Travelling safely with young kids is not easy. In fact, losing sight of a child during a family trip is a common anxiety many young parents possess. So how can you do your best to ensure your entire family stays safe when travelling abroad?
Today, we’ll outline 8 of our favourite travel safety tips to follow when holidaying with your younger kids. Read on to help you and your family stay safe when on the road.
1. Use a VPN service for secure digital entertainment
One of the biggest problems families face when travelling with young kids is simply figuring out how to keep their children entertained during long flights, road trips, or train commutes. Whilst it can be easy to put a tablet in their hands, doing so can come with its own risks.
That’s why it’s imperative to use a VPN when accessing digital content. Alongside providing a secure network connection, VPNs also allow device users to access content that may not be available in their geographic location. For example, using a VPN in Australia can allow you to access North America’s Netflix library, or even region-locked games or YouTube videos for your kids to watch.
2. Write down your contact information
If your kids do go missing and you want to ensure that they can reach you or they can at least be returned to you, then we highly recommend ensuring that your contact information is available on their person. For some parents, this can mean writing your mobile number on your kids’ arm in big, bold letters. Other potential solutions include using a bracelet, or even just using a printed label that bears that information and then sticking that label to their clothes, or even to the inside of their shoe.
Be sure to also communicate the purpose of this contact information to your child, just so they know exactly what to do in the event of an emergency. If your kids are a little older and may be able to memorise your name and phone number, then this could also be a great method for ensuring that they can reach you if they do get lost during a family trip.
3. Teach them to identify staff and safe people to approach
If your child does become lost and starts seeking assistance from nearby adults, then they must know who to seek support from. You don’t want your child relying on any stranger to help get them where they need to go. This isn’t just a safety consideration within the context of ‘stranger danger’, but general members of the public may not have the time to help your child entirely, meaning that they’ll likely have to simply walk your child to the police station themselves or enlist the help of another adult with the time to spare.
In order to ensure that your child seeks help from the right sources, you will need to make sure that they can identify just who’s worth speaking to in any given situation. For instance, if they get lost at a theme park, speaking to staff members will likely trigger an announcement via speakerphone for you to come and pick your child up from a nearby point in the park. Not only will this remove a lot of the stress of being lost from your child, but it will also make sure that you and your child are reunited much quicker.
4. Use Apple AirTag trackers
Plenty of technology available today that can help keep your luggage and personal belongings safe when travelling on flights. But may these tech items also be able to keep your children secure when travelling abroad?
Sewing Apple AirTags into jackets and outerwear items is becoming an increasingly popular trend amongst parents who are looking to keep their kids safe when on the go. The benefits of using Apple AirTags to keep track of your kids include the fact that AirTags can actually hold their battery for months at a time, meaning that you can rely on them to stay powered on. Another benefit to sewing AirTags into outerwear, like down jackets, is that you can ensure that your AirTag will stay on your child’s person at all times, particularly if you’re planning to travel during winter or to a colder part of the world.
5. Use Google’s Family Link
Speaking of technology, another great digital asset that families are urged to utilise is Google’s own Family Link. This parental control feature can be set-up on any Android phone or Chrome OS device, and allows parent devices to monitor device usage across their children’s devices. In other words, you can maintain full control over what your child is looking at online, as well as what activities that they’re using their phone for.
The Google Family Link also allows you to remotely lock your children’s devices, allowing you to help keep screen time to a minimum. In the context of staying safe while travelling abroad, this feature can help you potentially pinpoint and isolate any dubious websites or mobile apps that your children are using during your travels, and limit that app’s exposure to your child’s wider device or even to your family’s Google device network.
6. Teach kids to stay together
Admittedly, your kids getting lost together is one of the best things to happen in an otherwise unfortunate situation. How so? Well, it’s easy to find younger kids if they get lost with their older siblings. If your children become lost together as well, then it’s more likely that they will maintain a level head and remember everything that they need to keep in mind in order to find their way back to you. That’s the power of the buddy system in a nutshell.
Two heads are also always better than one, especially when it comes to remembering your personal contact information. Of course, in the unfortunate event that your kids do get lost separately, then it is imperative that they both have your contact information on hand! This is what makes writing your number down, adding ID labels, or even just prompting your children to memorise your phone number such a crucial part of ensuring their safety when travelling abroad.
7. Teach your kids basic road rules to follow
It’s common for kids to become excited when arriving in new destinations. Their extra energy can be perfect for fuelling curious explorations, but it may also leave them more vulnerable to experiencing accidents or injuries. Kids who aren’t looking where they step can end up with a nasty graze in a best case scenario. But the last thing that any parent wants is to see their kids mindlessly running onto roadways in areas that they’re not familiar with.
This is why it’s imperative that younger kids are taught how to stay safe when crossing roads or even navigating busy streets in an international destination. Teach your kids the importance of moving with busy foot traffic to prevent them from getting lost in crowds and stumbling into positions that are potentially unsafe. Similarly, be sure to communicate the importance of crossing roads with an adult at all times. This way, if your child becomes lost in a particular place, you’ll know that they will be nearby, and hopefully also well away from the hustle and bustle of city traffic.
8. Make sure your kids are dressed appropriately
Finally, one crucial element to helping your kids stay safe is simply making sure that they are dressed appropriately for your destination and its local weather patterns. If you’re travelling somewhere colder, children should always be dressed in plenty of layers, including headwear like beanies.
Children who are brightly dressed are also likely to be easier to spot in the event that you lose track of them. Similarly, it can be easier to give descriptions of your child if they do go missing, as others will likely also be able to distinguish them from their brighter clothing or even patterned clothing.
Travelling with your kids can naturally require a lot of preliminary planning. Not only is entertainment an evergreen concern for making sure that your kids stay comfortable and quiet on flights, but making these considerations may also help keep your kids stay safe and even inhibit them from behaving recklessly, which can even lead to accidents or injuries.
In this regard, all of the travel tips we’ve outlined above really work together to ensure the safety of your children when travelling abroad.
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