Spring Break Safety
Health Article by Larry D. Jones, MPH, Health Director
March 12, 2013
Spring Break is quickly approaching and many of us can’t wait to pack up our suitcases and head out on a well-deserved vacation. But having a successful vacation entails more than just packing up your flip flops and bathing suit. Planning ahead can help ensure the success of your trip; whether you’re going to the beach, mountains, Disneyworld, or halfway around the world.
As you hit the road to begin your journey, there are a few simple road rules to follow. First off, always ensure that everyone in your vehicle is buckled in. Child safety seats reduce the risk of death in passenger cars by 71% for infants and by 54% for toddlers’ ages 1 to 4 years. Secondly, abide by the general rules of the road: stay alert, drive the speed limit, remain courteous of fellow drivers and avoid any form of distracted or impaired driving.
Upon arrival to your destination, take some time to familiarize yourself with your surroundings. Inspect hotel rooms for hazards, such as sharp corners on furniture and unprotected electrical outlets, exposed wiring, or faulty balcony railings. If you are staying at a resort or hotel that includes childcare, ask about the staff's training and what health and safety measures are in place. Many hotels offer activities for children, check to see if the activities are designed to fit the skills of your child.
If your family has planned an action packed vacation, make sure that everyone is aware of how to stay in contact with one another. Develop a system for staying together, particularly if you are going into theme parks and other crowded areas. If you have planned a trip that involves physical activity, make sure that all safety equipment meets current standards (scuba diving, rock climbing, mountain biking, etc.).
Just like you keep a medicine cabinet at home; it is important to be prepared for illness while on vacation. Lucky for us, illness prevention is available in travel size. Pack common medications, such as antibiotics, allergy tablets, first aid supplies, insect repellant and hand sanitizers. Even if your trip hasn’t taken you to the beach, you will still want to pack sun protectant; such as sunscreen, a floppy hat and some aloe vera just in case.
Whether you are daydreaming on the beach, or getting in touch with nature by hiking through the mountains remember that you are on vacation. Most of us tend to indulge on vacation, and we must remember to get back to our normal routine. This includes sleep patterns, eating healthy and staying physically active.
Most importantly, relax and have a good time. Both children and other adults can recognize when parents are tense or nervous, so plan ahead to ensure a wonderful vacation filled with unforgettable memories! For more information on Traveling Safety, you may visit www.cdc.gov/features/familytravel or contact the Independence Health Department at (816) 325-7185.