#1 Stranger danger
To keep our kids safe it’s important we remain vigilant when it comes to Stranger Danger and holidays are no excpetion.
It’s confronting, there are individuals out there waiting for the opportunity to harm our kids and lots of dangerous situations that our kids can find themselves in.
We refer to websites like Safety4Kids for updated information and resources and after 25 years of parenting we have created a list of our most useful strategies for keeping our kids safe while on holidays;
- Before we leave, on the way to, and during every holiday, we talk to our children about stranger danger. COMMUNICATION IS KEY
- We create a SAFE word that only our family and trusted friends know for our kids to use if they feel at risk
- Supervise, supervise and supervise, strangers can’t get to our kids if we are always watching
- No child under 12 is ever to go to the bathroom alone
- If bike riding around a holiday park/camp site/caravan park, we create check in timeswhere the kids need to let us know they’re safe
- We always take walkie talkies From Disneyland to Burleigh Heads Caravan Park, we always use them to communicate with the kids at all times
#2 Swim between the flags
Did you know there has never been a drowning between the flags in Australia?
For my family, we keep it really simple NO FLAGS, NO SWIM!
Visit the Life Saving Australia website for all your surf safety information including;
- Always swim between the red and yellow flags
- Look and take notice of the signs at the beach
- Ask a lifeguard or lifesaver for safety advice
- Learn how to identify a rip
- Swim with a friend – never swim or surf alone
- If you need help, stay calm and attract attention by raising your arm above your head
- Wear sunscreen, seek shade and stay hydrated
#3 Wear a helmet
Wearing a helmet is not only important for protecting your child’s head, IT’S THE LAW!
Below is a sample section of the TIPS FOR STAYING SAFE developed by the Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety Queensland and as you can see wearing a helmet is at the top of the list;
- Wear a standards approved and properly fitted bicycle helmet.
- Obey the road rules.
- Wear highly visible light coloured or reflective clothing.
- Fit bicycle lights/reflectors for early morning, evening and night riding.
- Children under the age of 10 years have limited peripheral vision and are poor judges of the speed of approaching vehicles. Children under this age need adult supervision to ride safely.
- Where possible, select travel routes where cyclists are separated from other road users (e.g. bicycle paths).
- Dismount and cross at controlled intersection points.
#4 Wear sunscreen
Getting sunburnt is not only a huge health risk, it’s also very painful and can ruin a great holiday.
In Australia there is absolutely no excuse for any parent to not protect their children’s skin from the burning sun.
For best protection, the Cancer Council Australia recommend a combination of sun protection measures:
- Slip on some sun-protective clothing that covers as much skin as possible.
- Slop on broad spectrum, water resistant SPF30+ (or higher) sunscreen. Put it on 20 minutes before you go outdoors and every two hours afterwards. Sunscreen should never be used to extend the time you spend in the sun.
- Slap on a hat – broad brim or legionnaire style to protect your face, head, neck and ears.
- Seek shade.
- Slide on some sunglasses – make sure they meet Australian Standards.
#5 Drink water
According to Healthy Kids Association, the amount of water a child needs is influenced by the amount of activity they do, the weather temperature, and their diet and health. Dehydration can cause your child to feel unwell and no one want’s a sick kid when you are enjoying a holiday.
Kids Health suggests, thirst is not a good early sign of dehydration. By the time a child feels thirsty, he or she may already be dehydrated. And thirst can be quenched before the necessary body fluids have been replaced. That’s why kids should start drinking before thirst develops and consume additional fluids even after thirst is quenched.
Kids 8 and up need a minimum of 4-5 cups of water a day and kids above 8 years old need at least 6-8.
Kids Health provide this list of symptoms for recognizing dehydration;
- dry or sticky mouth
- few or no tears when crying
- eyes that look sunken into the head
- soft spot (fontanelle) on top of baby’s head that looks sunken
- lack of urine or wet diapers for 6 to 8 hours in an infant (or only a very small amount of dark yellow urine)
- lack of urine for 12 hours in an older child (or only a very small amount of dark yellow urine)
- dry, cool skin
- lethargy or irritability
- fatigue or dizziness in an older child