Travelling during the holidays is stressful enough without adding kids to the mix and when children are involved, the trips can pose serious safety risks for little ones.
That’s because parents skip things like car seats and keeping medications or weapons out of reach, according to a report from the University of Michigan’s CS Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll.
“They may be less fastidious while on vacation, leaving medications in open suitcases or on hotel tables or not childproofing a relative’s house,” said poll co-director Sarah Clark.
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Overall, 15 percent of parents surveyed said they did not put their toddler in a car seat for every car ride on a recent trip, with the majority of cases involving taxi or shared ride services such as Uber or Lyft.
“Most parents recognize that car seats improve safety for their children,” said David Schwebel, director of the Youth Safety Lab at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
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About one-quarter of parents didn’t remember to safely store medications when travelling with their toddler, the poll also found.
Roughly one-third said they didn’t check to make sure cleaning supplies, guns and other weapons were out of their child’s reach on their most recent trip.
One third of parents also said they failed to check the hot water temperature before bathing their child, risking potential burns.
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To prevent injuries during the holidays, parents should bring a car seat or rent one at their destination, Clark advised. Many airlines allow parents to check a car seat for free, and some ride share and car service companies can offer reservations with car seats.
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Bringing safety devices like cabinet latches and baby gates can also help keep kids from getting into places where they might be hurt. A common cause of poisoning is household cleaners, which are often stored in cabinets low to the ground right at toddler level.