Among the many things we tell our kids -- brush your teeth, take your vitamins, do your homework, think about where you want to go to college -- we all need to add a discussion on how to play it safe when they are away from home.
And now that they are getting older, we need to be specific, especially as they go on class trips or on spring break.
Marcia Peot, a police officer and Chief Safety Officer at StreetSafe, offers the following safety reminders:
1. Don’t let your guard down. Being on vacation is not an excuse to throw caution to the wind and do something you wouldn’t normally do or put yourself in an unsafe situation.
2. Research the place you are visiting before you go, especially if it’s a foreign country. Find out if there are dangerous areas you should avoid, familiarize yourself with local laws and customs, and know where to go and what to do in case of an emergency.
3. Stay in groups or use the buddy system. You are more of a target when you are by yourself.
A stranger is still a stranger, even on vacation. Do not accept a ride or go off somewhere alone with a person you don’t know.
4. Do not drink excessively. When you are intoxicated, your physical reflexes, awareness of your surroundings, and ability to make decisions become impaired, making you an easy target.
Never leave your drink unattended and do not accept beverages from anyone other than the bartender or waiter.
5. The beaten path is the better path. Stick to populated and well-lit areas, don’t take short cuts, and familiarize yourself with the area before heading out.
6. Make sure your hotel room is locked at all times. Do not advertise your room number, open the door for anyone you are not expecting, or bring strangers back to your room.
We can all remember terrible headlines about spring breaks and other trips that have gone bad. Send these tips to your kids. Even if they just glance at them, they'll be somewhat more aware, somewhat more prepared.