By far the biggest concern others have expressed to us regarding our upcoming trip is that we remain 6 in the world and don’t drop down to 5. We have spent a lot of time thinking about the safety and continued possession of our offspring. After extensive research and domestic testing, here are our top 6 recommendations for keeping your kids safe while traveling:
6. Become Canadians. Americans seem to draw unnecessary attention to themselves through a variety of conspicuous behaviors including speaking loudly and wearing flashy or impractical outfits. To prevent your children from standing out to potential criminals, teach them the Great Northern dialect and dress them in organic clothing. Make sure they insert an “eh” at the end of at least every other sentence and turn the “ow” in “about” into a “oo” like “a boot.” Throw a maple leaf patch or decal on at least one piece of each child’s clothing.
5. Use technology to stay close. While Kiddie Lo-jack would be a nice step, GPS implants would open a Pandora’s box of privacy and moral issues. Piece together the next best thing—a complete arsenal of modern electronics. We recommend three products to improve security. First an electronic alarm system which alerts the parent in charge if a child wanders more than 20 feet away. The second is a screaming device for small wives. Although your wife might be child sized and tough enough to defend herself, you will want to arm her with a screaming device to alert yourself and anyone within 100 meters that someone is messing with her. We also recommend a set of radios to ensure you can communicate with each other if you get separated.
4. Stay connected physically. Strapping your children to your body is very easy when they are under two and most parents are already accustomed to using a Baby Bjorn or a backpack when a stroller isn’t practical. For kids 3-8, however, we recommend leashes. These low tech devices are always a source of controversy domestically, but the bottom line is even if they look bad, they’re a tangible link between you and your flight-prone, easily distracted little ones. There will be no wandering off unless they take you with them.
3. The Buddy System. We suggest pairing children up in the following manner: the oldest and the youngest, the second oldest and the second youngest, until you run out of kids. If you have an odd number, don’t worry, the one in the middle will be used to it.
2. Avoid war, civil unrest, and countries with high kidnapping rates. Although Mexico, Guatemala, and parts of central Africa would have been on our ideal itinerary, pragmatism dictated we drop them. We suggest you avoid those and the nearly twenty other countries which are just too dangerous to drag your loved ones into.
1. Avoid places that despise Americans… I mean Canadians. This unfortunately knocks the Philippines and much of the Middle East off your list, and unless you can get that crazy Canadian government to start being a little less aggressive with asserting its bad self all over the world, this list may expand before it contracts. The good news is there is always an election every 4… we mean 3-5 years, so things can always change for the better.
Our final advice would be to have a big Vin Diesel-like dad who can strike fear in anyone smaller than he is with a glance. We realize, however, that those who are not genetically endowed with male pattern baldness might be reluctant to shave their heads weekly, so we’ve left it off the list.