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Travel Tips | Travel & Vacation Tips & Resources - Part 2

Traveling With Children In Crowded Places = Stranger Danger

When our moms used to take us anywhere, they would always hold our hand and remind us never to talk to strangers. Today, it is even more important to talk to your children about how to deal with strangers.

One of the best ways to introduce this subject is to talk to your children in a way that will not scare them or make them frightened of others. To explain the meaning of the word, that not all people are bad, and that you want to give them the tools they need to protect themselves in case a stranger approaches.

Some of the basic rules we were taught as children is to avoid getting into a car with someone you don’t know; if a stranger asks for help, walk away; never accept candy or any other gift from a stranger; if a stranger makes you feel funny inside, find a parent or adult immediately.

These basic instructions have advanced over the years since there are many more strangers who prey on young children. These individuals can accost children on their way to school, on a bus, in the subway, in bathrooms, in department stores, in supermarkets, or anywhere the child may seem available and vulnerable. It is necessary to point out that a stranger may use different tactics to get the child’s attention.

No matter how young your child is, you can teach them how to use good judgment by asking questions in a game-like format. Ask questions using different scenarios and see how the children respond. Offer advice if their answers are contrary to what they need to accomplish.

Here is one of the techniques widely used today if a stranger approaches a child for any reason and the child feels threatened: he or she should scream the word NO as loudly as possible, then run away and find a parent, teacher, or an adult who is known to the child.

Utilizing different scenarios can help the child understand why some strangers may be harmful and the means by which the child can affect a positive outcome.

But the main point that should be stressed is that adults should always listen to a child, especially if they have encountered a stranger. Let the children know the actions taken were proper and necessary.

If your children have been bothered by a stranger and taken appropriate action, praise them and reaffirm they are safe. This will alleviate any fears they may have and will empower them to talk to you if a situation like that happens again.


Rain and Weatherproof Yourself for the Fourth of July

While most people will be preparing their first barbecue of the summer on July 4th, the sunset may produce a cooler forecast for the fireworks display in the evening. Whether you are at home or on vacation, here are some tips you can use if the weather isn’t so obliging.

If you are vacationing in New York, for example, you can view the Macy’s fireworks display at many locations, one of which is the South Street Seaport. The temperature may be a bit cooler in the evening and although there are outdoor cafes available at the pier, you will need to dress a little warmer for this grand event.

And if you are standing on a parade route or on an overpass in a city or other venue that is near water, you may need to bring some extra items as well. Here are some tips:

  1. Wear layers. Cotton shirts, slacks, sweaters, and light outer jackets will keep you quite comfortable. Wear comfortable shoes since you may have to walk some distance to the event site.
  2. If you live close to where the fireworks display is being held and decide to bring lawn chairs to watch the event, bring a blanket along as well.
  3. When it rains, it pours. If you notice that the skies are overcast, bring an umbrella and rainwear so that your family can weatherproof themselves for the occasion.
  4. You may also want to pack a thermos of soup or hot tea in case there is a definite chill in the air.
  5. If you are bringing the children, you may also want to take along hats for them as it may become windy or unusually cool.

Although firework displays are exciting and fun to watch, ensure that your family is dressed warmly and comfortably so that everyone can enjoy the event unencumbered.

Finally, check the weather forecast for that evening so that you are not completely taken by surprise.


Be Safe While Watching Fireworks

Whether you are attending a fireworks event in your home city or while on vacation, it is important to adhere to the rules and regulations set forth by the organizers of the event.

Firework safety is of the utmost concern to organizers and depending upon where they set up the pyrotechnics for this event, a city may cordon off certain areas from the public.

For example, at the Macy’s Fireworks event in New York City, while there are many areas where the general public can view the fireworks, there are specific streets and walkways that will be closed.

A notice would be posted stating that the FDR Drive will be closed to vehicular traffic for a certain period of time. This regulation allows for pedestrians to access specific areas set aside for viewing and prevents traffic build-up. In addition, this allows the clean-up crew to do their jobs effectively after the event has finished.

It is highly recommended that you attend a professional fireworks event. The reason for this is that it is much safer as long as you are standing more than 500 feet away from the action. Moreover, you will have several vantage points with which to view the spectacular show.

Conversely, if your neighborhood is having a 4th of July Block Party and a fireworks display is planned for the evening, there are safety mechanisms that need to be put in place. If an adult or specialist is hired to set off the fireworks, he should:

  1. Ensure there is enough distance between him and the spectators.
  2. Ensure that the wind direction does not allow for debris to blow towards the spectators.
  3. Ensure that the fireworks are set securely and fire straight up.

These are necessary for the safety of the children who most likely will be in front row center during this time.

It is important to discuss firework safety with your kids and teens. This includes warnings about being too close to the fireworks when they go off, the proper handling of fireworks and sparklers, avoiding touching a firework that may appear to be a dud, not pointing fireworks at anyone, and never lighting more than one at a time.

Fourth of July is a day everyone looks forward to. Anyone can celebrate this day in a safe and fun-filled environment by adhering to the rules set forth by fireworks organizers as well as state and local authorities.


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