It may sound strange to hear of kids traveling alone, but in today’s day and age with many parents sharing joint custody after divorce as well as simply going to see grandma in another part of the country, having some essential tips to keep your kids safe when traveling is essential.
It’s not enough to simply spout words to your kids and teens like “stranger danger,” especially if you’ve given that consent letter for children travelling abroad. Another country is rather far away. How can you prep your kids to make smart choices when traveling to see dad or mom in joint custody matters or family visits?
Tips for Kids Traveling Alone
Kids going to see the other parent due to joint custody? Prepare them for the process:
- Explain to your kids how flight security works that way your child is not surprised or shocked by the process. You want them to understand that flight security measures are taken for safety precautions without terrifying them.
- Stranger Danger & Then Some: Make sure your child or teen has plenty to keep them busy on the plane so they’re not tempted to spill their life stories to the random stranger on the plane. Kids’ stories are adorable and most people are harmless enough, but explain to your kids that as much as they might get bored or want someone to talk to, staying busy with a tablet, book, iPod or game system is the better way to travel.
- Never Flown? If your kid hasn’t been to the airport yet, especially if you’ve just signed that consent letter for children travelling abroad to go out of the country, take your child on a brief tour of the terminal before the flight date so your child feels acclimated, rather than incredibly intimidated. Airports can be mazes enough for confident adults to travel through, much less children!
- Small Talk: It’s impossible to ask a kid to be quiet but explain that if he or she speaks to anyone, there is to be no personal information revealed such as trip destination or personal home address.
- Buddy Up: Explain to your child that the flight staff—the employees—are there to help him or her, so to stay close to their watchful eye and if your kiddo has questions, to reach out to that “Buddy” for help.
Tips for Parents: Vaccines to Health Tips
Here are some tips to help you plan your child’s trip in the safest way possible.
- If at all possible, plan for direct flights for your child without any layovers
- Pack some sanitizer lotion and tissues. Flights are germ fests. Make sure your kid or teen has hand sanitizer. If possible, throw in some throat drops, chapstick, tissues and nasal spray, all according to flight regulations of course.
- Vaccines! Make sure after signing the consent letter for children traveling abroad that you get your child up to date on current vaccines for their “out of country” travel
- Reduce jet lag by adjusting your child’s sleep schedule 2-3 days ahead of travel plans and when your little one gets back home be sure to give him or her plenty of daylight time outside to adjust. No one likes jet lag!
- If your child has an ear infection or any other respiratory issue before traveling, consult your pediatrician.
The 411 on The Consent Letter for Children Traveling Abroad
Is your child traveling abroad?
Here’s how to handle it!
- If your child is traveling alone to see a parent with joint custody or with friends, a consent letter for kids under 18 or 19 depending on Canadian province/territory of residence is a smart move, although it is not a legal requirement in Canada.
- The letter may be requested for re-entry into Canada by travel officials.
- If there are legal issues at hand regarding your child’s situation, seek a lawyer first.
- Consent letters should be signed by both parents (married, divorced and otherwise), even if there is one custodial parent and the other the visiting parent with access rights and the custodial parent is sending off the child to travel.
- The above rule applies to common law relationships as well.
- Get it noted: have a notary public or commissioner of oaths witness the signing of the consent letter for children traveling abroad.
No matter what the situation whether your child has a legal guardian, married or divorced parents and otherwise, getting the consent letter for children traveling abroad is a good way to have peace of mind when your child travels alone.
Ultimately, you have to trust that you have instilled in your child values and common sense to have them safely follow the rules when traveling alone!