Be prepared — wherever spring break takes you

Published in Pediatrics, For the Health of It Author: Denise Lenarz,MD

CentraCare Clinic - Health Plaza Pediatrics

Spring break season is here! Over the next few weeks, many of the schools in Central Minnesota will be taking some time off.

Whether your family is using this time to take a flight, a road trip or just a day to visit the Twin Cities — it’s a great opportunity for togetherness and family fun.

Regardless of what you are planning, a little bit of preparation can help make sure your quality time together is, in fact, quality.

Keep the following tips in mind to help keep everyone safe, active and ready for fun!

  • Make sure everyone is properly buckled up. No longer how long or short your drive is, make sure your child’s car seat is properly installed and review our list of child passenger safety tips. If you are flying and your child is planning on using his or her car seat, make sure his or her car seat is approved for use in an aircraft. Not all of them are. If you’re not sure, most seats will say if they are or not in the instructions along the side of the seat.
  • Make everyone feel like they are traveling in first class. Don’t want to listen to repeated cries of “Are we there yet?” You can bring along books, magazines, cards, sketchbooks, stickers, colored pencils, beads, pipe cleaner and other craft supplies. When your traveling party needs a snack, bring along individually packaged crackers, fruit snacks or trail mix. And keep some bottled water close-at-hand, too. It’s also never a bad idea to have some garbage bags, extra diapers, wipes and a change of clothes.
  • Make a plan and go over it ahead of time. Nothing can ruin your day faster than losing track of a child. Go over with your kids where to go if they get separated. Give them precise instructions (stay put, go to a prominent landmark) and/or what to do (find another parent, employee). For young children, write your cell phone number on a wristband or with a Sharpie on their arm. And if you’ll be out around dark, get your kids glowstick necklaces or bracelets. Not only will your kids have a blast with them — they’ll help make the little ones more visible too.
  • Don’t forget water safety. If your vacation plans involve the beach, a waterpark, rec center or just a hotel pool — review our list of water safety tips. If needed, get age-appropriate life jackets or flotation devices. When around water, don’t leave your kids unattended and give them your complete attention.