Traveling with kids is a great way to explore new places, spend quality time with one another, and create memories that will last a lifetime. However, like with all vacations, it’s best to have travel plans and safety plans in place especially when traveling with children. So our provider, Chauna Scanga, PA-C, put together her top three vacation travel safety tips to help your trip go as smoothly as possible.
In this blog we will cover:
Research Your Destination
Research your destination and ensure it is safe for children. Consider crime rates in the area and the availability of health care.
Check Your Health Insurance
When traveling with kids it’s even more important to familiarize yourself with your insurance plan, what are your out-of-network benefits? Do you have coverage abroad? Consider purchasing supplemental medical insurance if needed.
If Travelling Internationally Ensure You Have Proper Vaccination
If traveling internationally, make an appointment with our Healthy Travels Clinic. At this appointment, we will counsel you on recommended vaccines, ways to reduce your family’s risk of illness or injury, and any prophylactic medications (ie. malaria) that may be indicated. This appointment should be at least 1 month prior to travel.
Create a Safety Plan
Create and review safety plans with your children. It is good to practice this before travel. For example, if old enough, teach them their parents’ names and phone numbers. Teach them who would be good to talk to if they get separated from you, like a police officer or other mom with children. Talk about staying in one spot if you get separated or meeting at a specific location. You may consider making information cards that your child can carry in their pocket that include contact information, location of lodging, etc. Check out this Travel Preparedness infographic by the CDC for more tips.
Get a First Aid Kit Ready
Pack a medical kit. Consider Band-Aids, Disinfectant Spray, Antibiotic cream, Ibuprofen or Tylenol, and Benadryl.
Get Swimming Lessons if Near Water
Consider swimming lessons if your travel will involve pools, lakes, or large bodies of water.
Don’t Forget About Car Seats
When traveling with children, small children should always ride in age-appropriate car seats when traveling. If possible, bring your car seat with you when you travel, especially to countries that may not have car seats or seats that meet safety standards. When renting vehicles out of the country, ask about safety features, including seat belts.
Traveling WIth Kids? Plan Activities For DownTime
Plan activities that are kid-safe and friendly. Don’t expect them to stay entertained and out of trouble doing adult activities. Keep them busy as much as possible. Idle time can lead to risk. Keep toys, books, card games, and movies handy to occupy any downtime, layovers, or long travel times. ALWAYS have a plan B.
3. Illness/Injury Prevention
Diarrhea is Common When Traveling
Diarrhea can be a common illness when traveling outside of the states. Prevention includes washing hands with soap and water. Alcohol-based
hand sanitizer can be used if soap and water are not available. Eat food that is fully cooked and served hot. Only drink beverages from sealed containers. If water is not available from a sealed container then it needs to be treated or boiled first. This includes water for preparing infant formula. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables that you can peel or wash with clean water.
Be Sure to Childproof When You Arrive
Don’t forget to check to childproof when you get to your destination. Whether you are staying with family, friends, or hotel, walk through and look for any potential hazards. This includes the obvious outlets, cords, and stairs, but also look for any objects or pills that a previous occupant may have dropped on the floor.
Pack Suncreen and Insect Repellant
Depending on your travel destination, don’t forget to pack sunscreen and insect repellant.
About The Author
Chauna Scang, PA-C, has been with The Youth Clinic since 1999. She grew up in Wyoming and attended Montana State University, and received her Bachelor’s Degree from Colorado State University and her Certificate in Child Health from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. Chauna is licensed by the Colorado Board of Medical Examiners and Certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.
Chauna has enjoyed working with The Youth Clinic for over 20 years, providing top-notch care for our patients and their families. When she isn’t caring for (and being entertained by) her patients, Chauna enjoys riding horses on her small farm and showing livestock and horses.