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    Traveling with a Child? Make Sure You Have a Consent Form With You.

    For years, my sister and brother-in-law would make a yearly trek from Saskatchewan to Calgary for a week-long visit with one or more of their grandkids in tow, and we'd all have a great time doing "kid stuff" with them - amusement parks, the zoo, playgrounds, picnics, arcades.

    mom and child on beach

    Image courtesy David Castillo Dominici

    No one ever worried about the fact that the kids were not in the company of their parents, or that none of us had any paperwork that showed we actually had the consent of their parents for those kids to be with us. These days we know better.

    A parental consent form, stating that the adult in charge has the parent's or guardian's permission to travel with the child and authorizing him/her to make decisions on behalf of that child, is now essential - especially if traveling out of the child's country of residence. It should be signed by every person who has custodial rights over the child. And in situations where both parents are custodial parents (i.e. the child and the parents all live together), but only one parent is traveling with the child, the other parent should still provide a consent letter as evidence that the parent traveling with the child has not kidnapped him/her and is now running off to safety in a different country.

    Consent letters are more than just proof that you have the right to be with that child. They're an authorization for you to take action and make decisions for the child, including obtaining medical treatment if the child should be injured or become ill. Parental consent forms - don't leave home without one.

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