Whether it’s your first time traveling with kids or you’re a seasoned traveling parent no one wants the vacation they’ve been looking forward to finally arrive and bam your child is sick. Two days before we were scheduled to visit Barbados our daughter came down with a cold. Of course the last thing we wanted to do was put our child in danger but just because your child is sick doesn’t mean you have to cancel. Here are 7 tips on traveling with a sick child.
Check With Your Pediatrician
We made an appointment with our daughters doctor the day before our scheduled departure. She didn’t have a fever or any other symptoms and the doctor said there was no reason she couldn’t go. She even stated the seawater would be good for her. Our pediatrician recommended saline drops in the nose before taking off. She prescribed us something we could pick up later that day to take with us just in case her symptoms progressed. I felt at ease knowing we had the doctors blessing to travel. I wouldn’t recommend you travel with a sick child without one.
Travel With Medication
Honestly, even if your child isn’t sick you should always travel with some basic medication. You never know if they develop a cold on your trip and it’s best to have something you trust. In some countries, the medication you are accustomed to isn’t always available or easily accessible. Imagine if your child comes down with a high fever at 2AM, what store will be open. Be sure to pack any medicine in your carry-on so you can use it on your flight if need be. Medication does not have to follow TSA 3oz rule but be prepared for additional screening similar to traveling with breast milk.
Be Extra Cautious on Take Off and Landing
As you probably know the change in air pressure can pop your ears. Babies and young toddlers have a hard time relieving the pressure on their own. If your child has an ear infection you need to be even more cautious of this to prevent them from bursting an eardrum. I wouldn’t fly with a child you suspect of having an ear infection without clearing it with your doctor. Have your child nurse, bottle feed, suck on a lollipop or chew something during this to alleviate the pressure. Read more tips on flying with babies and flying with toddlers.
Hydrate More Than Ever
If traveling by air be sure to give your child lots of water or nurse as often as possible. Under normal circumstance the air pressure can cause dehydration and when your little one is sick extra fluid is needed more. You are allowed to pass through security with water in a baby or toddler cup when traveling with kids. Like the medication it will have to go through additional screening. I know you can just buy some water once you pass security but I’m all about saving money. While they will give you unlimited water on the plane it typically take 45-60mins before any service starts so I like to have my own. Have an international flight? Here are 6 tips on surviving long haul flights with kids.
Travel With Your Insurance Card/Purchase Travel Insurance
If you are traveling domestically be sure your insurance card is in your wallet in case you need to make a trip to a doctor. Be sure to call your insurance to see what if anything they cover out of your area. If you’re traveling overseas purchase travel insurance. While it’s usually cheaper to get this at the same time you book you are able to add it at any time.
Take It Easy
Depending on the mood of your sick child you might need to make some changes to your itinerary. It might take you longer to get out for the day or you may need to have an extended midday break. There could also be some activities that you need to save for your next trip. The most important thing is to make sure you aren’t overexerting your child.
What If Your Child Is Too Sick To Go
If the doctor didn’t give you the go ahead or you don’t feel good about making the trip your options depend on how you booked your travel. If flights are involved and you purchased travel insurance you should be covered for canceling the trip. Most travel insurance companies will require a doctor’s note stating your child was too sick to travel.
If you don’t have travel insurance and you bought a non-refundable ticket still call the airline. You never know the customer service agent you will get and how they may be able/willing to help. They may allow you to postpone your travel a few days or cancel altogether for a reduced fee,. The same goes for a hotel or Airbnb, regardless of their cancellation fees posted it is always up to the individual company. Even if the Airbnb you booked has a strict cancellation policy it is up to the host to give you a refund, less any Airbnb fees. I know this for a fact based on my parents experience. Their flight to Australia was canceled for 3 days in a row, missing their entire time in Cairns. Their Airbnb host gave them a full refund because she felt so bad for them.
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