This is a sponsored guest post.
Traveling is beyond fun. Taking your child to new places and allowing them to enjoy new experiences not only creates unforgettable memories. It may also shape their mind and character for the better.
On the other hand…
Traveling with children can be challenging.
Little ones don’t have the same patience as adults do, and they’re sure to grow bored in as little as 49 minutes and 47 seconds. Moreover, kids also lack the resistance to deal with health risks common during travel.
Keep your trip safe and comfortable. Check out the 5 must-have accessories when out an about with the little tots.
A First Aid Kit
If you’re traveling by plane, a first aid kit may not be necessary as most airlines have the right equipment and supplies to respond to emergencies.
If you’re going by car or cruise ship, however, a well-stocked kit can mean the difference between having fun and spending your vacation at a medical facility.
Here are some essential items you must have handy:
- Bandages and gauze pads – These items are a must-have in any first aid kit. They cover small cuts and larger wounds, and the elastic variety help soothe muscle sprains and prevent swelling.
- Medical tape – So you can keep a gauze pad or bandage in place.
- Anti-nausea drug – Motion sickness – and the dizziness, fatigue, and nausea that goes with it – can ruin your vacation. Have over-the-counter medications like diphenhydramine and dimenhydrinate ready.
- Antihistamine – Allergic reactions are another killjoy, and certain types are life-threatening, too. Cetirizine and fexofenadine are kid-safe antihistamines that can counteract a variety of allergic reactions.
- ORS – Diarrhea is scarily common among travelers. Children are especially at risk as most anti-diarrhea medications are not kid-safe. Should your little tot contract diarrhea, replenishing lost fluids is your best course of action.
- Pain relievers – Don’t let headaches, toothaches, and nagging pain get in the way of fun. Pack some ibuprofen for good measure.
- Topical antibiotic – To keep harmful microorganisms away from cuts.
- Antibiotic wipes and hand sanitizer – Public restrooms may run out of tissue and soap, while your kid’s hands may go into places they shouldn’t. Whichever the case, wipes, and hand sanitizers are your best friends.
The list above is anything but exhaustive, and you may have to tweak the contents of your kit depending on your destination.
If you’re setting up camp in the wild, for example, you will want to carry insect repellants. The picaridin-based variety may not be as long-lasting as their DEET-based counterparts. But the former is proven safe for children as young as 6 months.
On the other hand…
If you’re going to bathe in the sun, carry sunscreen or sunblock to keep UV rays (and the risk of sunburn and skin cancer) away from the family.
A Car Seat Or Safety Harness
Everybody wants to have a fun trip. But more than anything, We want our little ones to stay safe as we get to our destination and back.
Here’s a simple rule I stick when traveling with kids by plane or by car:
Either we go with a car seat or we cancel the trip.
Note, though, that car seats are bulky, and the best ones also come with a steep price tag. If space and budget are a concern, a safety harness system like CARES (Child Aviation Restraint System) is a suitable choice for kids weighing between 22 and 44 pounds.
The downside, however:
CARES doesn’t have a crotch strap, so hyperactive tots may slide down and wriggle out of the harness.
A car seat doesn’t leave as much legroom as a harness, but it doesn’t suffer from the issue mentioned above. Moreover, car seat makers are always adding the latest safety and comfy features like:
- 5-point safety harness to keep your child in place
- Extra-thick padding to protect against side and head impact
- Adjustable positions to accommodate little ones as they grow
- Built-in cup holder and retractable shades
Not to mention every car seat available in the market passed the US safety standards.
One reminder though:
Make sure the car seat isn’t too old. Check for wear and tear, and ensure it no parts are missing. If there are, don’t take chances and get a new one.
Expect your kids to get hungry while traveling.
So bring extra snacks that are not only filling and tasty but also nutritious. Here are some ideas to start with:
- Granola bars – Go for the low-sugar, high-fiber variety.
- Whole wheat wraps – Add jelly or cream or feta cheese. Toss some spinach into the mix.
- String cheese – Always fun to eat and an excellent source of calcium.
- Any nut butter – Spread on bread to get a protein boost.
You may also opt for favorite sandwiches and real fruit juices. Whatever snack you bring, however, check the sugar content. Consuming food and drinks high in sugar may leave kids fatigued and cranky in as little as an hour.
Name Or ID Tag For Toddlers
Keeping an infant with you at all times is easy. But toddlers are prone to wandering into places and losing their way.
You and your child may get separated.
Be prepared should such an incident happen. Create an ID bracelet for your child, and make sure it has all the essential details:
- Your child’s name
- Your name and contact number
- Important addresses
Making an ID tag doesn’t take much: a piece of cardboard or paper, laminator and film, a permanent marker, hole punch, and a beaded neck chain. You can also find and download plenty of DIY templates online.
Since we’re on the topic of preparing for when a child gets lost, teach your child how and who to ask for help in case of emergencies. If you’re traveling overseas, you may also want to teach them a handful of important phrases (ex: “I’m lost. Will you help me?”) in the native language.
An iPad Or Tablet With Kid-Friendly Games And Apps
I know, I know.
Time and again, the American Academy of Pediatrics warned of giving kids too much screen time. Using tablets and smartphones for hours on end impedes the development of their still-developing brain – reducing their ability to pay attention and sense the emotions of those around them.
However, a bored child can throw a monkey wrench into an otherwise smooth trip.
So long as you limit screen time at home, letting the kids play and watch their favorite shows on the tablet or iPad would do no harm.
Note, too, that the AAP recommends feeding your child with high-quality programming and content such as those from Sesame Street and PBS Kids. Here are some app titles you may want to look up before you take to the skies or the road:
- Play PBS KIDS Games
- PBS KIDS ScratchJr
- Elmo Loves ABCs
- Elmo’s Animals
- Dr. Seuss Treasury
On the other hand, your child may non-electronic games. Simply substitute the iPad with lightweight kid-friendly travel playthings like coloring books, drawing kits, and picture cards.
Candice Whitlock is the mom and blogger behind BabyLic, a blog that reviews and curates the best products and resources for babies and their families.