Survival Tips For Travelling With Kids

Survival Tips For Travelling With Kids
Planning keeps kids calm and comfortable -- and preserves parents'' sanity. By Jeanie Lerche Davis
WebMD Feature Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD

Ask any parent: Whoever designed the car-seat-and-strollercombo was a genius.

Remember the "old" days, just a few years ago, whenthey were not yet available? Andrea McCoy, MD, sure does. Her husband and veryyoung son flew to meet her at a conference. "He had bags hanging from thestroller, the car seat over his shoulder with my son riding in it -- he waspractically airborne! It was really quite the sight."

McCoy, who is chief of pediatric care at Temple UniversityChildren''s Hospital in Philadelphia, says travel with kids can beenjoyable.

Most importantly, "make sure you bringwhat your child will need on board -- food, drinks, medications," she tellsWebMD. "A baby who gets uncomfortable, if they have teething pain, forexample, will suffer until you land."

Also, bring something for a toddler tochew/swallow to help with air pressure changes. An infant can be fed duringthese times, McCoy says.

Another bit of advice: Spring for a plane ticket for yourchild. "Many families don''t want to pay for aseat for their toddler, and I understand the economics," she says. "Buthaving enough space is important -- not only for you, but for the people aroundyou. Also, a baby is much better protected strapped into a car seat and a planeseat, rather than in the parent''s lap."

To get your summer vacation off to a healthy start, here are afew more tips:

Pack Mindfully

  • Assemble first aid supplies -- hand wipes, thermometer,aspirin or Tylenol, bandages, antibiotic cream, rubbing alcohol for bug bites,lip balm, an antidiarrheal, and an antacid. If motion sickness is a concern,ask your doctor about medication. There are both over-the-counter andprescription options available.
  • Ginger root, lemon drops, peppermints, andsoda crackers can also ease a queasy stomach.

  • Melatonin may aid sleep and cut jet lag(take at bedtime before, during, and a few days after, following allinstructions).Your health professional can help determine the properdosage and whether melatonin is right for you.

Also, take vitamins. Keeping up yourimmunity is important. Strange places, strange germs -- you might not beresistant, says Hyla Cass, MD, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry atUCLA and author of Natural Highs: Supplements, Nutrition, and Mind-BodyTechniques to Help You Feel Good All the Time. Her advice:

  • Bring lots of vitamin C, and take two grams(2,000 mg) daily a couple of days before leaving. Large doses of vitamin C havebeen found to decrease the duration and severity of colds. Bring the kids''multiple vitamins. Kiddy vitamins contain nutrients that help balance a child''smood.

  • Don''t leave medicines in an open suitcaseon the floor. If you have babies or toddlers, make sure all medications aresecured.

Also, pack calming treats. "Sleep,diet, hydration," Cass says. "Those are the big three whentraveling." She advises you avoid sugar, caffeine, and alcohol -- all ofwhich trigger adrenaline rushes. Bottled water is the best choice; keep some inyour bag.

Quick, healthy, kid-friendlysnacks:

  • wheat crackers

  • nuts

  • string cheese

  • hard boiled eggs

  • carrots

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