Six Safety Tips for Teens Travelling Abroad

Teen travel is a booming industry. Shopping, friends and travel are all on a teen’s list of top priorities. How high is safety on that list?

You may have seen the movies “Hostel 1 & 2” and “Taken.” Is it horror at its worst or a glimpse into the potential problems teens may face when traveling abroad? Sure, these movies are a lot scarier than teen travel and you probably laughed at the reference, but safety is no joke.

Passport Safety

Does a traveling teen know about passport safety tips? A passport should always be on your person. True, many European hotels and hostels require you leave your passport at the front desk, whether you are checking-in or leaving the property for the day or evening. Make several complete copies of your passport prior to leaving home…in color if possible.

Leave a copy of your passport at home with family or friends, pack one in your suitcase (which you can carry with you as you sight-see abroad) and, if possible, a copy with a traveling companion or tour leader.

Know Your Rights

As a citizen of the United States, you have certain rights when you travel abroad. A United States Consulate, in the country where you travel, is where you need to seek help if you find yourself in trouble or if your passport goes missing.

Phone Calling Tips

Dialing abroad is slightly different from domestic calls. Learn the international phone dialing code, as well the particular country code of the area. You should also learn how to call your home numbers from the specific countries visited.

Know the Culture

You will want to do some research on the country you are planning to visit. Know the location of the US Consulate, and be aware of any peculiar laws you may accidentally find yourself challenging. This is especially true of Eastern Europe and the Middle East. To avoid unnecessary trouble abroad, remember that what we generally consider fun and games at home may cost you some headaches when traveling.

Safety in Numbers

Always try to stay together when out for the night. Walking in a strange city, at night can be dangerous enough. If you add alcohol or partying to the mix, you may be opening yourself up unnecessary harm when taking a short cut down a wrong alley, for example.

Watch for Crime

There are so many tricks and frauds, to be aware of when traveling. A common trick involves one person lingering at one end of a street who sends a signal to another person on the next block, indicating you are a good target for harm or theft. Another good example is Italy, where pick pocketing is an art form

Following a few guidelines can make the difference between a fun trip and a frightening brush with danger. By traveling smart, teens can have a truly memorable gap year and enjoy their time away from home.


Jessica Bosari writes blogs and articles for AdventuresCrossCountry, a site that helps teens and young adults find teen camps and gap year programs.

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3 Leading Causes of Childhood Injuries [and Ways to Avoid Them]

As a parent you want nothing more than to keep your child safe and secure. And knowing how to prevent the leading causes of child injuries—like falls, motor vehicle injury and poisonings—is a step toward this goal.

Here’s what you need to know.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries for all children ages 0 to 19. Every day, about 8,000 children are treated in emergency rooms for fall-related injuries. That’s about 2.8 million children a year.

Thankfully, many falls can be prevented. Here are three simple, but life-saving tips:

  • Examine playground equipment. Is it properly designed? Properly maintained? Is there a soft landing surface?
  • Install safety guards on all above ground-level windows, stair gates and guard rails.
  • And make sure your child wears proper protective gear when playing active sports, such as a helmet when they are riding a bicycle.

Motor Vehicle Injuries

In the U.S., traffic accident injuries are the leading cause of death among children. In 2005 alone, 1,335 children ages 14 years and younger died as occupants in motor vehicle crashes. Approximately 184,000 were injured.

What’s the cause of all these deaths and injuries? Intoxicated drivers, unrestrained children and improper use of car and boosters seats top the lists. Fortunately, many of these deaths can be prevented. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Place a child in an age- and size-appropriate car seat. This reduces serious and fatal injuries by more than half.
  • Place children under 8 years old and less than 4’9” in a booster seat.
  • Children under 12 years old should always ride in the back seat. Never place a child in front of an air bag.


A poison is any substance that can harm a child if too much is eaten, inhaled, injected, or absorbed through the skin. This includes medications. Sadly, seventy-nine percent of all poison control center cases involve children. Sixty-four percent occur in children under age 5. It’s estimated 70 percent of accidental poisonings are preventable.

So want can you do to keep your child from unintentionally poisoning himself? Here are nine quick tips.

  • Know what products can be dangerous—and keep them out of reach of children.
  • Put the poison control number, 1-800-222-1222, on or near every home telephone—including your cell phone.
  • Keep all drugs in medicine cabinets.
  • Avoid taking medicine in front of children because they often copy adults.
  • Never call medicine “candy.”
  • Avoid putting your next dose on the counter where children can reach them.
  • Do not leave household, lawn or car products out after using them.
  • Install safety latches to all cabinets.
  • Identify poisonous plants in your house and yard and put them out of reach of children.

By following the simple tips above, you will dramatically reduce the chances that your child will be injured by a fall, motor vehicle accident or poisoning and help him or her develop into an healthy, active person.

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Top 10 Ways to Keep the Kids Safe at a Theme Park

A family day out at a theme park is supposed to be fun, but with little ones it can be a bit daunting.

Stressing and panicking is no good for anyone, however, so here are top ten ways to eliminate the worry and keep your cherubs safe.

1. Dress in bright, anonymous clothing
One of the best ways to keep your children safe at a theme park is to dress them in brightly coloured clothing, so you can see them at all times. You really want them to be highly visible, so dig out the brightest attire you can find (if they will let you) and make a note of what they are wearing. Bright, block colours work best, as can be seen from afar, so don’t get carried away and keep it simple. If you have kids not yet old enough to care, you could even dress them all the same to eliminate any confusion.

2. Don’t Wear Slip On Shoes
On the morning of your trip, make sure you don’t put your kids in shoes which could easily fall off. On many attractions feet don’t have anything to rest on and are left to dangle down, so if shoes are not done up properly they could easily come off. Funky sandals and vibrant flip-flops may look cool, but if they end up hitting a passer-by in the head, you will definitely not be laughing.

3. Stranger Danger
Before setting off, remind your children of stranger danger and enforce that they must not talk to, or go off with anybody they don’t know. Keep younger children on a child leash and tell the older kids to always stay in your view. Reassure them that they can do all the fun things they want, but it must be at the pace of the family.

To protect your children further make sure you do not dress them in any clothes which display their name in an obvious way. Avoid personalised football strips, t-shirts, caps and even named key rings on bags. Children are more likely to follow someone who knows their name, so simply be aware.

4. Wear identity bands
When heading to a theme park it is very good idea to place a discreet identity band around your child’s wrist stating your telephone number. That way, if they do get lost hopefully someone will find them and they will be reunited with you in no time. Even older children can forget a telephone number in a moment of panic, so if they don’t want to wear a band, always give them a bit of paper with it on just in case.

5. Agree on a meeting place
Arriving at a theme park can be extremely exciting, however, it is very important to keep control and organise everyone as there is nothing worst than losing a member of your group. Decide upon a meeting point you must all return to if someone gets lost and make sure everyone knows where they are to come. It is advisable to select the biggest, brightest attraction in the park as this can often be seen from a great distance.

6. Never leave your child alone
Never, ever leave your children alone while you go on a ride. Always make sure there is a ride you can enjoy together or that there is a friend or relative to look after your little ones. It sounds so simple, but in the chaos of the day, communication may break down and your youngsters may end up alone. What’s more, make sure if you pop to the loo or go to buy food, that someone knows they are looking after the kids.

7. Chose appropriate rides
Theme parks usually have a whole range of rides and attractions to suit everyone from the bravest of thrill seekers to timid little ones. It is highly recommended you watch a ride before taking your children on it as it may not look scary at first but might do something unexpected. Many rides also have height restrictions, so make sure you read all the information boards or ask an attendant to save unnecessary queuing.

8. Use sun cream
Many theme park attractions are located outside and therefore it is extremely important to bring sun cream along with you — and use it. The weather may not look particularly great, but if you are outside you can still catch the sun, so be sure to protect yourself and your children from harmful rays. The last thing you want is to be caught unprepared and for you kids to get burnt.

9. Keep hydrated
A theme park adventure is thirsty work, so make sure you all stay hydrated. Bring bottles of water with you, buy some at the park’s shops, or stop for regular refreshments. Kids often get so excited they forget to eat or drink, so be forceful and make sure they keep take in regular liquid. Dehydration can be very serious but can also be easily avoided.

10. Bring plasters
Bringing a mini first aid kit along with you, is a really, really good idea. Day trips often avoid lots of walking and so plasters are usually essential. Shoes can rub, especially during hot days or if they get wet and it is a very good idea to be prepared. Children also love to run around and may fall and cut themselves, so having a pack of plaster will soon put a smile on their faces once again.

So, there you have it, day trips with the family really don’t have to be stressful. Simply be sensible, stay alert and enjoy a fun-filled adventure together.


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