The family summer vacation is a time-honored tradition, and it often includes a trip to one of our beautiful Washington State beaches, parks, city attractions or events.
While the weather is sunny, the water cool and there are plenty of activities for everyone to enjoy, it pays to be vigilant, particularly if you’re visiting with children. Here are some things to keep in mind that will help make sure your family vacation is full of fun, instead of worry.
Amusement Park Ride Safety
According to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), the majority of injuries on rides happen because guests have a pre-existing medical condition or don’t follow posted guidelines. IAAPA recommends that you:
- Always obey posted restrictions, including those for age, height, weight and health issues.
- Follow all instructions from park staff, as well as recorded announcements.
- Make sure children understand appropriate and safe behavior.
- Keep hands, arms, legs and feet inside rides at all times, and use the safety equipment that is provided. Don’t ever try to loosen or get free from restraints.
- Refrain from pressuring others into going on rides that make them uncomfortable.
- Report any unsafe behavior or conditions to a supervisor or manager at the park.
The potential for danger can increase significantly when you bring water into the equation, whether it is a pool, lake, ocean or water park ride.
- Those who cannot swim and weak swimmers should wear a life vest approved by the Coast Guard; children under 4 feet tall should as well.
- Always pay attention to the ocean tides and keep a close eye on children near bodies of water. Tide tables can often be found online or in local newspapers.
- As with all rides, obey posted restrictions and instructions from lifeguards and other park staff. Signal an employee or lifeguard if you see anyone who appears to be struggling.
- Children who need diapers should wear waterproof swim diapers to avoid contaminating the waters.The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has additional recommendations regarding hygiene:
- Try to avoid getting water in your mouth or swallowing it.
- Always shower before and after swimming, and wash hands thoroughly after using the restroom or changing diapers.
General Welfare Tips
No matter what kind of park you’re visiting — or even if you’re simply attending a public event — the following tips can help ensure your safety and good time:
- Set up an emergency meeting place, and use the buddy system. This can help in case someone gets separated from your group, and make sure children are never alone. Even if kids typically use the restroom by themselves, the unfamiliar area combined with the crowds and chaos may be too much for them to handle.
- Memorize phone numbers. Don’t rely on your mobile phone’s contact list. Commit at least one party member’s phone number to memory in case you’re lost without your phone or after your battery’s been drained. Have children do the same.
- A good trick for younger children is to get a temporary tattoo made of your name and phone number or make your own by writing on their arm with non-toxic ink and covering with liquid band-aid.
- Take a picture of children before a big event to have a recent photo and documentation of what they are wearing.
- Beat the heat. Monitor how much time children and older adults spend in the sun, bring (and use) sunscreen and drink plenty of fluids throughout the day to stay hydrated. Hats and sunglasses may help further.
- Dress for comfort. It’s easy to log several miles while exploring. Comfortable shoes are a must, as is weather-appropriate attire. Remember weather can change in an instant, be prepared.
- If you are venturing into a forest for a hike make sure you know where you are going and which direction you came from. It is always a good idea to carry a small flashlight, basic first aid kit and cell phone.
- Watch where you’re going. Festivals and events can often be crowded, so always be aware of what’s around you — both for your safety and that of others. Never go into restricted areas, and keep a close eye on your belongings. Perhaps the most important tip of all is this: Know your limits — and those of the people with you. Are there health conditions you need to consider? Are you traveling with children or those with special needs? Plan ahead and be prepared.No matter your situation, a trip to one of our beautiful state parks, national parks, beaches or festivals can become a cherished family memory, so long as you don’t try to overdo it. Enjoy yourself and remember having fun is what summer is all about! Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance.