Don’t leave your kiddos’ health needs to chance if you are going abroad with your brood!
Planning a year-end holiday with the family? Bet you’re thinking of things like how to pack smart, how to not lose your belongings (and your temper) and making sure everyone is healthy and happy.
Most of all, always expect your best-laid plans to go awry when you’re travelling with children. Junior’s chances of falling ill increase when they are jet-lagged and their routine is disrupted. So, being prepared – with a well-stocked first-aid kit – can make the difference between a quick recovery and a medical emergency!
To start, practise good personal hygiene and be observant. Do not consume water from local sources – even if you’re told that it is safe – your body might not be used to the microbes in the water. Stick to bottled water. Do also consider getting all the relevant jabs at least four to six weeks before your departure.
Falling ill when you’re on holiday can be an ordeal, especially when you don’t have access to your family doctor, or familiar over-the-counter medicines. So, make sure you carry essential ones with you, like paracetamol for fever, and charcoal pills in case anyone gets the runs. Pack a first-aid kit as well, for those unexpected cuts and injuries.
When packing your medical supplies, be sure to pick a suitable container – preferably a durable one with enough space to store all your healthcare needs. Always check the use-by dates of the items before each trip. And if anyone has chronic health conditions, make sure to pack everybody’s prescription medication!
First-aid kit must-haves
- Antiseptic wipes
- Hand sanitiser
- Sunscreen (at least SPF 15)
- Insect repellent
- Digital thermometer
- Medical adhesive tape
- Gauze pads and cotton wool, cotton buds
- Plasters in a variety of sizes
- Portable water filters or iodine tablets for water purification
Oral medication items:
- Fever medication like paracetamol and ibuprofen
- Antihistamines for cold and allergies
- Diarrhoea meds like Smecta and charcoal pills
- Rehydration salts for diarrhoea
- Motion-sickness pills
- Your kids’ medications
Note: Pack according to your destination and itinerary and check the use-by dates on the packaging.
To ensure everyone stays fit in a foreign country, it’s critical to do adequate research.
Follow these tips:
- Take note of important local phrases for hospitals, ambulances and clinics, as well as emergency services contact numbers.
- Check out the Singapore Missions Overseas contact numbers and addresses. If there isn’t a mission near your location, call the 24-hour duty officer at (65) 6379-8800/8855.
- Find the nearest medical facility in relation to where your family is staying. If you are unsure, ask your tour guide for directions or better yet, Google!
- Check to see if any pre-existing health advisories are still in effect for your destination. Or take note of seasonal infections or allergens that could be making its rounds.
- Know what your travel insurance covers, plus what you need to do if you incur medical costs overseas.
USEFUL FAMILY TRAVEL HACKS
Tricks to make every vacation with junior a seamless one.
- Pack lollipops
Surprise your munchkin with a little treat like gummy bears as the plane takes off – it not only sets them in a good mood for the journey, but sucking on something also helps to ease ear pressure. For younger toddlers and babies, a soothing bottle of milk will do the trick.
- Layer clothing
You never know how the temperature is going to change as you leave your home country, so wearing layers of clothes gives you more flexibility. Feeling warm? Take off a layer. Chilly? Put that sweater back on. It also comes in handy if junior happens to spill chocolate milk on their top – simply take it off, since you’ve got another one underneath.
- Create a car-sick kit
For kids with motion sickness, a car-sick kit is essential. Pack anti-nausea wristbands, medication, sour sweets to stave off the nausea, lots of plastic bags, disinfecting wipes, tissues, a toothbrush and toothpaste. Also stash Lysol disinfectant spray and Febreze fabric refresher in the car, in case a kid throws up.
- Ziplock bag it
Put individual outfits for your kids into labelled ziplock bags. Once worn, place the soiled clothes back into these bags to be brought home.
- Childproofing 101
Plastic covers aren’t the only way to conceal those dangerous electrical outlets in your hotel room. You can also use plasters to cover the outlet holes, so that junior won’t feel like sticking his finger in them. Masking tape can also shield electrical outlets, childproof sharp table edges or secure a toilet seat!