Traveling can be a formative experience in a child’s life. Seeing a new part of the world and a new way of living can open their minds; spending quality time with the rest of their family in beautiful surroundings can form lifelong memories. This being said, traveling with kids can be a little nerve-wracking sometimes. Safety and health standards vary drastically from one country to the next, and this means that you can’t simply rely on your surroundings to provide safety like you might be able to do in your home country. The following will explore a few things you can do to help ensure your children’s safety as you travel with them.
Read The Travel Recommendations
Foremost, stay up-to-date on travel recommendations for the areas you’re visiting. Government websites often update daily, so you should return regularly to look out for news regarding political unrest, viruses, parasites, or extreme weather warnings. It’s also important to continue checking back while you’re traveling as sometimes, situations can change rapidly.
Have A Talk About Bacterial Diversity
Kids are far more open to learning new concepts than it might seem. Explain to your children that just like there are different animals in different countries, there are different types of bacteria too. Explain that the human body practices lots at defending itself against bacteria where it spends most of its time, but it doesn’t have a lot of practice with bacteria from other countries. Because of this, it’s easier to get sick when you’re in another country, and it’s more important than normal to wash your hands and not put things from the ground into your mouth. There’s also a movie called Osmosis Jones, which stars Bill Murray and follows a cartoon white blood cell detective as he works to fight off bacteria in Bill Murray’s body that might be able to help make things clearer to your child. If this talk takes place before the travel, it might be easier on your child when you ask them to wash a little more than usual or to put things down that they thought were cool.
The pandemic of 2020 has forever changed how people view enclosed spaces. Things like planes, buses, and trains are now at higher risk because even though COVID rates are declining in many places, enclosed spaces don’t allow for as much airflow as is ideal. You may want to find alternative travel methods such as using a chartered jet service or renting a private car for shorter distances abroad. If this isn’t an option, masks, social distancing, and handwashing methods need to be properly applied.
Don’t Disregard Needs
It can be frightfully difficult not to ask a child to wait for something they need while traveling, especially if you’re trying to get everyone dressed and to the taxi station at a reasonable hour to get into the museum early. This being said, children’s needs cannot be postponed without risks of future problems. Because their bodies are dealing with new bacteria, remaining hungry for even a short time can result in a lower immune system which increases the chances that they get sick. Water is a huge part of how the body removes problems which means going thirsty can also increase their chances of getting sick. Likewise, going without sleep reduces the immune system and increases a child’s chance of getting ill. Finally, holding it when they need to use the bathroom can increase the chances of a bladder infection or similar infection, which, given their immune system is already working overtime, could pose a major problem. Children’s needs cannot be ignored even if they are inconvenient.
Teach Cultural Awareness
No matter where you’re heading, there are likely to be different customs and standards. Children are often open and receptive to being taught about diversity. It’s a good idea to work with your children ahead of time, learning about what is considered polite and impolite and what is considered appropriate.
Have A Safety Plan
Each of your children should know how to say help in the local language of where you’re going. They should have on them a slip of paper that lists your hotel, a number that can be called to reach you, your name, and the nearest embassy. This should be written in the language of the country with which you’re traveling. Give your children guidelines for steps they should take if they find themselves lost, including the type of person they should approach (for example, a hotel service desk, a police officer, or someone who collects tickets).
The above tips should help you keep your children safe while traveling abroad. Of course, every family and location is different. It’s always a good idea to trust your instincts; if something feels wrong or unsafe, take your children and leave.