As D&K get older, we’ve come to realize that they’ve also gotten much better at traveling. When D&K were infants, the 2+ hour car rides to visit our extended family were typically screamfests – the babies’ screamfest, not mine 😉 Now however, D&K will often fall asleep, keep themselves occupied with singing or chanting, and also sometimes play made-up games with each other. With D&K’s newfound travel maturity comes the opportunity for the 3 of us to travel more than we have but what also comes with it is the necessity of keeping D&K safe in new, unknown environments. Typically, I’m the only adult traveling with D&K so safety is a paramount concern to me – because there’s only 1 of me to deal with any potential issues. Traveling with twin toddlers is quite possible however and even enjoyable at times!
These are some of the techniques we use to stay safe while traveling:
- Temporary Tattoos – I had some custom temporary tattoos made up that indicate D&K have asthma and allergies, what to do in the event of an asthma attack or allergic reaction, and my cell phone number. These tattoos are typically applied to their necks because they are visible above snow suits/jackets, the kids won’t scratch at them and destroy the text, and that area doesn’t get too sweaty. I swear by these temporary tattoos because they not only act as a medical alert but also they contain my contact information should the kids and I get separated.
- Wagon – D&K are far too big for a typical stroller now but it’s essentially impossible for me to hold their hands, carry all our bags, and attempt to check into a hotel, for example, all at the same time. So, we pack our trusty Radio Flyer wagon and the kids, and some of the bags, sit in it while I get us all into the hotel. D&K love their wagon so I didn’t have to do much convincing to get them to ride in it. In addition, I think it gives them a little comfort to be close to each and have me lead the way when we’re entering new places/buildings.
- Fanny Packs – oh yea, I wear a fanny pack 😉 While not the height of style, a fanny pack does allow me to have puffers, aerochambers and epi-pens at my immediate disposal should the need for them arise. Seriously, when you consider the alternative of have to dig around for medicine when your child is suffering a potentially fatal asthma attack or allergic reaction, the benefits of wearing their medication around your waist becomes so much more important than a fashion statement. I know fashion is important to some people; when weighted against my childrens’ safety, fashion is of absolutely no importance to me.
- Hand on the Car – we use this technique in our day to day routine as well. Essentially, if I have a child out of the car and I’m working on removing the other one from their car seat, the first child must always stand close to me with their hand on the car. My kids usually see this as a fun game and abide by it pretty well. If the first child’s hand comes off the car, I immediately stop what I’m doing, and assuming the second child is safe in the car, I put the first child back into the car until they’re ready to do “good listening” and play the hand on the car game again. D&K are runners. If they remove their hand from the car I know they’re about to bolt into a potentially busy parking lot. Thus, the correction needs to be swift and stern. Zero tolerance. The game is over for that child. If we’re using the wagon as a mode of transportation versus D&K holding my hands, then we usually never have a problem and the first child unloaded will sit patiently in the wagon.
- Independence – this one may seem counter intuitive at first, but it’s really not. As threenagers, D&K are still prone to epic toddler tantrums and one of the easiest ways to set them off is to remove all of their independence. On a trip, you may be tempted to think it’s safer to not allow a toddler to do anything other than walk with you and hold your hand or ride in a wagon. However, I’ve found that if I strip away D&K’s independence I’m only setting them up for an epic meltdown. D&K want to still feel like they’re in control – at least a little bit. Thus, I take every opportunity to allow D&K to “help” me while we’re on a trip. They may hand a credit card to the hotel clerk, or push the button for our floor on the elevator, or chose what they want for dinner from a restaurant menu. Whatever the scenario is, D&K always behave better when they feel they’ve had some part in making a decision. Obviously, kids can’t be making choices about safety at the age of 3, but they can make choices about what they want to eat or what activity they want to do. Instead of leaving things completely open-ended, I usually also give D&K a choice between 2 options; e.g. would you like to eat vegetable lasagna OR a hamburger for dinner?