Days at the beach, trips to the zoo and a visit to a theme park are what makes the summer break so much fun. But after fun the next thing on our list of priorities is keeping our kids safe. This is especially true when we’re in unfamiliar surroundings or surrounded by crowds of people we don’t know.
The last thing we want is for our child to get injured on a day out or for them to become separated from us. Situations like this can be a scary thought. We might not want to think too much about our worst nightmares actually happening, but what if they did? Would you know what to do? If you’re looking for ways to keep your family safe while out and about this summer, this post is for you. Here’s how to keep your kids safe and be prepared just incase the worst should happen.
1. Familiarise yourself with your surroundings
Most places provide you with a map when you purchase your entrance tickets. The majority also have giant maps positioned all around the site. So before you do anything, take a moment to familiarise yourself with where everything is. Whether you’re at an amusement park or in a theatre, think about what you’d need to do in an emergency. Make a mental note of where the exits are, the toilets, first aid room and information points. Being familiar with your surroundings makes it so much easier to keep your kids safe. It also means you’ll have a rough idea of which direction to head should something happen.
TOP TIP: Take a photo on your phone of where you’ve parked your car. Make sure you include the name of the level or row you’re in. Whether you’re in the middle of a field or halfway up a multi-storey, you’ll easily be able to find your car again later!
2. Make a plan
Whatever you’re doing, make sure your kids know what your plan for the day is. Have them repeat it back to you to make sure they understand. Always agree on a rendezvous point for you all to meet up at should you get split up. Circle it on the map and give your kids a copy. If they’re older and going off exploring by themselves, arrange a set time and place to meet back up again later. Make sure they have your mobile phone number and some cash. Encourage them to approach uniformed staff if they find themselves lost or in need of help.
TOP TIP: Dress your kids in bright clothing so they stand out in the crowd. Take a photo of what they’re wearing before you head out. Should you get separated you’ll be able to show staff exactly what your child is wearing rather than trying to remember when you’re in the midst of panic.
3. Teach your kids their name and address
Whilst your child may know their first name and how old they are, do they know their last name? Teach them this from an early age, and when old enough to remember it, teach them their address too. Practice saying it out loud together until they can recite it back to you. Make sure they know your names too as this will be far more helpful than you being known only as ‘Mummy’ and ‘Daddy’. Some events provide child safety wristbands that have a space for you to write their name and your phone number on it. Use these if they’re available. It’ll give you peace of mind and you’ll be reunited a lot quicker if you do get separated.
TOP TIP: Purchase your own safety wristbands to use when you are out (you can find them on Amazon). If you have a business card you could use that too. Simply put it in their pocket and instruct your child to give it to an adult should they find themselves lost.
4. Warn them about the danger of strangers
Explain to your child that unless you’ve said it’s ok for them to do so, they’re not to go off with anyone else – no matter what the other person says. Make sure they understand that it just isn’t safe to leave your side. If you have younger ones hold their hand at all times or put them in reins. If they’re older make sure they understand the importance of staying within sight. Don’t allow them to wander off unless they tell you where they’re going first and you’ve said it’s ok to do so. Make sure they know who to approach for help should they get separated.
TOP TIP: Teach your child the difference between saying no to strangers and when it’s ok to ask an adult for help. Whilst you don’t want them going off with someone they don’t know, don’t scare them to the point that they’re too afraid to ask for help when they really need it.
5. Make sure they’re traffic aware
This doesn’t just mean making sure they know how to cross a road safely! Whilst that’s an important skill, there are all kinds of other ‘traffic’ your child needs to be aware of. For starters, car parks can be pretty dangerous places. Drivers are often going far too fast and are far too busy looking for an empty space to notice a child running out. Keep your kids safe by making sure they can safely navigate their way across a car park. Equally, if you’re at a zoo or theme park, instruct them to be aware of and look out for land trains or miniature railways.
If you’re in a city and need to travel on the underground, teach them how to stay safe there too. Explain why they must stay away from the platform edge and watch out for the doors as they close. The tube can be a scary and busy place. It’s very easy to get swept on and off a train by the crowds if you’re not paying attention. We’ve taught our boys that if they accidentally get on a train without us to always get off at the next stop. They know to wait on the platform and we’ll come and find them. Thankfully it’s never happened with our boys but it has happened to my husband and I. Whilst it was funny after the event, it did show that our contingency plan works!
TOP TIP: Think about your surroundings for the day and tell your kids about the traffic they’re likely to come across. Make sure they’re prepared and know how to stay safe.
6. Be prepared for as many eventualities as possible
Keeping your kids safe when you’re out and about isn’t just about knowing what to do if you get separated. It’s also about looking after their wellbeing in general. It’s about making sure they’re fed and watered and they don’t get sunburnt. So carry snacks and extra bottles of water. Keep some sunblock in your bag. It’s also about making sure they don’t get injured. Teach them how to stay safe on rides, how to queue properly and instruct them to keep away from things like deep water. If you have room carry a mini first aid kit so you can deal with minor cuts and scrapes. Before you head out for the day think about what you’re doing and where you’re going and what else you can pack so you’re prepared for as many eventualities as possible.
TOP TIP: Keep a small rucksack in your car that’s pre-packed with everything you need for a day out. Fill it with bottles of water, snacks, sunblock, baby wipes, your first aid kit and a change of clothes. It’s so much easier when you have everything to hand and don’t need to remember to pack the same things every time!
Keep your kids safe this summer…
I didn’t write this post with the intention of scaring you – far from it. These suggestions are based on my experience in emergency planning and managing large events where many instances with children could have been avoided with a little bit of forethought and planning. I know it’s not nice to think about your worst nightmares, but if you do and you prepare for them, they’re less likely to happen. So give yourself some peace of mind and keep your kids safe when out and about this summer by:
- Familiarising yourself with your surroundings
- Making a plan
- Teaching your kids their name and address
- Warning them about the danger of strangers
- Making sure they’re traffic aware
- Being prepared for as many eventualities as possible
That’s it for this post! I hope it has given you a few ideas of how to keep your kids safe when out and about this summer. If you like what you’ve read be sure to subscribe so you never miss a post! Join my tribe and kick-start creating a family life you love right now by filling in your details below. I’ll send you my FREE Daily Planner as a thank-you!
I’d love to know what your biggest takeaway is. What do you do to keep your kids safe when you’re out for the day? Let me know in the comments below!
If you liked this post why not give Make the Most of Your Summer Break in Five Easy Steps a read too. In it I share a few ways you can easily carve out time with one another and make your summer break one to remember.
Until next time…