You’ve packed sunscreen, floaties, and bug spray. But when it comes to staying safe on your family summer vacation, there are more hazards you need to worry about that might not have crossed your mind.
To help keep you and your family safe this season, here are some summer vacation safety tips you can use whether you’re on the road, in the woods, or at the beach.
Know the load limits of your vehicle
It can be tricky to fix all of your suitcases, beach chairs, and supplies into the back of your car. After all, you still need to fit your kids in the backseat. Fortunately, your vehicle’s rooftop carrier can make packing for your summer vacation that much easier.
Just be careful that you don’t overcrowd your vehicle. Each care has a dynamic weight limit for the roof rack and the average is approximately 165 pounds.
The more weight you add to your car’s rooftop, the higher your vehicle’s center of gravity. That means your car can become less stable on the road and more likely to sway. If your car is one of the 14 million vehicles on the road today that are 25 years old or older, a lack of balance could be especially dangerous.
That said, limit how much you’re packing into your vehicle, especially when it’s going up top on your roof rack.
Use “touch supervision” when your kids are swimming
Swimming and beach fun is a big part of summer vacation. Whether you’re traveling to Hawaii and soaking up the sun in Oahu, the third largest island, or you’re boating around on your local lake (87 million adults participate in recreational boating), it’s important to keep a close eye on your kids when they’re in the water.
According to the CDC, approximately 50% of child drownings take place within 25 yards of an adult because many folks think that drowning looks like yelling, thrashing, and splashing. In truth, drowning is silent.
Our instinctive drowning response causes us to hover at the surface of the water. A drowning person’s head will be tilted back with their mouth open and gasping or hyperventilating.
A way to prevent younger kids from drowning is to always have a designated adult watching the kids in the water at all times. Touch supervision refers to keeping swimming children within a distance that’s easy for the designated adult to reach them in the case of an emergency.
Know the safety rules of the vehicle you’re using
You know to follow the speed limit when you’re driving on the road. But if you’re taking a road trip with your kids and you’re using a different kind of vehicle, it may be worth looking into the safety rules and regulations for that specific vehicle.
For instance, it’s recommended that RVs stay below 60 miles per hour when they’re on the road. This is because RVs are larger vehicles and, as mentioned in our first tip, they have a higher center of gravity which can make them less stable on the road.
You’re also not the only vehicle on the road when you’re traveling. There are approximately 500,000 refrigerated trailers operating in the U.S. and over 270 million registered vehicles.
When your vehicle is unstable on the road, you’re not just putting your family at risk, but also the lives of those around you. So remember that what might count as safe driving in one type of vehicle may be dangerous in another.
Summer travel comes with its own fair share of safety hazards. But by following the tips above, you can reduce your family’s risk of getting hurt and make sure that everyone stays safe and has fun.