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What preparations are needed?
What should be kept in mind while travelling?
Written by : DoctorNDTV Team
Consultant Paediatrician & Neonatologist,
Indraprastha Apollo Hospital,
New Delhi
  • What preparations are needed?

    Travelling with children can be a pleasure if one makes some extra preparations and planning. It is important to plan a pace that accommodates children without hurrying and including frequent food, beverage, and rest stops so that everyone can enjoy the experience.

    Immunizations: Visit the child's doctor well before the time of departure to allow a full assessment of the child's medical status and his need for pre-travel immunizations or medications. Remember that some areas of the World (e.g. Africa) have special immunization requirements.

    Diarrhoea and dehydration: Children, especially infants, are at particular risk of dehydration. Carrying powdered oral rehydration salts and an antibiotic for treatment of diarrhoea, motion sickness helps.

    Sun protection: To prevent sunburn in children, it is important to avoid the sun particularly at midday. One should protect the child by means of protective clothing, and using sunscreen. Also use appropriate insect repellents, as and when needed.

    It is necessary to make sure that children have toys, books, and games that will keep them quietly occupied when necessary. Also, it is wise to carry pictures of your children in case they are lost.

  • What should be kept in mind while travelling?

    While travelling by a car, it is advisable to halt every few hours. A toddler who remains inactive for long is sure to become cranky. He probably would not understand short stops very well. It is necessary to give him time to run around and play for a while. Everyone will feel better; even though these breaks may slow down ones progress.

    If travelling by air, try and take a window seat. Looking out of the window may amuse the toddler and help him pass the time. Putting cotton wool in his ears during take-off and landing helps the child. As a result of pressurization changes during flight, earaches are not uncommon in children, especially during descent. Encouraging children to yawn, chew, or swallow to equalize the pressure in the middle ear.

    Rail travel is easier and can actually be a lot of fun for the child. Forethought in dressing the child is important. Put him in clothes that are comfortable and easy to remove especially, if he requires a diaper change. Ideally, travel time should coincide with the toddler's normal sleep schedule whenever possible, as the motion involved in travel may induce sleep and relieve the parent of the responsibilities of constantly entertaining him. Whatever might be the mode of travel it is advisable not to get tense.

    While packing for the trip it may be best to pack different items like medicines, food, sweets in different bags. The child's toys, clothes, rattles should be packed separately. If the child eats cereals then you should carry along edible foods as well as milk powder and sterilized bottles. It is necessary to carry enough bottles of boiled water to make formula food for him. Extra spoons and towels may come in handy. On reaching the destination, it is necessary to give complete attention to the child before unpacking as the child is bound to be tired. It might be best not to plan too many things for that day, as it might be too strenuous for the child. It is necessary to keep an open mind about a sudden change in plans, as this will make the holiday more pleasant.

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