Accidents and illnesses can happen anywhere, but are often more challenging when on holiday. Advanced packing and basic precautions will enable you to confidently help should things go awry.
It is particularly important when travelling to know how to contact the emergency services should you need to do so. Throughout Europe 112 is the contact number for the emergency services; further abroad 112 may still work as it will eventually be the world wide emergency number, Always best to check in your guidebook or on Google.
Research in advance about particular dangers in the areas you are visiting and learn how specific stings, bites, illnesses or reactions should be treated if affected.
When flying with small children; travelling with small sachets of Calpol or Neurofen can be helpful if the air pressure hurts their ears. Chewing, sipping water, or sucking on a dummy whilst taking off can also help to relieve ear pressure. Pack toys and books to keep them occupied during the journey and a special toy or blanket to encourage them to sleep. Have a good supply of snacks in case they won’t eat the food on the plane.
Pack a change of clothes in your hand luggage for your child and for you – just in case!. Planes can be quite cold, adjust the air-conditioning to avoid drafts and take an extra jacket and socks.
Flying with babies:
If permitted, take your buggy as far as the departure gate. A baby sling can be helpful as often your buggy is not returned until baggage reclaim.
Get to the airport in good time as you may be allocated specific seats, usually at the front of the plane with more leg room and space for the babies; bassinets are generally available for babies up to 2 years.
At major airports; it is usually possible to pre-order baby food and ready to drink formula through Boots airside and take enough for the flight and to acclimatise once abroad (order at least 7 days prior to departure).
In hot climates: dress in suitable clothing to allow your body to breathe in humid conditions. Wounds often take longer to heal and are more likely to become infected in high humidity – ensure that any wounds are cleaned thoroughly and then apply a sterile breathable dressing. Monitor the wound and check it regularly, particularly if it becomes hot, itchy or inflamed. Seek medical advice if concerned.
Keeping everyone well hydrated is vitally important in hot climates and little ones in particular need regular encouragement to drink.
Treat the sun with respect; cover up with hats, sun glasses and sun cream, drink plenty and keep out of the sun from 11 until 2. If you are near water remember that this will increase the potency of the sun and regularly apply additional sunscreen accordingly,
If someone shows signs of heat exhaustion; flushed, sweaty, stomach cramps, headaches …encourage them to sit in the shade and drink to replace their fluids. If they do not recover quickly, get medical advice.
For sunburn: Shower the affected area for 10 minutes under tepid water, then apply neat aloe vera. Seek medical advice if a child has become sunburnt or if the skin has blistered.
Bites and stings:
If someone is bitten or an open wound is licked by an animal, it is imperative that you seek medical attention as soon as possible and receive prompt anti-rabies treatment.
Be aware of sea urchins and other sharp dangers in the sea and encourage everyone to wear beach shoes when swimming and paddling. If a sea urchin spike does become embedded, soak the affected area in hot water and carefully remove the spike with tweezers in the direction it went in. Squeeze the wound to remove any extra bits. For any you are unable to remove, seek medical advice and monitor the wounds for signs of infection.
For common jelly fish stings; vinegar is the best antidote.
Always have water and snacks to hand so children are well fed and hydrated for your days out. A miserable child can quickly spoil things for everyone.
Take toilet roll, tissues and hand sanitizer with you plus a compact, sensible First Aid kit, Add additional items relevant to your trip and try and plan for all eventualities. Attend a First Aid course and ask the organisers to include elements relevant to the particular needs of your holiday and family.
Written by Emma Hammett from First Aid for life
First Aid for Life provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. First Aid for Life is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information. It is strongly advised that you attend a practical or online First Aid course to understand what to do in a medical emergency.