Holiday Travel and Visiting Safety Tips from the AAP

Help kids have a safe and healthy holiday season

Holiday travel with kids
Traveling with your preschooler this holiday season? Keep these tips from the AAP in mind.. MECKY

Will you be traveling this holiday season? Whether you are visiting grandma at Thanksgiving or Aunt Sally and Uncle John at Christmas and your cousins the next town over on New Year's Eve, you probably have a lot on your mind between travel plans, gifts, recipes, and all the other fun parts of the holiday time. But if you have a young child in tow with you, you'll also want to be thinking about their safety and taking steps ahead of time to make sure you have all of your bases covered.


Leaving home, whether it is to go to a neighbor's house a few houses away or boarding a plane and flying across the country, presents a unique set of challenges for parents of young children. Most young children are accustomed to a certain routine and take comfort in familiarity. When they are away from home, there is more opportunity for a youngster to get lost or hurt, simply because they are some place they aren't use to being. Add the holidays into the mix, and you have the potential for problems. (Fun too, of course, but you always need to be cautious!)

With that in mind, the American Academy of Pediatrics has put together the following holiday traveling and visiting safety tips for parents with young children. It's important to review these with anyone who might be in contact with your child, especially people who may not normally be around little ones on a regular basis. You'll also want to talk to your child too -- about where you are going, what is going to happen, and what your child should do if they get lost or hurt.


  • Clean up immediately after a holiday party. A toddler could rise early and choke on leftover food or come in contact with alcohol or tobacco.
  • Remember that the homes you visit may not be childproofed. Keep an eye out for danger spots like unlocked cabinets, unattended purses, accessible cleaning or laundry products, stairways, or hot radiators.
  • Keep a list with all of the important phone numbers you or a baby sitter are likely to need in case of an emergency. Include the police and fire department, your pediatrician and the national Poison Help Line, 1-800-222-1222. Laminating the list will prevent it from being torn or damaged by accidental spills.
  • Always make sure your child rides in an appropriate car safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt. In cold weather, children in car safety seats should wear thin layers with a blanket over the top of the harness straps if needed, not a thick coat or snowsuit. See for more information.
  • Adults should buckle up too, and drivers should never be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Traveling, visiting family members, getting presents, shopping, etc., can all increase your child's stress levels. Trying to stick to your child's usual routines, including sleep schedules and timing of naps, can help you and your child enjoy the holidays and reduce stress. 

    For more great holiday safety tips, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics web site, or talk to your own pediatrician about safety considerations specific to your family. 

    Source: American Academy of Pediatrics, published online November 17, 2015. 

    More holiday safety tips: Child Safe Decorating Tips for the Holidays

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