Thursday, March 25, 2010

Spring Break Safety

In addition to Child Identification, we here at Ident-A-Kid are also concerned with you and your family’s safety during the Spring Break holiday. Spring break is a great time for the family to get away from the cold, dark days of winter and have some fun in the sun. Keep your family safe while on your trip by following these tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Also, do not forget to have your Ident-A-Kid card with you at all times!

Sun Safety for Babies

• Babies under 6 months of age should be kept out of direct sunlight. Move your baby to the shade under a tree, umbrella or stroller canopy. It is okay to apply a small amount of sunscreen on infants under 6 months if there is no way to avoid the sun.

• Dress babies in lightweight clothing that covers the arms and legs, and use brimmed hats.

Sun Safety for Kids

• Choose sunscreen that is made for children, preferably waterproof. Before covering your child, test the sunscreen on your child’s back for an allergic reaction. Apply carefully around the eyes, avoiding eyelids. If a rash develops, talk with your pediatrician.

• Select clothes made of tightly woven fabrics. Cotton clothing is both cool and protective.

• When using a cap with a bill, make sure the bill is facing forward to shield your child’s face. Sunglasses with UV protection are also a good idea for protecting your child’s eyes.

• If your child gets sunburn that results in blistering, pain or fever, contact your pediatrician.

Sun Safety for the Family

• The sun’s rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Try to keep out of the sun during those hours.

• The sun’s damaging UV rays can bounce back from sand, snow or concrete; so be particularly careful of these areas.

• Most of the sun’s rays can come through the clouds on an overcast day; so use sun protection even on cloudy days.

• When choosing a sunscreen, look for the words "broad-spectrum" on the label - it means that the sunscreen will screen out both ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet A (UVA) rays. Choose a water-resistant or waterproof sunscreen and reapply every two hours.

• Zinc oxide, a very effective sunblock, can be used as extra protection on the nose, cheeks, tops of the ears and on the shoulders.

• Use a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15.

• Rub sunscreen in well, making sure to cover all exposed areas, especially the face, nose, ears, feet and hands, and even the backs of the knees.

• Put on sunscreen 30 minutes before going outdoors - it needs time to work on the skin.

• Sunscreens should be used for sun protection and not as a reason to stay in the sun longer.

Beach Tips *

• Drink plenty of water, non-carbonated and non-alcoholic drinks, even if you do not feel thirsty.

• Stay within the designated swimming area and ideally within the visibility of a lifeguard

• Never swim alone.

• Be aware of rip currents. If you should get caught in a current, don’t try to swim against it. Swim parallel to shore until clear of the current.

• Seek shelter in case of storm. Get out of the water. Get off the beach in case of lightning.

• Watch out for traffic – some beaches allow cars.

©American Academy of Pediatrics 2/10 – For more information about safety for your child, please visit

Spring break is also a time when your teen and college-age child will be thinking about going on vacation themselves. Whether your child has arranged a Spring Break vacation with a group of friends or is spending it at home she’ll be at risk. If you’re at work you won’t be there to check who she’s spending her time with and what she’s doing. Below are some tips from for you and your family about how to make sure your child will be safe when going on Spring Break vacation.

Research suggests that Spring Break is a prime time for teenagers to start smoking (including smoking marijuana) and drinking. Girls are more vulnerable than boys when it comes to risky behavior – but no child is invincible and no matter how sensible yours is, it’s likely they’ll come under pressure from friends to do things they know they shouldn’t. Without the guidance of adult supervision you need to know your child has some Spring Break safety rules in place…

1 Keep up communication

Ensure your child’s cellphone is fully charged and if it’s a pay-as-you go phone make sure she has sufficient funds to call you. Your home and cellphone numbers should be programmed into her phone – it’s a good idea to program them in as ‘emergency contact 1’, ‘emergency contact 2’ and so on so that the authorities will immediately know who to contact in case of accidents. She also needs to program in the phone number of the local sheriff’s office and/or police department and, if she’s going abroad, the number of your local embassy and the general emergency services number (keep in mind that it isn’t 911 everywhere you go).

Make sure her cellphone service will be available wherever she’s going – if not, give her some money to purchase a pay-as-you-go phone once she arrives (she should immediately program in her list of emergency numbers) or provide her with a phonecard. You need contact numbers for the hotel or rental where she’ll be staying, and all of her friends.

2 Stress that there’s safety in numbers

Tell her to stick to the buddy system and remains with a group of other teens at all times. She mustn’t go anywhere on her own or go anywhere with a stranger she has just met, especially if she’s out of town in unfamiliar territory.

If your teen is traveling outside of the US, register her with the state department – it means the nearest US embassy or consulate can locate both you and her in the event of an emergency and to pass on travel warnings

3 Prepare early for international travel

Passports are now required for air or sea travel between the US and Mexico, Central and South America, Canada, the Caribbean and Bermuda. This means your child’s passport is at risk of being stolen so tell her to deposit it in her hotel’s safe as soon as she checks in. Provide her with a photocopy of it that she can stash in her luggage as a fallback, and keep a photocopy of it yourself, along with a copy of her driver’s license. If she’s flying, keep a copy of her itinerary including flight numbers and times.

Get clued into airline security if your child is flying. The Transport Security Administration has up-to-date advice on new rules for take-on baggage. Make it crystal clear to your child that inappropriate jokes and threats will not be tolerated by airline security, and could result in her and her friends missing their flight and being taken into custody by local law enforcement.

4 Stay in touch with other parents

If your child is going away with a group of friends, make sure you have contact numbers for all their parents. Check with them in regard to what kind of rules they’ve laid down for their child’s behavior and activities on Spring Break and see if you can all coordinate so that all of the children are following the same guidelines.

Before your child leaves, role play some situations with her so she can practice how to say no to alcohol and drugs, even if it’s her friends who are pressuring her to take them.

5 Warn your child off alcohol

This is particularly important if she’s traveling abroad, where the rules governing drinking may be different or more lax that they are in the US. Make sure your child is aware of how alcohol could affect her judgment and behavior, especially if she’ll be driving. You should also explain how it might relax her inhibitions when it comes to sex. She should also know the signs of alcohol poisoning, which include semi-consciousness, slow breathing and cold clammy, pale or bluish skin.

Explain to her that it’s possible for her drink to be spiked with drugs such as Rohypnol that could put her at risk of sexual assault. Warn her not to drink soda that someone else has opened for her, not to accept drinks from strangers and not to leave her drink unattended (if she has to for some reason she should get a new drink and discard the old one).

6 Speak to her about drugs

Tell your child not to accept any pills from strangers – or her friends – and not to smoke anything that might be marijuana. If she is traveling abroad, do some research to find out what the penalties are for being found in possession of drugs – in some countries, a jail sentence is the norm.

7 Teach her some useful phrases
If your child will be traveling in a country where English isn’t the first language, make sure she learns some phrases to use if there is any kind of emergency, such as “I need a doctor”, “I need help” or “Call the police”.

For more information about Spring Break safety for your child, please visit
For more information about Child Safety and Identification, please visit