Holiday Travel Tips

By Corey Fish, MD FAAP

By Corey Fish, MD FAAP

Ah, holiday time.  This time of year can mean different things to different people.  Perhaps it's a time for connecting with friends and family.  Or, perhaps it's a time for reflection, celebration, or meditation.

Whatever this time of year means to you, often travel is on the menu for families.  And travel with babies and children can be quite difficult (as anyone who as attempted this superhuman feat can attest).

Or maybe your family is traveling to you, which can bring its own set of challenges.

In either case, I often find myself handing out travel related tips and safety advice that I wanted to share.

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How to fly with an infant

The most important thing to remember when traveling with a young child is to allow extra time for everything.  This goes double if it’s airline travel.  Allowing a little extra time can go along way to reduce stress and account for unexpected delays.

The second tip I often give is to have something for your child to drink or suck during takeoff and landing.  Airplane cabins are pressurized at 6000-8000 feet, more than enough to cause pain and discomfort if your child has a hard time “popping their ears.” Swallowing will help open the tube that connects the space behind the eardrum and the upper, back of the throat and thus equalize the pressure in these two areas.

Also, because it’s winter, if your child is feeling a bit under the weather it’s fine to fly.  Flying does not cause ear infections.  However, taking some Tylenol (or ibuprofen for infants > 6mo) on board is a great idea.  Medicine in original packaging is not subject to the volume limitations for flying with liquids.  The TSA agent will do a quick test to make sure there are no explosives hidden inside that bottle of Tylenol, but it’s allowed to be brought in your carryon.  Just like formula or breast milk.

Every family copes differently with the stress of travel but try to remember why you’re taking the trip and when all else fails, attempting to find the humor in these situations is a great coping skill.

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Losing your home field advantage

Ok, you’ve gotten where you need to go with a minimum of tantrums and meltdowns.  However, families often visit the homes of relatives who don’t have small children and may be unaware of the dangers that are lurking in the home.

I recommend doing a quick sweep and taking care of the low hanging safety-fruit once you reach your destination. 

Make sure that Grandpa Jim’s blood pressure pills are locked or well out of reach.  Stash a few plastic outlet covers in your carry-on and stick them in the easy to reach outlets.  

Make sure that you’re at least aware of any furniture, televisions, etc that if scaled by a little one might have the tendency to tip.

And make sure the pot handle of that spiced cider is turned AWAY from the edge of the stove.  Cups of hot liquids should similarly be kept away from the edges of tables or counters.  While on the subject of burn type injuries, glass fireplace doors are a common culprit of burns on the hands so keep a grate in front or else barricade access to these surfaces from little fingers.

Home for the Holidays

Generally your own home ought to be fairly well safety-proofed for your child.  However, make sure that visiting guests don’t leave items around such as medicine that could be Ingested or small objects that present a choking hazard (as we learned about in Dr. Sheiko’s post).

I always remind my parents that childproof containers should be considered anything but.  Those kiddos are clever!  For more info on this, take a look at this video.

Happy Holidays ya’ll!

Hopefully these tips will help you and yours have a wonderful, safe holiday season.  From all of us at Pacific Crest Children’s Urgent Care, we wish you a happy, healthy holiday and the most fantastic New Year.

Pacific Crest Children’s will be open regular hours all through the holiday season and new year.  As always, we hope you don’t need us but we are here in case you do.


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