Whether a trip down south to escape the cold or a cottage weekend getaway, there’s no better time to travel than now. Or, now. Or,…you get the idea.
“Regardless of when or why you are going, travelling with children is a daunting task,” says renowned Pediatrician Dr. Dina Kulik. As parents we are fearful of meltdowns during the travel, illness while away, and how to deal with sleep deprivation and jet lag. The key like most things in life is to simply be prepared! Read on for Dr. Dina Kulik’s expert advice on family travel:
The flight seems to worry parents the most. Flying is stressful enough as is, let alone with little ones needing to be fed, to sleep and concerns about their ears.
- Feeding: I recommend that parents feed their children (e.g. breastfeed or bottle feed infants and give your older kids some water, milk or a snack) on the way up and down, to help their ears pop.
- Ear pain: some kids may benefit from a dose of Ibuprofen before they fly, as I do, to mitigate ear pain.
- Medications: should you give your kids Benadryl and Gravol to help them sleep? Be warned: these can make some kids sleepy, but others will have a paradoxical reaction and be more awake and irritable. The latter is the case with our kids. If you are going this route, I recommend trying a dose at home before flying just in case.
- Go hands free: For newborns and infants, I recommend that you add a sling or infant carrier to your baby-wearing gear. That way your infant is comfortable and you have your hands free. I find that most often babies will fall asleep and you can do whatever you need to do to get through the flight and stay sane.
A child’s delicate skin burns quickly!
- Cover up: all children should wear UV shirts and shorts and a wide brimmed hat to minimize sun exposure.
- Sunscreen: I recommend a barrier sunscreen to apply on areas that cannot be covered, like the face and feet. My favourites contain zinc or titanium. This is just like diaper cream and provides great sun protection without the chemicals. Look in your local pharmacy or natural food store. There are many products like these on the market! Check out more on sun protection (http://drdina.ca/sun-safety-for-kids/).
Bacteria thrive in warm temperatures, which is one reason many people get foodborne illnesses when traveling. If there is poor food handling procedures where you are saying, you are more likely to get sick.
- Pay attention to what you and your family are eating, how it is being prepared and stored.
- Fruits and vegetables that you can peel yourself or cook may be more desirable.
- Avoid meats and dairy products that are not handled well. These foods are risky for bacterial contamination.
- Traveller’s diarhea can be prevented with Dukoral. Kids over the age of 2 can get a prescription from your doctor.
Hepatitis, malaria and cholera are some infections that are more common in other countries and can be prevented with certain vaccines.
- Check http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/ to obtain more vaccine related information for the country you are traveling to.
Have a wonderful trip! Enjoy and stay safe!