Traveling with a Baby or Toddler? Here Are Our First Aid Kit Essentials
I like breaking it down into a couple of categories:
Prescription Medications: If your child has any regularly scheduled prescription medicines for allergy, eczema, asthma, etc., make sure you have a good supply. For emergency medications such as an EpiPen or an albuterol inhaler, immediate access is necessary. If you are flying, make sure to pack these in your carry-on luggage.
Fever Reducing and Pain Relievers: Medicines such as Tylenol and Motrin for babies over six months can be used for anything from fever to bee stings to severe sunburns. Knowing your child's weight is extremely important for dosage.
Allergic Reactions: Pack your prescribed Epi-Pen if anyone in your family is allergic to bee stings or food allergies in case of a reaction.
Seasonal allergies or hives: Children's Zyrtec or a similar antihistamine (Claritin, Benadryl) for seasonal allergies, mild food reactions, and minor reactions to stings or bites. A steroid cream (such as Cortisone) for itching and mosquito bites.
Supplies: Bring a thermometer and plan to have a small collection of Band-Aids, hand sanitizer, and an antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin.
Sunscreen: If you are traveling to a warmer location, bring sunscreen with the active ingredients of zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Ensure that it offers broad-spectrum (UVA and UV) protection, has an SPF of 30 or higher, and is water-resistant!
General Traveling Tips with Babies and Toddlers
Packing: Packing Cubes are extremely helpful with organizing! I like starting several days before the trip and using a different color cube for each child. I like bringing a couple of toys like a favorite stuffed animal or favorite blanket to make them feel comfortable in a new environment.
Traveling by Airplane:
- Budget extra time to get through security, especially when traveling with babies, toddlers, and younger children. Moving across the airport takes twice as long as security. Strollers and car seats also need to go through security.
- Pack a bag of activities and snacks to keep your child occupied during the flight. The best snacks for toddlers on the plane are ones that take longer to eat, like Cheerios or Goldfish.
- Activities: I find activity boards with buckles, stickers, and coloring books with crayons (no markers due to miss tops and more mess) will help keep those little hands busy.
- Descent and Ascent: To decrease ear pain during descent, encourage your baby to nurse or suck on a bottle.Older children can try drinking from a cup.
Preventing illnesses during air travel
- Make sure you have plenty of hand sanitizer and wipes to scrub down tray tables and armrests as soon as you get to your aisle! Babies touch everything and often put things in their mouths that they shouldn't.
- Pick a window seat, then crank up the air to keep as much air moving as possible! Passengers in the aisle are at higher risk of infection than those sitting in a window seat because they have more exposure to people passing by.
- Try to travel on off-peak dates or days of the week that are less busy
- If your child is over the age of 2, wearing a mask will also prevent them from contracting a respiratory virus! I like bringing disposables for kids because they often end up on the floor!
A special note on International Travel:
- If traveling internationally, check with your pediatrician to see if you might need additional vaccines or preventative medications such as antimalarials and to make sure your child is up-to-date on routine vaccinations. Asking your pediatrician for your child's weight is essential because most children's medications are weight-based!
Traveling by Car
- Traveling by car can be more flexible. The most important thing to keep your child safe is a properly installed car seat. The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends taking breaks every 2-3 hours traveling with a baby to change diapers and feed your baby.
Dr. Florencia Segura, MD, FAAP is a board-certified pediatrician, advocate, and mother. She is a Children's National Medical Center trained pediatrician who works at Einstein Pediatrics in the Washington, DC suburbs (www.einsteinpeds.com). She draws on her experience as a mom and a pediatrician to bring her patients relevant up-to-date information about parenting and child health!
She previously worked at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) as an academic pediatrician and educator to the University of Pennsylvania medical students and CHOP residents before moving back to the DC area.
Dr. Florencia Segura is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, a child health expert for numerous news agencies and podcasts including the New York Times, Yahoo, Healthline, Romper, and MomBrain. Most importantly, Dr. Segura is a committed advocate for children.
Social Handles: DrFlorenciaSegura on Instagram, Florencia Segura on LinkedIn
Florencia Segura MD, FAAP
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