First Aid Kit – A first aid kit is a must-have for any trip, especially if you are travelling with kids. Be sure to include items such as plasters/band-aids, antiseptic cream, painkillers,and any other medications that you or your family may need.
Medication – If you or your family members take medication regularly, be sure to pack enough for the entire trip, as well as any extras in case of delays. It’s also a good idea to keep a list of all medications being taken and the corresponding dosages, just in case you need to see a doctor while on vacation along with a letter from your GP with contact details and medical information regarding your condition.
Emergency Contact Numbers – It’s also a good idea to have a list of emergency contact numbers for the place you are visiting, as well as back home. This way, if something does happen and you need to get in touch with someone urgently, you will have the numbers handy
Travel Documents – Don’t forget to pack all of the important travel documents you will need for your trip, such as passports, visas, tickets, and itineraries. It’s also a good idea to make copies of these documents in case you lose the originals.
You can also find up-to-date information about border restrictions and vaccination requirements via SafetyWing.
Also, make sure you are up to date with all your standard vaccinations to reduce the risk of disease and illness while abroad.
Some of the most common travel vaccinations for kids include:
These days, many countries also require proof of vaccination against COVID-19 before you enter.
Getting the annual flu vaccine might be ideal if you are travelling during flu season to minimise your risk of contracting it during your travel.
Preventing Injury While Travelling
When travelling with kids, injuries are almost guaranteed at some point, from a scraped knee to something more serious and it is impossible to prevent every injury your kids may receive while travelling.
These tips will help minimise injury during your time away from home:
Always wear shoes to protect your feet from sharp objects
Ensure shoes are comfortable to prevent blisters and rubbing – wear them in before you travel
Inspect play areas for dangerous materials
Supervise your child’s playtime
Always keep your child in your line of sight when travelling
Be aware of your surroundings so you can assess the risk
Some injuries will happen despite your vigilance, therefore you also need to be prepared.
When travelling with kids, a first aid kit with basic medical supplies is a must. At the bare minimum, be sure to pack bandaids, bandages, antiseptic cream and disinfectant wipes to treat minor cuts and scrapes.
Preventing Insect Bites
Insect bites are not only annoying, but they can also transmit disease. In some parts of the world, particularly in Asia, Africa and South America, there is a high risk of contracting Malaria through mosquito bites.
This is a highly contagious disease that children are very susceptible to contracting. Preventing insect bites is best managed through wearing clothing that leaves little skin exposed and through the use of insect repellant.
However, most insect repellents are not suitable for babies and young children under the age of 24 months due to the chemicals and potential reactions.
It is helpful to test the insect repellent sprays with your children before you leave to ensure they do not have any skin reactions.
If this is the case, there are some natural alternatives, or you may consider other precautions, such as taking a wall plug insect repeller or having a mosquito net over the child’s bed or cot to keep them safe through the night from insect bites. To prevent insect bites:
Wear light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing with long sleeves and pants
Use mosquito nets over cribs, cots and beds
Use an insect repellent containing DEET on exposed skin or a child/infant safe alternative
Cover up baby strollers and prams with mosquito netting
Insect bites can also cause serious reactions in some people so it’s important to be aware of how your child reacts to them. If they have a severe reaction, such as swelling or difficulty breathing, be sure to seek medical attention immediately.
Travel Safety Tip: If your child has sensitive skin, consider spraying their clothing with insect repellant instead of their skin as a way to reduce irritation while still keeping them protected. We often spray strollers and bags too.
Sun Safety While Travelling With Kids
When travelling with kids, it’s important to take sun safety seriously to prevent sunburn and long-term skin damage.
Babies and young children have sensitive skin that can burn easily, so be sure to keep them well protected when outdoors.
Serious sunburn can lead to sunstroke and dehydration, which can cause sickness, fever, diarrhea and fatigue. Pretty much all the things you don’t want your children to experience on holiday.
Pack sunscreen with a high sun protection factor, such as SPF50+ and apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going into the sun to give it time to create a sun barrier.
Sunscreen will remain effective for different periods for each individual. Also be mindful that reapplying sunscreen does not necessarily prevent sunburn for longer, as you are recommended to spend some time out of the sun in between.
To protect your child from the sun and prevent sunburn:
Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before going outdoors
Use high SPF rating sunscreen of 50+SPF or above
Avoid direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day
Wear a hat, and quality sunglasses for all ages
Cover up with long sleeves and long pants
Wear light cotton clothing to avoid being too hot
In case you or your children do experience sunburn, make sure you pack aloe vera gel to soothe sunburn. This will minimise the level of discomfort.
Water Safety For Kids
Drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death in children, so water safety is an important consideration when travelling with kids.
Most drownings occur in backyard pools and home spa baths, but they can also happen in any body of water, such as a river, dam, lake or ocean.
You can help prevent drowning by teaching your children how to swim and by ensuring they are supervised around water at all times.
It is also important to be aware of the different dangers posed by different types of water bodies. For example, oceans have rip currents that can quickly drag swimmers out to sea, while dams and rivers may have hidden drop-offs or undertows.
Always keep your kids within arm’s length when in the water!
In addition to being a good swimmer, there are some other things your child can do to stay safe in the water:
Wear a lifejacket when boating, sailing or fishing
Don’t swim alone – always have someone else with you
Be aware of the dangers posed by rip currents, undertows and drop-offs
Don’t drink alcohol before or during swimming/supervising kids in the water
Don’t swim in bad weather/during poor conditions
Follow the safety instructions and flags at the beach
Choose Safe Destinations For Families
While we would like to think everywhere is safe to visit with kids, this is not always the case! Research your destination before you go and make sure it is somewhere that is suitable for young children.
For example, some countries have high crime rates or are in the midst of civil unrest which can make them unsafe for tourists, let alone families travelling with small children.
If you are unsure whether a destination is safe for families, check with your travel insurance company as they will often have a list of countries that they do not cover.
When researching your destination, be sure to consider the following:
The crime rate and whether it is safe to walk around
The quality of healthcare and hospitals
Current health risks such as viruses
Whether there are recent natural disasters
The political situation in the country or current conflicts
A great resource for current travel safety tips and destination information is SmartTraveller, which allows you to set travel alerts for your upcoming destinations.
50 Quick Tips For Travel Safety With Kids
Travel safety goes beyond illness and injury. It also covers other risks to children, such as becoming lost in crowds or knowing how what to do during an emergency. Here are 50 quick travel safety tips for kids and families:
Research your destination: Familiarize yourself with the local customs, laws, and any safety concerns before you travel.
Pack a first aid kit: Be prepared for minor injuries and illnesses by carrying a well-stocked first aid kit with essentials like band-aids, antiseptic wipes, and any necessary medications.
Use child ID bracelets: Ensure your child has identification information, including your name and contact details, by using ID bracelets or temporary tattoos.
Teach kids about stranger danger: Teach your children about the importance of not talking to or accepting things from strangers, and establish a meeting point in case anyone gets lost.
Use GPS tracking devices: Consider using GPS tracking devices or smartphone apps to keep tabs on your child’s location, especially in crowded areas.
Keep important documents safe: Make copies of passports, travel insurance, and other important documents, and store them in a secure place separate from the originals.
Stay together in crowded places: Hold hands or use child harnesses or leashes to keep younger children close in busy areas to prevent them from getting separated.
Stay hydrated: Encourage your children to drink plenty of water, especially in hot climates, to prevent dehydration.
Protect against the sun: Apply sunscreen regularly, provide hats and sunglasses, and seek shade during the hottest parts of the day to protect your child’s skin from sunburn.
Check safety certifications: When booking accommodations or activities, look for safety certifications and read reviews from other families to ensure they meet safety standards.
Be cautious with street food: While experiencing local cuisine is part of the adventure, be cautious with street food and ensure it is prepared and handled hygienically.
Teach road safety: Teach your children about road safety rules, including looking both ways before crossing the street and using designated crosswalks.
Secure hotel room doors and windows: Ensure your hotel room has functioning locks and secure windows to prevent any unwanted access.
Create an emergency plan: Establish an emergency plan with your children, including what to do in case of a fire, natural disaster, or other emergencies.
Be aware of local emergency numbers: Research and note down the local emergency contact numbers in your destination.
Use reputable transportation services: Opt for licensed taxis or trusted transportation services to ensure safe travel from one place to another.
Be cautious with water activities: When engaging in water activities, ensure proper safety measures are in place, such as life jackets and supervision for younger children.
Keep important contact numbers handy: Carry a list of important contact numbers, including local authorities, your embassy or consulate, and emergency contacts.
Teach kids about cultural norms: Educate your children about cultural norms and customs in your destination to avoid unintentionally offending locals.
Stay vigilant in crowded areas: Keep an eye on your children and personal belongings in crowded areas, as they can be targets for pickpockets or other crimes.
Establish a meeting point: Set a designated meeting point in case anyone gets separated or lost during your travels.
Encourage hand hygiene: Teach your children to wash their hands regularly, especially before meals, to prevent the spread of germs.
Use child-friendly travel gear: Utilize child-friendly travel gear such as car seats, strollers, and baby carriers that meet safety standards and provide comfort for your child.
Stay updated on travel advisories: Check travel advisories and stay updated on any potential safety risks or warnings in your destination.
Avoid sharing personal information: Instruct your children to avoid sharing personal information, such as their full names or hotel details, with strangers.
Be cautious with public Wi-Fi: Avoid accessing sensitive information or making financial transactions when using public Wi-Fi.
Secure your belongings: Keep your valuables, including passports, wallets, and electronics, secure and out of sight to prevent theft.
Research safe neighbourhoods: Choose accommodations in safe and family-friendly neighbourhoods to ensure a comfortable and secure stay.
Stay informed about local laws: Familiarize yourself with local laws and regulations, including those related to child safety, to avoid any unintentional violations.
Use reputable tour operators: When booking tours or excursions, opt for reputable and licensed tour operators who prioritize safety.
Practice water safety: If you’re engaging in water activities, ensure everyone wears appropriate flotation devices and follow water safety guidelines.
Stay updated on health advisories: Stay informed about any health advisories or vaccination requirements for your destination and take necessary precautions.
Monitor children near balconies and open windows: Be cautious of balconies and open windows in your accommodations, especially when travelling with young children.
Stay alert in crowded public transportation: Keep an eye on your belongings and be aware of your surroundings when using crowded public transportation.
Stay at child-friendly accommodation: Look for accommodations that offer child-friendly amenities and safety features such as pool fences, childproofing, or play areas.
Teach kids about safe online behaviour: Educate your children about online safety, including the importance of not sharing personal information or engaging with strangers online.
Stay together during outings: When exploring attractions or crowded places, ensure everyone stays together and establish a buddy system.
Plan for rest breaks: Recognise the need for rest and downtime during your travels, especially for younger children, to prevent exhaustion and crankiness.
Check age restrictions for activities: Before participating in any activities, ensure they are suitable for your child’s age and physical capabilities.
Stay prepared for emergencies: Carry a basic first aid kit, emergency contact information, and any necessary medications for your child.
Be mindful of food allergies: If your child has food allergies, communicate your needs to restaurants and take necessary precautions to avoid allergens.
Respect wildlife and nature: Teach your children to respect wildlife and natural habitats, maintaining a safe distance and following any rules or guidelines in protected areas.
Plan for weather conditions: Check weather forecasts and pack appropriate clothing and gear to keep your children comfortable and protected from extreme weather conditions.
Swim in supervised areas: If possible, swim at beaches with lifeguards, always swim with a buddy and avoid strong currents.
Stay connected: Ensure everyone in your family has a means of communication, such as mobile phones or walkie-talkies, to stay connected during your travels.
Be mindful of cultural differences: Respect and appreciate the cultural differences you encounter, and teach your children to do the same.
Plan for downtime: Balance your itinerary with downtime and relaxation to prevent over-exhaustion and allow for quality family time.
Have travel insurance: Invest in travel insurance that covers medical emergencies and trip interruptions to provide added peace of mind.
Encourage open communication: Create a safe environment for your children to share any concerns or questions they may have during your travels.
Enjoy the journey: Embrace the adventure and enjoy creating lasting memories with your children as you prioritize their safety and well-being during your travels.
If you are planning an upcoming trip with your family, make sure you check out our family travel guide to help you plan, prepare and execute the perfect holiday with kids.
It’s important to take travel safety seriously when travelling with kids to keep the entire family safe for the duration of your vacation! While you cannot prepare for every situation, taking precautions will reduce your risk of illness, injury or worse. By following the tips in this guide, you can help ensure that your family has a safe and enjoyable trip.
Do you have any other travel safety tips for trips with kids? Share them below.