Taking the family to a theme park is a favorite of kids everywhere, but parents may not find it as carefree. There are plenty of scenarios to consider in the average theme park. First aid and safety should be on the minds of every parent.
When preparing a kit to take along on this year's visit to Disneyland or Coney Island, these items will help you get the kids ready to have fun without getting hurt or lost. Be prepared for a safe trip to the theme park.
Communication is KeyTheme parks have a spotty history of summoning professional help for critical medical emergencies. Keep a mobile phone handy to call 911 if necessary. Know that calling 911 on a mobile phone is not the same as a landline.
To stay in touch with the kids, try family two-way radios. These handheld radios give the kids room to roam without losing mom and dad.
MedicationCarry necessary prescriptions into the theme park with you. Use a medication organizer rather than carrying the prescription bottles and take only what you need for the day in case you lose them.
Besides necessary medication, those prone to hypoglycemia (such as diabetics) should carry snacks - not to mention kids appreciate snacks as well. Always bring pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen for minor aches and pains. Remember to carry age appropriate medications - children and adult dosages.
Bandage SuppliesPack an assortment of adhesive bandages and triple antibiotic ointment for those minor cuts and scrapes. Bigger first aid issues should be handled by the theme park staff.
Wipe It CleanTake hand wipes with you to keep your hands clean when sinks and bathrooms aren't easy to find. Hand wipes also come in handy for wiping down surfaces before meals. Baby wipes accomplish the same thing. If you do get baby wipes, choose the kind without a fragrance.
Stay CoolIt's easy to get overheated and dehydrated in warm climates. Pack water to stay hydrated - and to have water to wash down medication. Bring sunscreen and take care to apply it correctly. There are plenty of rides at most theme parks that can get you wet - even soaked. Be sure your sunscreen is water-proof. Wearing sunscreen is only one way to protect yourself from the effects of the sun.
Information is ImportantFor each family member, make sure that all important medical information is accessible. The kids also need some sort of information for theme park employees to use if they get lost. My wife and I will use hospital ID bracelets for each kid to wear. We write our name and cell phone numbers on the bracelets. We do not write our child's name on the bracelet so that no one can use familiarity to trick the kids.
Have a PlanAt home, we have emergency plans for the whole family to follow in case of a fire or other calamity. It's important to have a plan for the theme park as well. Older kids should know where and when to meet. Use an easily identified landmark - such as the entrance gate - and make sure everybody has a watch. Younger kids should know what to do if they get separated from mom and dad. Suggest they seek out an employee. "Cast members" at Disney theme parks have a distinct name badge, even though they do not wear common uniforms. Point out how kids can identify an employee to ask for help.
For added safety, you may want to encourage kids to seek out female employees.