Living with a child who has a medical condition can be difficult enough on a day-to-day basis, but traveling—and all its accompanying challenges—is especially intimidating. You have to make sure your child arrives at your destination safely while also ensuring his comfort all the way there, and of course you have to lug all his medical equipment along for the ride. Fortunately, there are a few tips to make the journey a bit easier for all parties involved. Here’s how to make your trip with your child more enjoyable.
What to Bring
Depending on your child’s medical issue, your list of required items may be short or incredibly long. Regardless, write it all down before you even begin packing to make sure you don’t forget a single thing. Then as you go through the packing process, put everything in one place—a small pouch if it’s just an inhaler for an asthmatic child, or a backpack or larger bag for a more extensive list of necessities—and make sure every traveling family member knows where the bag is in case of an emergency.
Also, stock up on back-ups of items like prescriptions, over-the-counter medications and related items before your trip. You might also include related things outside the category of strictly medicine, like extra batteries for a portable nebulizer. And don’t forget to pack a basic first-aid kit; you never know when it might come in handy.
Before you leave, pay a visit to your child’s doctor to make sure he is healthy enough for air travel. Assuming he is, begin your preparations for the flight as early as possible on the day of departure. Be aware that carrying liquids—like prescriptions or baby formula—in containers larger than 3.4 oz. onto a plane will likely result in an extra search of your baggage during the airport security process. If your child’s prescriptions fall into that category, make the effort to explain your situation to a TSA employee as you join the security line. She’ll be able to point you in the right direction.
Often, families with small children or anyone with a disability will be allowed to board the plane ahead of the other passengers. Get there early to take advantage of this; you’ll have more space to get settled into your airplane seats, and you’ll be able to do so without a crowd of impatient passengers gathering behind you.
Plan for unlikely Contingencies
To err on the side of caution, do your research beforehand to find out where the nearest hospital is in relation to where you’ll be staying during your trip. In the event of an emergency, you’ll be armed with the knowledge instead of having to frantically ask locals or search your smartphone for a map. This way, you’ll be able to take care of your child while maintaining overall peace of mind.
Speaking of peace of mind, purchasing a travel health insurance policy is always a good idea—and especially so when traveling with a sick child. Companies like HCC Medical offer a wide range of policies to cover individuals or groups, so you should be able to find one that meets your family’s needs.
The most important aspect of traveling with a child who has a medical issue is to plan ahead. Start thinking about your itinerary and what to bring along as soon as you enter the early stages of preparation. Doing so will help you and your entire family focus on enjoying the trip and creating special memories without dwelling too much on worst-case scenarios.