Family Spring Break Travel: Stay Healthy and Safe
Spring break is family time. You deserve a vacation free from hassles. Plan ahead so your family getaway is enjoyable and fun for everyone. Pack smart, drive safely, eat healthy.
Say good-bye to winter blues by taking a family vacation during spring break. Ensure the success of your trip—whether you’re going to a beach resort, theme park, or ski mountain—by planning a healthy and safe holiday.
Vaccination before vacation. Before going abroad, find out about important vaccines you and your family should have and any health concerns associated with your destination. Contact your local health department or a travel medicine specialist for specifics.
Remember it's still flu season. Vaccines are the most important tool we have for preventing the flu. Talk to your doctor about getting a seasonal flu vaccination and a vaccination against the 2009 H1N1 virus before you travel. Information is available at www.flu.gov
Travel health insurance. Consider purchasing health insurance if you're traveling outside the United States, because your regular carrier may not cover expenses. Coverage for emergency medical evacuation can be useful. For safety concerns, review the U.S. Department of State's website www.travel.state.govExternal Web Site Icon. It assists travelers in gauging the political climate of possibly unstable countries.
You are what you eat. In developing countries, eat foods that have been fully cooked and served hot. Avoid eating fresh vegetables and fruits, unless you can peel them yourself. Unpasteurized dairy products are a big gamble, particularly if you are traveling with infants. If your baby is bottle-fed, carry powdered baby formula and use purified, bottled water with intact seals. And, because a "hungry kid is a cranky kid," bring sensible snacks for long airplane rides or car drives.
During your trip
Buckle up. On a road trip, everyone needs to be buckled in securely. 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. Seats should fit body size and be installed properly.
Remember the basics of safe driving:
* Keep your speed below the speed limit.
* Stay alert.
* Avoid distractions like talking on the phone or texting.
* Avoid drinking and driving.
* Avoid venturing into dangerous areas.
Families that play together, stay together. Families should develop their own system for staying together, particularly if they are going into theme parks and other crowded areas. Parents can determine a comfortable level of independence based on the age and maturity of each child, but everyone should know what to do if separated from the group. Caution your children about talking to strangers.
Active vacations. Active vacations depend on reliable outfitters for success. While you are making reservations, determine if activities are appropriate to the ages and abilities of your children. Ask if guides have experience in working with children of those ages. Make sure their equipment is well-maintained and meets safety standards. If you rent bikes or rollerblades, insist on helmets and pads.
Child care. If you are staying at a resort with children's programs, find out about the staff's training and what health and safety measures are in place. Ask if activities are designed to fit the skills of your child.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention content is free and public domain.
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