As you pack up for travel in any season, the “what ifs” about your little one catching a possible cold or flu bug during travel can be daunting. And when you ready yourself for winter travel with babies and young children the concerns may mount even more.
While there’s no sure-fire way to rule out a case of the sniffles or other ailments during your family vacation, there are some very helpful things you can pack along–just in case. Here are five items I recommend packing for winter travel with babies, toddlers and preschoolers:
1. Reusable (Battery-Free) Forehead Thermometer
If there’s one thing that makes me crazy about thermometers today, it’s discovering that when you suddenly need yours again the battery is dead. Or worse – you realize you can’t completely trust its accuracy because, after months of not using it, you’re not sure if the battery is getting low. A reusable forehead “strip thermometer” not only works without batteries, it also has perfectly travel-friendly features you can read about in this post.
2. Waterless Mini Vaporizer
Chances are your suitcase is full enough without packing along your cool mist humidifier from home. But let’s face it, when you have a baby or toddler with a stuffy nose and a cough, you’ll do everything you can to help them get a good night’s rest. Not to mention, when you find yourselves all sharing the same room during travel—one hacking cough from any member of the family can prove disastrous to your getaway. That’s why I became a big fan of mini waterless vaporizers for travel, like this PediaCare vapor plug which simply plugs into a standard outlet and can be used for babies 3 months to 98 years old. There are a few brands of vapor plug-ins on the market, though for travel I appreciate that this comes with a built-in night light.
3. Hyland’s Nighttime Cold ‘n Cough for Kids
This homeopathic Nighttime Cold ‘N Cough syrup is safe for children 2 years and older, and eases coughing, runny nose, chest congestion, sore throat, sneezing and… sleeplessness (which we know affects Mom and Dad as much as the tot when all the other symptoms are present!). Even now with older kids? I prefer to not leave home without it! For infants and babies under 2 years, consider the dissolving Hyland’s Baby “Tiny Cold Tablets.”
4. Otoscope for iPhone
Wondering if your child’s cold has morphed into something more? The Oto HOME works with iPhone 5 and iPhone 6, using an app that lets you take a video or photo of the ear drum (your camera’s flash works as the light source). You can email the video–or just a photo–to your pediatrician from anywhere you travel and have Internet access (expect your child’s physician to charge some fee to review the photo/video–though it will likely be less than an office visit). Or if you prefer, you can pay $10 to have Cellscope’s network of doctors review your photo and reply within 2 hours (see details on website).
5. Chewable Probiotics for Travel
Did you know that 80% of our “immune system” actually functions in our intestines? Clearly it’s wise to lend them all the support we can–especially during travel, when our immune systems may be more challenged than usual (if not our intestines, too!). I’ve been a fan of probiotics for some time, knowing they can help replace lost or suffering “good bacteria” in the gut, and keep our intestines primed for waging war on illness and assisting in digestion. For travel, it’s important to find a shelf-stable probiotic that can keep its potency without hauling along an ice chest. Animal Parade children’s chewable probiotics, which require no refrigeration. And each delivers a whopping 1 billion cells of probiotic complex. Best of all, my kids like them!
If you have any questions about whether or not any of these products are suitable for your child, please talk with your pediatrician.
Also, don’t forget to update your child’s travel kit before your trip (see “Preparing Your Child’s Travel Kit” in Travels with Baby Chapter 4: Deciding What to Bring), and see this post for tips on how to prepare a cabin-friendly Travel Kit when flying with your baby or young child.
Hope these suggestions help ease your mind–and your travels, should you need them!
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Shelly Rivoli, author of the award-winning Travels with Baby and Take-Along Travels with Baby
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