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Tips for a Fun and Safe Spring Break in 2016

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Spring break is one of the most popular travel times of the year and travel experts are already noticing some trends for 2016. According to Bill Sutherland, AAA’s Senior Vice President of Travel and Publishing, “travelers are seeking warm weather destinations this spring as they look to escape the cold.”

Tiffany Wright, spokesperson for the AAA Carolinas, points to the popularity of Universal Studios Orlando, Walt Disney World and Carnival Cruises as the top bookings for spring. For European travel, she says, “Italy continues to be the most sought-after destination.”

According to Eileen Ogintz of TakingtheKids.com, “The biggest [spring break] trend is multigenerational trips with grandparents.” She also says that more families are searching for rental homes and condos which let them spread out and prepare their own meals.

If you too are dreaming of warm, sunny places, here are the ways to enjoy each moment and stay safe.

Driving

Gas prices are at a 10-year low and many families will be driving this spring break. Before taking a road trip, it is smart to let a mechanic check your car. Wright offers the following safety tips for families in the car:

  • Install car seats properly
  • Make sure children stay buckled up at all times
  • If you need to unbuckle your child, pull over
  • Have toys secured in a bag that is in a safe and accessible
  • Plan ahead for stretching and bathroom breaks

Wright also says, “Most people are inclined to travel at night because kids are sleeping. However, your body has a natural time to sleep, from 12 am to 6 am and noon to 3 pm, depending on your work schedule. Travel as if you are going to work, when you are more apt to be alert. Also, when people are awake in the car, it helps the driver stay awake.”

Protecting Your Home

Securely shut and lock all doors and windows before leaving. Turn on a lamp or put one on a timer.

Ask a trusted neighbor to get your mail and newspapers and check on your house. Limit sharing about your vacation on social media; the fewer people that know you are away, the better.

Keeping Kids Safe

In public places, always accompany children. Dress kids in bright colors and take photos of them daily to identify them more easily.

Plan ahead and instruct your children to find a uniformed attendant, law enforcement officer or security guard if they become lost. Set a designated meeting place in case family members get separated.

If older children wish to be on their own, make sure they stay together.

Sun Exposure

Use sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15 on all exposed body parts and wait 15 minutes before going into the sun. Stay out of the sun during the hottest portions of the day.

Sunburns can happen on cloudy days, so if you are outdoors, use sunscreen. Wear UV rated sunglasses to protect everyone’s eyes.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has specific recommendations for children:

  • Keep infants out of direct sunlight
  • In addition to applying sunscreen, dress babies in loose clothing that covers the extremities and head
  • Young children and adolescents should use a children’s waterproof sunscreen
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours and after swimming

Water Safety

To stay safe in the water, swim only within designated areas. If a lifeguard is on duty, stay where they can see you. Always swim with a buddy.

Take extra care with young children, keeping them close and never leaving them unattended, even for a few moments. When boating, everyone should wear life vests, even strong swimmers.

Hydration

Whether your family visits a theme park, a city or the beach, staying hydrated is important, especially in the sun. Drink lots of non-carbonated, non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverages to prevent dehydration.

Food and Drink

If traveling outside the US, only drink beverages from sealed containers. Also, eat only foods that are freshly cooked and served hot. Before consuming produce, wash it thoroughly.

Safety While Traveling Abroad

Check the U.S. State Department’s website for travel alerts and health updates. With the Zika virus in the news, Ogintz says, “Be careful of insect bites. No one wants to get sick on or after vacation. If you are going somewhere there is Zika, follow CDC guidelines.”

And of course, keep a close eye on belongings—passports, money, credit cards, luggage— while abroad.

Enjoying Spring Break

By following these suggestions, you and your family can have a safer, more worry-free spring vacation.


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