Has the idea of a family trip been on your mind for a long time? Between the idea and heading off to new destinations, there are a few steps to take to make the trip a reality. Familiprix, in collaboration with Vie de Parents, gives you a few things to consider before the big departure.
A change of habits for your child
A trip disrupts the routine of the whole family. However, since he is facing the unknown, the child can experience a great upheaval. In order to be reassuring, it is useful to prepare your children for what to expect, for example:
- Familiarize children with the airport and show them the planes that take off and land;
- Look together at images of the vacation destination (Internet sites, television, travel books, etc.)
- Create an itinerary of the stages of the trip so that your children can refer to it when necessary
- Include reassuring items for children in their luggage (doggie, blanket, favourite toy, etc.)
- Keep the routine established at home as much as possible during the trip to reduce stress
The travel health kit for a family
Make sure you have everything on hand in case of a problem by preparing a travel health kit that you can carry with you everywhere. Here are some ideas for accessories to include in your travel health kit, based on recommendations from your health care professional:
- An alcohol-free disinfectant
- Sterile gauze
- An antibiotic cream or ointment
- Vinyl gloves
- Acetaminophen or ibuprofen
- Medication against motion sickness, diarrhea and vomiting
- Medication for allergies
- Up-to-date medication list for all family members
- Prescription medications, as needed, for the entire family
Depending on your destination, the contents of your kit will change. Don't hesitate to ask your pharmacist for help in putting your kit together.
Prevention and vaccination
It is important to consult a health care professional or make an appointment at a travel health clinic at least 6 weeks prior to departure to have your child's immunization record checked and to inquire about any additional immunizations required, depending on your destination.
In preparation, you may want to look up more information about the diseases to watch out for in the country you will be travelling to.
It's also very important to carry a good sunscreen to protect your skin from the rays of sunlight. A mineral-filtered sunscreen for children under 6 months is a good idea. Don't hesitate to ask your pharmacist for advice on how often and what amount of sunscreen to apply.
Risk of disease and infection
The risks of catching a disease or infection in a foreign country are ubiquitous, especially for children. Modes of transmission include:
Food and water
Be sure to disinfect anything your children put in their mouths. For young children, breastfeeding is the safest way to avoid exposing your child to diseases that are transmitted through food and water. Avoid food that can't be peeled and choose bottled water over tap water at all times.
Prevent bites by protecting your children with insect repellent or a mosquito net on the stroller, for example, since infected insects can transmit many diseases.
Warn children old enough to understand that animals can carry dangerous diseases and that they should not touch them. For toddlers, vaccination may be considered.
Teach children to wash their hands frequently. People in contact with children during the trip should also wash their hands regularly.
Tips for flying with a baby or a child
Predicting how a baby or child will behave on a plane is hard. However, in order to give yourself the best chance of a smooth flight, here are some suggestions to consider:
- Be aware that most airlines do not allow newborns on their aircraft. The baby must be at least two weeks old to fly.
- Take advantage of pre-boarding, which gives you access to the interior of the plane a few minutes before the other passengers, so that you can get comfortable with your children.
- Make sure you have all the essentials you need to deal with the unexpected: milk, diapers, wet wipes, a change of clothes, your first aid kit including medication, a blanket or other item that can reassure the baby or child, as well as books or toys to entertain them.
- Relieve earaches by offering a bottle or breast and encouraging gum chewing or yawning during pressure changes on the plane.
A source of learning for children
If you have the chance to travel with your family, take advantage of all the great moments that are offered to you. You’re giving your children the opportunity to discover the world, learn about other cultures, broaden their horizons, and stimulate their curiosity. Above all, you’re offering them an enriching experience and lifelong memories. Isn't it said that travel is the best way to learn?
Check out our free Traveller's Guide to learn more about health and managing a family trip.
Have a good trip!