Posted by Claudia Grazioso on May 30, 2012
Our family likes to travel. Rather, we like to be in and experience new places. What we don’t like is the actual traveling part. Let’s face it, the days of ordering a glass of wine and sleeping through the flight are over once you have kids. By now I’ve been on enough planes with my children that I am ready for the “we’re bored” discussions and the endless streams of “Are we there yets?” (My rule: Each kid gets to ask that only three times. It might sound crazy, but it does make them stop and think before they ask!) But even when we’re harried with kiddo travel, what we always stay on top of are the safety issues involved in traveling with kids.
If you are planning on tackling the great family car trip this summer, obviously you know that car seats are a necessity for younger children, and that all children under 12 should ride in the back seat. But you should also remember to secure any small, loose articles that can easily become a projectile in the event of a sudden curve, a fast stop or an accident. Also, remember to keep the safety locks on for the car windows and doors. Bored kids — especially toddlers and babies — love to push buttons and the last thing you need is a tiny finger or two getting caught in the window. Another thing to consider, if you can, is to take your time. We added a few hours to a car trip one time because we stopped at every beach, park or just get-out-and-run area that we saw. Sure, we got to our destination a bit later, but our kids were a lot happier. And remember, even if it’s the shortest “pit stop” in the world, no child is ever left alone in a car for any amount of time.
If you are going to be house guests, talk to your hosts about any safety needs your kids might require. No, you shouldn’t expect them to fully baby proof their house for you, but you might want to ask about safety gates or safety latches. You can either pick them up yourself, or maybe your host can borrow some from neighbors. If you’re staying at a hotel, consider bringing your own portable crib. I always felt better doing that vs. wondering whether the hotel cribs were up to the latest safety standards.
If you’re boarding a plane, as tempting as it might be to hold a child on your lap (because who doesn’t love “free?”), it’s really not the safest choice. The rule of thumb: if your child needs a car seat in a car, they need one on a plane. So take a deep breath and do the schlep. You’ll feel better knowing your child is safer. And just think, in a few short years you can make them carry your bags.