A mum, dad and their three kids from Tasmania, go on an epic adventure in Borneo for 3 weeks in December

Travel Bells ‘n’ Whistles – Security for Children

I’m reading 399 travel tips by the good folk over at Newsweek Budget Travel and picked up some great tips for traveling with kids. Last weekend we found ourselves in Melbourne and anyone traveling with children in airports and large shopping centers will tell you that it’s easy to lose one or all of the kids – frequently. We tend to boldly lead the way, and the kids follow, but every now and then they stop to look at something bright, colorful, moving or tasty and they’ve lost sight of us. We’re constantly backtracking to round them up. Our kids also like riding escalators since they never see any back home.

Back to 399 tips. Jim Hall from Buford Ga, recommends attaching some little bells (like a cat bell, or the ones Indian dancers wear) on his pack so when he falls asleep, if anyone tries a sneaky raid, the bells wake him up. So on my list goes a bunch of bells. I’m going to attach these little suckers to the kids packs so they’ll be easier to hear. On top of that, I’m going to get some Hi-Vis tape and attach that to the top of their packs to make them more visible and lastly, Chandra Huang of Hawaii has recommended loud whistles for kids that they can blow if they’re lost. This is obviously a safety technique used in bush-walking but translates well even into big cities.

In terms of security and lost kids, each day we will photograph the kids so we know what they were wearing and we will also have a record of their height, age, weight, and passport numbers. We would also add blood type if we had it. This will be in case they really do get lost and authorities need to be involved. The first thing they ask parents is what they were wearing and how tall they are. Of course if you’re in a panic you’ve got no chance of remembering what each child wore. We’ll be able to pull out the photo on the iPhone and hand them all the relevant information on the spot. Naturally I’m confident we won’t need to, but it’s all just part of responsible parenting.

Of course, the alternative to all of this is keep your children within arms reach 24/7, but being a free-range, anti-helicopter style parent, I like my kids to be able to explore and be a little independent within reason.


2 responses to “Travel Bells ‘n’ Whistles – Security for Children

  1. laurahartson August 9, 2011 at 11:04 am

    its scary to think that you have to take these measures to protect your children

    • John August 15, 2011 at 11:54 pm

      Yeah it’s a bit scary, but being a kind of “free range” parent, it doesn’t really bother me. Cases like Madeleine McCann get huge media reporting because it’s every parents’ nightmare, but millions of kids travel and never get into trouble, so it’s very rare.

      For me, the preparation takes the worry out, so having done all we need to do safety-wise means I won’t have to worry too much on the trip and just enjoy.

      Oh, did I mention writing on their tummies with a texta or marker pen our mobile phone number? We also train our kids to identify and talk to trusted people (store owners, official people, people with name tags, older women or mums etc.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: