American Family Children's Hospital

Tips for Keeping Kids Safe When You Travel

Safety experts at American Family Children's Hospital offer suggestions for keeping your children safe when traveling.


When Traveling by Car


Nan Peterson, child health advocacy program manager, reminds parents that it can be dangerous to leave children unattended in a car, particularly during the hot summer months.


According to Peterson, "It takes only minutes for a child to be at risk of death or serious, permanent injury in a hot car."


She adds that a child's body heat rises three to five times faster than an adult's, and unattended children have no way of protecting themselves in a hot vehicle.


Peterson offers these suggestions to prevent a tragedy:

  • Never leave children alone in a car, even for one minute
  • Put purses, briefcases and other necessities into the back seat, so you will remember to open the back door and depart the vehicle with the child
  • Keep keys and remote-entry key fobs out of children's reach
  • Lock vehicles at all times so children can't enter them.
  • Check cars and trunks first if a child goes missing
  • If you see a child alone in an unattended vehicle, call 9-1-1 immediately

When Traveling by Plane


Parents with children under age 2 to use a child safety seat this vacation season if they plan to travel by air.


While parents are permitted to hold children under age 2 on their laps during a flight, the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board recommend the safest place for children in turbulence or an emergency is in an approved child-restraint system or device, not on an adult's lap.


Jim Savage, manager of the Kohl's Safety Center at American Family Children's Hospital offers these suggestions for parents traveling with children in an aircraft:

  • Buy a ticket for all children younger than 2 and restrain them in a child safety seat or system certified for use on the aircraft and appropriate for the child's size
  • Ensure all children are properly restrained during takeoff, landing, and turbulent conditions, or when the seat belt sign is illuminated