always obey the lifeguard, and only swim in the area between the flags.
AccommodationNote the fire exits and form an escape plan in case of emergency. Push loose cords and wires as close to the wall as possible, and make sure televisions are secure - a falling TV can seriously damage a young child. Make sure children's beds are away from the windows, and that any cots provided have their sides locked, with the mattress tight fitting. Consider taking socket guards and using them wherever you're staying.
When you bathe your young ones never leave them alone; they can drown in the tub as easily as in the ocean. Balconies are notorious accident spots and children shouldn't be left on them unsupervised. Emphasize the dangers to children, move balcony furniture away from the railings so that children aren't tempted to climb and make sure they never sit on or lean over the balcony rail.
Glass patio doors and windows are often difficult to see in bright sunlight or at night and it might be difficult for children to tell whether a glass door is closed, you could try place a sticker on each window to prevent accidents.Stairs are dangerous for kids. If you're in a holiday cottage, carry an expandable stair gate with you and install it. Wherever you're staying, never permit the children to go off by themselves.
The world may be a more dangerous place these days. Just use a little care, and you'll all enjoy your holiday.