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Summer Travel Tips for the Family

Summer beckons, but before your family heads off on vacation, remember that this year more than ever, safety measures should be top of mind. Here’s a check list of key safety tips, including what to bring along on your trip.

Medical Considerations

Make sure all immunizations are up to date before traveling. If your child is on any medications, pack an additional 48 hours of doses in case of travel delays or accidents. Pack any prescribed rescue medications for asthma, food allergies or low blood sugar in your carry-on bags. Constipation is extremely common when traveling, so consider a pediatric stool softener and make sure your child drinks enough water and eats a high fiber diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables to avoid a trip to the emergency center. It’s also a good idea to locate a pediatric hospital near your destination. You can document or ask your provider for an emergency medical travel plan with your child’s name, date of birth, diagnosis and emergency treatment plan.

Kids with special needs

If your child is on the autism spectrum, try keeping the sensory stimulation the same and minimizing triggers. Consider what blanket, fabric or noise keeps them comfortable. If they receive therapy (speech, OT/PT), consider a virtual session while traveling to keep the consistency.

Considerations for Traveling During the Pandemic

If you must travel with kids at this time, be sure everyone in the family over age 2 wears masks in public places (a face shield can also help). Avoid crowded places as much as possible, practice physical distancing and wash your hands often. Keep sanitizer and wipes readily available for times when handwashing with soap and water aren’t available. Also consider pre-packaged snacks so that you don’t have to make as many stops to various places to pick up things.

Road Trips

It’s important to double check all safety seats to ensure they are properly secured and sized for your child’s weight, age and height, and that they are properly installed. The stickers on the seat explain the height and weight requirements. When packing toys, choose soft options, as anything not secured can become a projectile during an accident. On that same note, avoid tucking comfort items like pillows to the car seat  as they can actually pose a suffocation danger to the child.

Air/Train Trips

Because moving around when flying or riding in a train seat is so limited, you’ll want to make sure your small carry-on or diaper bag has the essentials and is easily accessible: snacks, drinks, diapering items, changes of clothes and items to keep your child entertained. As with any trip, you’ll want to have lots of sanitizer and wipes, especially to wipe down any surfaces around your space.

For more health tips, visit

About the Author: Dr. Hunter is a pediatric emergency medicine physician at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. She joined the hospital staff in 2018. Dr. Hunter earned her medical degree from Louisiana State University Health Science Center in Shreveport, Louisiana. She completed a pediatric residency at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas, followed by a pediatric emergency medicine fellowship at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri.

Photo provided by Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital

Originally Published in June 2021

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