Don’t let the sniffles or a stomach ache slow down your family’s summer trip. Whether you plan to camp, hit the beach or travel internationally, it’s important to have a plan before someone needs first aid or falls ill. Packing the right essentials will keep your family safe and healthy on your journey.
Before You Go
Before you travel, make sure your family members are up to date on all of their vaccines. If you’re traveling internationally, make a copy of your vaccine records and take them with you. Let your pediatrician know if you’ll be traveling out of the country, as some will recommend additional vaccines depending on your destination.
“If I know a patient is going outside of the country, one of the vaccines that really is standard is Hepatitis A. You have to be one year of age in order to get it,” explains Dr. Sarah Adams, a pediatrician at Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics in Hudson. “We’re also seeing a lot of measles outbreaks. Luckily in Ohio, we are not seeing any outbreaks, but there are many states around us and all over the country that are. So that one is particularly important, especially with travel.”
It’s also a good idea to check your destination on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website (cdc.gov) for any health and safety travel alerts.
When packing medications, make sure you include the dosage. Some over-the-counter children’s medications do not have the dosage amounts listed on the label. You can ask your pediatrician for the correct dosage for your child and write the amount on the box or bottle before you pack it.
If your child is taking a prescription medication, make sure you have enough for your trip. Consult your pediatrician on what to do if you need a refill while on vacation.
“It’s nice for me as a pediatrician who might have a patient with a medical diagnosis to know if they’ll be traveling,” Adams says. “It’s really nice to talk ahead of time about what to do if they run out of medicine or if it gets lost or left in an Uber.”
Adams recommends looking up the nearest hospitals, urgent care centers and pharmacies at your destination ahead of time so you know where to go in case of a medical emergency. Bring your insurance information.
Lastly, if you’re flying to your destination, check your airline’s rules and regulations regarding traveling with medication. Try to keep them in your carry-on bags.
Staying Healthy & Happy in a New Place
Sleeping in a new place, trying new activities, and eating different foods is an exciting and special time for families on vacation, but it also can be overwhelming for young children. Know your child’s limits and plan your trip accordingly to minimize meltdowns.
“If they’re full of energy and can do one thing after another, then great. But if not, make sure you plan some rest time, and try to stay on their sleeping and eating routine as much as you can,” Adams says. “Kids thrive on routine, and that’s really important.”
Additionally, make sure your child is staying hydrated and eating healthy snacks and meals during your trip.
Make sure your home away from home is ready for little ailments and boo-boos with a well-stocked first aid kit. Here are a few essentials from Dr. Sarah Adams, a pediatrician at Akron Children’s Hospital.
- Prescription medications that your child is currently taking.
- Two types of pain reliever/fever reducers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen (like Tylenol). “I would pack both because you just never know if one will work better over the other,” Adams adds. “It’s always good to have something on hand for discomfort.”
- Benadryl and hydrocortisone cream for things like bug bites, poison ivy and allergies.
- Band-Aids, gauze, medical tape and antibiotic ointment for cuts and scrapes.
- Tums or milk of magnesia for tummy troubles.
- Sunscreen. “Put it on liberally and frequently,” Adams says. “You might not be sitting in the sun or swimming so you don’t think about it, but make sure they have it on their little ears and the back of their neck.”
- Bug repellant