Travelling with a baby or toddler for the first time can be daunting and exhausting experience. Read my top tips and practical advice to help smooth the way for a happy and healthy holiday.
Flying with little ones is the first challenge; Take small sachets of Calpol or Neurofen in your hand luggage as these can help if the air pressure hurts their ears. Chewing, sipping water, or sucking on a dummy whilst taking off can also help relieve ear pressure. Pack favourite 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.
Take a change of clothes for your child and for you. Planes can be quite cold, always adjust the air-conditioning to avoid it blowing directly onto them 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 at the front, with more space, if you are travelling with babies; bassinets are generally available for babies up to 2 years.
It is usually possible to pre-order baby food and ready to drink formula through Boots airside. Ensure you take enough for the flight and to acclimatise once abroad (order at least 7 days prior to departure).
In hot climates Think carefully when packing to ensure you have suitable clothes to allow your body to breathe.
Pack travel blackout blinds and sunshades.
In hot areas with high humidity, wounds often take longer to heal and easily become infected – ensure that any injury is cleaned thoroughly and apply a sterile breathable dressing.
If anyone is bitten or licked by an animal, it is imperative that you seek medical attention as soon as possible and receive prompt anti-rabies treatment. If you are going to a high-risk area it is highly recommended to have anti rabies vaccinations in advance. Even if you have these vaccinations you still need urgent medical attention – but it does buy you a bit more time and means you need less invasive treatment should you be at risk. Rabies has 100% mortality and is not a nice way to go, so please treat it seriously.
Dehydration, sunburn and heat exhaustion
Keeping everyone well hydrated is particularly important in hot climates. Treat the sun with respect; cover up with hats, sunglasses and sun cream, drink plenty and keep out of the midday sun. If you are swimming or sailing remember that reflections from water 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. Seek medical advice if concerned.
Research in advance about specific dangers in the areas you are visiting learn how particular stings, bites, illnesses or reactions should be treated if affected. Choose a child friendly mosquito repellent and wear long, loose clothing to avoid being bitten. Be particularly careful at dusk.
Always travel with toilet roll, tissues, hand sanitizer and a compact, sensible First Aid kit.
Accidents and illnesses can happen anywhere and can be more stressful when away from home. Equipping yourself with an appropriately stocked First Aid kit and the knowledge to help, means you are ready for action if something happens.
Here are my top tips for essential travel kits and medication:
1. Paediatric Paracetamol or Ibuprofen sachets – to have on the plane in case the air pressure hurts their ears and superb painkillers to have to hand anyway.
2. Paediatric Piriton (or alternative antihistamine) – in case they have a mild allergic reaction to new foods, stings etc…
Please note that medication should not be kept in your first aid kit – but stored safely out of reach of children
3. A couple of calico triangular bandages; superb versatile sterile non-fluffy material, ideal to stop bleeding, easy cover for head wounds, elbows, knees, mouths – pretty much anywhere and can be folded to make a flat supportive bandage or used for a sling.
4. An instant ice pack – can be activated when you need it (without a freezer). Wrap and then apply to a bump or bruise to reduce swelling.
5. Non-adherent dressings for grazes and micropore tape to secure them to the wound. A couple of finger bandages and small bandage-style dressings are useful too.
6. Burn Gel – use after cooling a burn under cool running water for at least 20 minutes, or helpful if burnt when there is no running water available, also great for sunburn.
7. Tough cut scissors to cut off clothes and good quality tweezers to remove a splinter or sea urchin spines.
8. Plasters – for short term covering of a wound. Remove as soon as possible, clean and then cover with an appropriate dressing, as plasters can lead to wounds becoming soggy.
9. Sterile wipes to clean a wound or pods of saline and some gauze squares – the saline is also useful to irrigate sand out of eyes.
10. Small crepe bandage to provide a support bandage for an injured limb.
Ensure you have the number for the emergency services – throughout Europe the emergency number is 112 (elsewhere you should google in advance or check in your guidebook)
To read our article of how to get in touch with the emergency services when on holiday click here
Add additional First Aid items relevant to your trip and attend a First Aid course tailored to the particular needs of your holiday and family.
Before you travel
More details about what to put in your First Aid kit and pictures of the individual items can be found on our website www.firstaidforlife.org.uk
Attend a practical or online First Aid course relevant to the particular needs of your holiday and family. First Aid for Life will arrange a tailored family holiday first aid course specific to the area you are visiting, planned activities and needs of your family.
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 First Aid course to understand what to do in a medical emergency.
First Aid for Life offer tailored first aid courses for specific activities and destinations.
Written by Emma Hammett from First Aid