SEATTLE — Summer break starts next month which means you might be planning your next summer vacation. Is your family prepared?
"Preparing for a trip is more than just buying your tickets and packing your bags," said Dr. Julie Wen from Allegro Pediatrics. "Parents should be thinking about how to keep themselves and their kids safe from illness and injury."
Make an appointment with a doctor to get pre-travel health advice
Check that everyone traveling is up to date on their vaccines, and check for any other travel vaccines you may need for your particular destination. You can check out the CDC Travel website to find vaccine and advisory information before you go. "Make a visit with a provider to talk about pre-travel health advice, get the vaccines you need and learn about your destination."
Parents can talk to their pediatrician, or check with their travel agent to find other doctors who do pre-travel visits. "At Allegro we offer two ways parents can get travel health advice, one is online through our e-travel clinic, or two is in the office with a provider."
Dr. Wen warns that injuries and accidents are the leading cause of death and disability for travelers, especially in foreign countries. She also lists language barriers and new environments as possible obstacles to safe travel.
Safety tips when traveling
- Pay extra attention to your young child around any body of water or on the street.
- In a vehicle, always wear a seatbelt and make sure your child is in an appropriate car seat. It's best to bring your car seat with you.
- At check in to your hotel room, do a check for safety hazards like exposed wiring, inadequate railings, or easy access to swimming pools.
Make a plan in case you get injured
- Figure out how to call emergency services at your destination before you depart. This information is easily available online.
- Get travel insurance, evacuation insurance, and also enroll in the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. "It's free and you can get travel warnings about your destination."
- If you need to see a doctor: Your insurance carrier can help you find one, or use the website worldhospitalsearch.org which lists medical facilities across the globe that meet a certain standard of quality.
Flying with Children
- Pack healthy snacks, your child's favorite blanket, an infant carrier, and a bag of new toys, books or games they haven't seen before.
- Bring something for kids to chew or suck on during ascent and descent to try and prevent painful pressure in the ears. Should that not work, also stash some pain medication just in case.