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Preparing Children For Summer Travel Emergencies

Preparing Children For Summer Travel Emergencies The news of 51 year-old acclaimed Sopranos actor James Gandolfini’s untimely passing while on a father-son trip with his 13 year-old son broke my heart. Having lost my mother at only age 15, I can definitely relate to the fear, panic, and pain that his son must have experienced in those moments of finding his parent unresponsive. I immediately began to pray for him, as I know (having lived it myself) that moment will stay with him forever.

 .Preparing Children For Summer Travel Emergencies

It also got me to thinking about my own family travels. This summer I will be traveling a lot with just my two younger children, who are only 11 and 6. What if something happens to me while we are away from home? Would Lady T know what to do? Or what about if my 16 year-old son Jedi is with me—would he know? This thought scared me so much that I began to think about some steps I need to take to better prepare my children to handle emergencies—steps that I would like to share with you for your family.

.Preparing Children For Summer Travel Emergencies

Take a First Responder and CPR class together as a family. Check out RedCross.org for offices that conduct classes on your area. Most can be registered for online and are very affordable. Participants also receive LookBooks and reference cards for emergency actions that can be easily packed for travel. After your classes, schedule a few days of ‘practice runs’ with your children to help refresh everyone’s memory on what they learned. Before you leave home, check that everyone who is old enough to perform emergency actions has packed their reference cards and books in case they are needed.

 .Preparing Children For Summer Travel Emergencies

Designate at least two people to be your ‘check-in buddies’. This is especially important if you are traveling solo with young infants or toddlers. Before you leave for travel, reach out to 2 people outside your immediate family to advise them of your trip and itinerary. Set a meetup time to give them your destination, travel route(s), hotel location and phone number, and times of any pre-scheduled meetings or events. Work together to solidify set times throughout the day for them to call your cell/text phone to ensure that everything is alright, and vice versa. Additionally, give them a list of emergency contact names and numbers of your immediate family members. Lastly, add their number to the ‘in case of emergency’ contact section in your cell phone, and edit their listed name in your phone to include the word: ICE. This ensures that if there is an emergency, whoever goes through the phone will be able to easily confirm who to contact.

 .Preparing Children For Summer Travel Emergencies

Share all health information and contacts with your children prior to departing. This one can be a little tough, because oftentimes you don’t want your children to go into a ‘worry-tizzy’ about you. However, if you are away from home and the convenience and discreetness of your usual routines, disclosing such information to your children could be a lifesaver in the event of an emergency.

Sit down with them and share all of your health conditions—no matter how ‘small’ you think they are. Let them know of your current medications, dosages, and times taken. Make lists for them to reference. If you have conditions that require a special diet or activity (such as diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.) disclose it to them and the things you should—and should not—partake in while traveling. When packing, take all of your medications with you, and do not just tell them, but show them where they will be in your luggage (it’s also good to keep those reference cards from the Red Cross in the same compartment). Last but not least, make sure the contact information for your health providers is stored in their phones, as well as the phone numbers of your designated check-in buddies.

  .Preparing Children For Summer Travel Emergencies

Communicate with hotel staff. This may be another tough one, since privacy while traveling is greatly cherished by many, but if you are going it alone with children—and especially if you have medical conditions—it may be a good idea to communicate with the managers on duty about your stay, and to check in with the staff on duty from time to time. That way, you will be a familiar face, and if they notice something out of the ordinary, they will know to check on you.

  .Preparing Children For Summer Travel Emergencies

One last thing…..

. .Preparing Children For Summer Travel Emergencies

Something that stuck with me as I followed the James Gandolfini story of his tragic passing is that his son’s mother was able to fly to Italy to be with their child. A great way to prepare for emergencies is to make provisions for a trusted adult be able to get to your children immediately if something happens. This is crucial if you are traveling overseas or to areas where no family members or friends who your children are familiar with live nearby.

  .Preparing Children For Summer Travel Emergencies

No one likes to think of something bad happening during summer family travel. But the fact remains that, just like in the situation with James Gandolfini, anything can happen at any time. Taking the time and actions for preparedness can definitely go a long way….in many ways.

 . .Preparing Children For Summer Travel Emergencies


Do you practice any of the things above when you are traveling with your family? Do you have other ways that you prepare? Share with me below or tell me about it at: melisasource@yahoo.com.

 .Preparing Children For Summer Travel Emergencies

Wife. Mom. Believer. Writer. Advocate.

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This is extremely important and not to be taken lightly. Will definitely pass this along to my family and friends..

Janeane Davis

This is a great article. It is very important to prepare for war in the time of peace. In other words, make preparations for problems while everything is going well. You have great ideas here that I will be putting in place for my next journey, long or short.

Also your compassion for the loss experienced by Mr. Gandolfini’s son is kind.

Christy Garrett

If you are travelling alone with the kids, leave contact information in the glove box that has several contacts in case of an emergency. This is great if your phone is locked with a passcode and people can’t easily find the info. And in an emergency, your family members might panic and not remember phone numbers.


These are great suggestions, and not things that I have ever considered before. These tips could make an extremely rough and difficult time a bit more manageable.

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