Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse statue in The Magic Kingdom

Safety Tips for Your Upcoming Summer Vacation

by Erin Giblon, on May 26, 2017
The weather is getting warmer, school is almost out, and your kids are BEGGING for a cool vacation to start the summer of 2017 off right.

You’ve been planning and packing, packing and planning – and now you’re ready to roll (cue the Griswold’s “Holiday Road” by Lindsey Buckingham).

However, one thing you may have forgotten about amidst the excitement surrounding your trip is safety.

Do your kids know what to do if they are separated from you? Did you remember to lock your car doors? Did you leave your luggage off to the side while checking in to the hotel?

My family and I recently visited Disney World and stayed at Silver Lake Resort in Orlando. While my husband and I were checking into the hotel, I couldn’t help but notice the “Safety Tips” provided on the backside of our parking pass. Most of these tips are pretty standard, but others I thought were super creative and wanted to share with you!
  • Hotel Safety Tips (Courtesy of Silver Lake Resort)
  • Always be aware of your surroundings
  • Park in a well-lit area
  • Always lock your vehicle and never leave valuables inside (this one could be easy to forget, especially if you’re used to leaving your car unlocked at home!)
  • Stay with your luggage until check-in
  • Always lock your room door using the deadbolt lock
  • Secure your sliding glass doors or connecting room door with all security devices provided by the hotel
  • Place all valuables in the room safe or hotel safety deposit box at the front desk Always check every window to ensure they are locked Review the floor plan on the back of your room door and familiarize yourself (and your kids!) with the fire and emergency exits
  • Do not leave your room key or any valuables unattended in the pool area
  • Be wary of unsolicited business flyers left at your hotel door (I’ve learned this the hard way – turns out this pizza place we ordered from didn’t even exist!)
  • Keep local and state maps in your vehicle
  • Ask hotel personnel for directions to your destination
  • HERE’S A REALLY GOOD ONE: Give your kids a hotel business card to help them remember the name, address and telephone of the hotel as well as a business card that has YOUR name and telephone number on it
  • Always travel in pairs or groups
  • Use the sidewalks and pedestrian crossings
  • Report suspicious activity to hotel management or call 911

Safety Tips for the Drive or Flight
  • If You're Driving: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives some GREAT Summer driving tips on their website. They cover everything from things to remember before you leave, car seat safety, safe driving behaviors for your drive, and safety tips for being in and around the car.   If you are renting a car and there are more safety features that you have no idea of what they do or how they operate, check out mycardoeswhat.org.  The National Safety Council sponsors this website and the website is great with explaining the different features of your car.  If you don’t know how and when your anti-lock breaking feature will engage, check out this website! 
  • If You're Flying: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) offers some safety tips if you happen to be flying to your vacation destination. You can review these tips with your kids before you take off! If you’re traveling through an airport or even a large theme park, always stick a business card with emergency contact phone number(s) in it in case you get separated. Even if your child has a cell phone, remember to give them the business card as they may not remember your actual 10-digit number being that they’re so used to just dialing “MOM.” 

Tips to Alleviate Discomfort from Driving for Long Periods of Time
Now that you have your safety tips, I wanted to add in a little bit about how you can stay comfortable while driving. Driving a vehicle for long periods can be hard on your body. Anyone who has taken a long road trip has had that feeling when you finally arrive at your destination and you are all stiff and tired from driving. I teamed up with another one of our Risk Management Specialists, Tracey Wallace, to give bring you tips to make the long drive more comfortable using proper ergonomics.

Sitting for Long Periods of Time
Did your mother always tell you to sit up straight? There was a good reason she did. When you sit, your pelvis rolls backward and the small of your back flattens out. This increases the pressure in the discs of the spine. Additionally, if you sit incorrectly, you could develop pressure points in the buttocks and back of the legs, and cause muscle strain in the lower back.1 To reduce this risk from sitting for long periods of time, shift positions every 30 minutes or so by tilting your seat a notch or two back and forth. You should also stop and take a stretch break every hour for about 5 minutes.

  • Sitting Position
    • Two of the biggest things within your control to help create a more comfortable drive is how you adjust yourself and utilize the controls inside the vehicle. Here are some tips to how to adjust the driver’s seat correctly
      • Seat Height - Bring the seat as high as you comfortably can to optimize your vision through the windows. You should be able to see at least three inches over the top of the steering wheel. Be careful of raising the seat too high; your hips should be about as high as your knees. You don’t want your thighs to press down on the seat bottom as this would reduce circulation in the legs.
      • Seat Cushion Length -With your buttocks all the way back on the seat, you should have an approximate 2-3 finger-width of space between the edge of the seat and the back of your knees. This will reduce pressure on the back of the knees, which could cause poor circulation.
      • Seat Back Angle - Recline the seat until it is approximately 110 degrees. This will reduce lumbar disc pressure.  Lumbar Support If your vehicle is equipped with lumbar support, adjust the support up/down and in/out until you feel an even pressure along your back from your hips to shoulders. There should be no gaps or pressure points in your back support area. If your vehicle is not adjustable, there are lumbar supports you can purchase or you can even use a properly placed rolled towel.
      • Steering Wheel - Adjust the steering wheel height or tilt. Your arms should be in a comfortable position (not too high or too low). The less your elbows reach up and forward, the less strain on your neck and upper back.   Instead of holding on at the standard 10 and 2 o’clock positions, lower them to the 9 and 3 o’clock position. This is also a safer position in the event your air bag is deployed. Also, try to keep your wrists in a neutral position. 

Have any other great tips for keeping you and your family safe this summer?  Share
Erin Giblon

Erin Giblon is a Risk Consultant for our Risk Management and Safety department at LandrumHR. Erin is also an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserves stationed currently in Gulfport, Mississippi. Her favorite things to do are to run, lift weights, gardening, and camping. She is happily married with three beautiful children.

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