Summer is an exciting time for families. A wonderful moment to relax in the comfort of your own home, enjoy the outdoors and create lasting memories. However, it’s also crucial to ensure your children’s safety. Vacation can be a time of anxiety for some parents and despite your determination to plan everything, it is sometimes difficult to anticipate all the dangers that could occur. In this article, we will share some important tips and precautions to guarantee that your summer is synonymous with peace of mind at home or during your family outings!
Advice for Successful Family Outings
Summer is an ideal time to enjoy family outings and create unforgettable memories. The beach, markets, amusement parks, there are so many activities you can do with your family during the summer. To help make this a safe and enjoyable time, here are a few prevention tips to consider:
- Explain to your child the rules to follow before going out. Be sure to check in with them again when you arrive to validate that the instructions were understood.
- Encourage your child to remember the name of your accommodations. Whether you are staying at a campsite, hotel or “bed and breakfast”, feel free to give them a sheet of paper with the full address, room, or lot number.
- Always keep an eye on your child! Never leave them alone, in a public place or in the car. For the younger ones, hold their hand when you’re in crowded areas (pedestrian streets, shopping centers, markets, touristic areas, etc.)
- Talk to them about the safe places where they can seek help or take refuge if necessary: police station, fire station, grocery store, stores, libraries. Help them understand that they should always seek help from the person who works in the store. Explain that this person could be standing behind the counter, wearing a uniform and/or wearing a badge.
- Give them an identification bracelet with your telephone number and teach them how to call 911: from an early age, teach them their full name and age, you can invent a nursery rhyme to help them retain this information. You can also give them a piece of paper with their name, address, date of birth, your name and cell phone number.
- Try to dress your child in bright colors: it will be easier to spot in a crowd.
- Be sure you always have your child’s up-to-date identification, including a recent photo. It will be very useful if you are separated from your child.
- Explain to them that you must always know where they are and what they are doing: your child should always ask your permission.
- If your child gets lost, explain the procedure to follow:
- Stay close to where they got lost.
- Never go looking for you, return to the car or leave the place without you.
Stay Alert Around Water
Children tend to be attracted to water. Be sure you always supervise your children when they’re swimming in a pool, lake or other body of water. If you have a swimming pool at home, ensure that it complies with safety regulations (fence, safety alarm). Teach your children basic safety rules, such as not swimming alone, not running near the pool, not diving into shallow areas, and above all encourage them to wear their safety equipment (life jackets, armbands, belts, buoys).
Travel Safety Tips
The Government of Canada’s official website offers advice and warnings for travelers to foreign countries. It can help you make informed decisions allowing safe travels to your chosen country. Go to: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/children
If your Child is Travelling Alone
Advice if your child is travelling alone:
- Verify travel restrictions or advisories by visiting the Global Affairs website at travel.gc.ca.
- Write a letter of consent indicating that your child has permission to travel alone.
- If possible, book tickets for your child to travel during the day.
- Avoid connections.
- Be sure they know who will meet them at their destination.
- Ensure your child has enough money for emergencies and change to make phone calls.
- Wait until the bus, train, or plane leaves. If there’s a delay, your child will feel better if you wait with them.
- Remind your child not to be too familiar with other passengers, and never to reveal personal information.
Recommendations if your Child is Home Alone
During the summer, your child may need to stay home alone. Leaving a child alone is a decision that depends on the child’s age, maturity, and ability to cope with different situations. If you think your child is up to it, here are a few safety tips to bear in mind:
- Set specific safety rules: lock doors, don’t answer the door if someone knocks, activate the alarm system, etc.
- Establish a routine: ask your child to call or text you when they return home.
- Define emergency contacts and post the numbers in the house, along with your address.
- Secure your home: don’t leave objects accessible that could be dangerous for your child.
- Teach your child what to do in an emergency: first-aid kit, fire extinguisher, trusted neighbours to contact in the event of an immediate problem.
- If possible, call your child regularly, to make sure everything’s all right, and always let them know if you’re running late.
Remember, your child’s safety is the most important thing. If you have any doubts, it’s best to find an alternative solution, such as the care of a trusted adult or an after-school program.