Safe Kids Kansas offers safety tips for holiday travelers
TOPEKA, Kan. – Winter holidays often include travel to see family and friends. Whether your trip is over the river and through the woods, or the distance of a plane trip, plan ahead to ensure safe travels.
“With the dramatic increase of travelers over the holiday season, getting to your holiday destination can be a harried experience,” said Cherie Sage, of Safe Kids Kansas. “A little advance planning can go a long way into making your holiday a safe one.”
Top tips for winter travel safety
Check for childproofing: If your holiday travels include a stay at a relative or friend’s home be sure to talk to your host in advance about basic childproofing. This is especially important if you are visiting people whose children have already grown or those without children. Keep pill-minders and other medications out of sight and out of reach of children. Keep purses and baggage off the floor where curious children can get into items that may be toxic or cause injuries.
Travel tips by road: Always use a car seat or booster seat that is appropriate for your child’s age and size. Babies should be kept rear-facing for as long as their car seat allows, approximately age 2. A forward-facing car seat can protect older toddlers and harnesses should be used up to the weight and height limit indicated by the car seat manufacturer. Children who have outgrown a harness seat should use a booster seat until they meet the minimum requirements of Kansas law, or the laws of the state you are visiting. For more information about the Kansas booster seat law, visit www.kansasboosterseat.org. Older children and adults must also buckle up on every ride.
Travel tips by air: When traveling by airplane, Safe Kids Kansas and the Federal Aviation Administration strongly recommend using a car seat. Infants and toddlers are safest in an approved car seat with a harness, in case of turbulence. Make sure your child’s car seat is labeled “certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft.” Children who have outgrown their harness car seats should sit directly on the airplane seat like all other passengers, keeping the lap belt buckled snugly across their thighs. Booster seats cannot be used on airplanes, because they require shoulder belts and airplane seats have only lap belts. Boosters can be checked with other luggage, or at the gate, so you have them handy at your destination.
BYO safety gear: If your children will be biking, skating, skateboarding, skiing or snowboarding, make sure to pack their helmet. Dress children in layers and take breaks to stay hydrated.
Sleep safely on the go: If you have a baby and the trip involves staying overnight, consider bringing your own folding playpen, rather than relying on borrowed cribs. A survey conducted by Safe Kids Worldwide found many hotel-issued cribs to be defective, damaged or even recalled from the market. And know that the old crib at Grandma’s that was used when you were a child may not meet current safety standards or may even be recalled. If you must use a borrowed crib, inspect it carefully for broken or missing parts, and look up the model on www.recalls.gov to make sure it isn’t subject to any safety notices.
For more information about child passenger safety on airplanes, visit the “Flying with Children” page at www.faa.gov/passengers. For information about car seats and child passenger safety in general, visit www.safekids.org. For information about crib safety, visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission at www.cpsc.gov or call 800-638-2772.
Information thanks to Safe Kids Kansas, see www.safekidskansas.org for more information.