Using Summer Safety to Protect Your Kids and Family... June 16 2015
We know you want to take that dream vacation now, but you've probably heard in the news about shark attacks, child abductions, flight delays and even mall shootings. These are things that make you not even want to travel, but there are a few ways you can protect your family and still enjoy a lot of summer fun!
TRAVEL SAFETY SAFELY THIS SUMMER
Tell the Sharks and Bacteria No Thanks! While so many beaches are suddenly becoming more populated with sharks than people, consider visiting a water park. You'll cut down on the fear from shark infested water and you don't have to worry about flesh eating bacteria. To ensure safety at water parks, make sure to do your homework and read up on chlorine safety in their water so you know that they test their pools regularly. Also be sure to have your kids use hand sanitizers and if they have cuts or infections, keep them out of the water to ensure they don't pick up trace bacteria.
How About a Staycation: Relatively cheap because you can save on flights, you can pack up the family and stay at a local hotel with an indoor or outdoor pool, gym and Jacuzzi! The convenience will save on your wallet and you can pick a location that might be near your local amusement park. If there isn't one nearby, find a hotel that's kid friendly and you can always order pizza, cook in your room if it has a kitchenette, and let the kids watch movies or play games on the hotel TV at night. Some hotels have full suites available, with separate bedrooms, full kitchens, backyard access, balconies and patios. You can also find a location that's near a sight-seeing area so you can take in a few tours during the day! And did we mention free wi-fi?
The Beach, Within Reach: If you do decide to take the family on that beach vacation, make sure to bring cold water to spritz yourselves down with on hot days, set up an umbrella and don't be afraid to get your feet wet - back at the hotel pool. The only sharks you'll see in the pool are the inflatable ones, so you can rest assured that your little ones will be safer. Just make sure to stay at the pool with them. Many accidents have taken place because kids trip while running, can't swim and slip into the deep end, or hit their knees and heads on the concrete embankment. Also be sure to keep the kids out of the Jacuzzi if you don't see it cleaned regularly. If you see a lot of dirt and debris in it or sudsy dirty water, this is a sign that it needs to be cleaned, let the front desk know. They should take immediate action. If they don't, contact them again.
B.Y.O.F. or Bring Your Own Food: Even the most well meaning person can leave food sitting in the hot sun and that's a big culprit for ruining any barbecue. To avoid sudden food safety sickness, bring your own goodies or call ahead and ensure the person preparing the food knows that hot foods need to stay hot and cold foods should be packed in ice.
Run from Park Predators: There are a lot of concerns with local parks, such as perverts lurking behind trees or in vans waiting for kids. An adult should always accompany children and keep them in groups. Teach kids to never wander off alone and make sure they know that adults can try to lure them with toys, pet kittens and puppies, candy and ice cream. Give kids an emergency whistle, teach them how to say "No" loudly, scream, and to run and get an adult and they have to keep screaming. At parks, kids scream all the time, but any alert mom or a nearby nanny will know when something is wrong. Also be sure you tell them that if they ever see anyone suspicious to let an adult know and they might save a child who doesn't have a parent with them.
Avoiding the Wild Kingdom: You also have to be concerned about vicious dogs on the loose that could suddenly attack a child who is innocently running and playing. As it relates to stray animals, teach kids to walk away and don't pet any animal that approaches. This can include dogs, cats, raccoons, bears, deer, ground hogs, squirrels, rats, birds, and other animals they may come across. If they see a dog barking, teach them how to stay calm to avoid being attacked.
Flight Safety and Back-up Plans: If you're taking that flight to your dream beach vacation, cruise vacation or another destination, make sure you have back-up plans ready in the event of an emergency. For cruises, never book your flight on the day the cruise leaves. Even if your flight is on time, it may be held up by another flight's delay. Always ensure you have a back-up plan with your family like if your flight doesn't land in time they should go ahead and you'll take a cab or shuttle to meet them.
No-Tell Hotels: With hotel safety, always check sites like Trip Advisor to know real customer comments on things like cleanliness, bed bugs, roaches, etc. This is especially true if you find that great deal for $50/night! That might mean that all kinds of people are flocking to that hotel. You might have partying teenagers, drunken gang brawls in the parking lot, or the 4am party in the room above yours!
Mall Safety: Because your kids will want to shop and hang out with their friends, just remind them to keep their phones on and stay in a safe area. There are other places they can hang out at including the back yard, the front yard, the park, a local fast food restaurant, a church event for teens, your neighborhood community center, a movie theater with a video arcade, at the beach - but not in the water, or at an amusement park. If your kids do want to go shopping, tell them to not hang out in food courts where large crowds of people are usually gathered.
Group Safety and Checking In: Your kids should always have set times to check in with you and let you know where they are, whether it's a phone call or text every hour or two. Also tell your kids to always go in groups and travel together. There have been abductions reported in the news where young girls were have been snatched by men in vans who find them walking alone - sometimes with headphones on, and they are then kidnapped, drugged and forced into child prostitution rings.
Start the Day in Prayer and Before You Make Vacation Plans: Because you can't predict what the day may bring or if that trip you want to plan for in six months will be safe, always pray and ask God to guide you and your family. Pray each morning before you start your day, drive to work or go to school, and pray before you leave from school, work or the office. While we can't tell if there's going to be a bus or train accident or a flight delay, we can ask for God's guidance and His protection over our families, friends, neighbors and loved ones! It's okay to pray, "Lord, I plead the blood of Jesus over my family, friends and loved ones, please protect us, keep us free from harm and get us to and from our destinations daily, in Jesus name, amen." Don't fear what you see in the news. Do what you can to be prepared and to stay safe and go enjoy your summer!
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