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Get ready for family travel
As a new mom Carrie Linder finds out that her travel first aid kit needs a serious upgrade.
I’m not one of those highly organised, plan ahead kind of gals. I don’t carry bandages and bee sting kits in my handbag “just in case.” In fact, you’ll be lucky if you find a tissue (used) or a throat lozenge (probably used as well).

But now that we have a little one, health and safety have become much more of a reality and a priority in our lives. Especially when traveling. Dealing with a sick or hurt child is not fun. Add to the situation: a long haul flight, a foreign country or a long drive, and your holiday could end up being memorable for all the wrong reasons.

Plan ahead!

My first aid kit pre-baby was laughable: one or two crinkled up plasters, some out of date antiseptic and, well, that’s about it. I was in no way prepared to handle anything more serious than a paper cut. Before we set foot out the front door this holiday, my first aid kit is in serious need of an upgrade. Some items that will come in handy:

•    Thermometer
•    Child paracetamol and syringe or spoon for administering
•    Re-hydration fluid
•    Travel sickness medicine
•    Antibacterial cream
•    Plasters
•    A sharp pair of tweezers
•    Bandages
•    Sunscreen and after sun lotion
•    First aid manual

This list is not exhaustive; add to it what you think might be useful with your own children in mind, e.g. is your child is prone to ear infections, pack ear drops and ear plugs (also handy to distribute to fed up people around you if your child, like mine, indulges in aeroplane screaming).

Remember to check the expiry dates on any medication you pack from home (speaking to myself here, I have some cough syrups that are more “mature” than the wine in our cellar, and probably more effective at getting a party started too), and if your child is on any medication at the time of your holiday, either take a copy of the repeat prescription with you, or get enough from your doctor before you leave.

Traveling to another country?

If you’re taking your kids to a new country, first check what diseases are prevalent in that area. Yellow Fever? Malaria? Those are things you want to know about before you get there. Mozambique in summer? Ah bliss! Sun, sand… mosquitoes... uh, maybe not. It is advisable that you avoid malaria areas with small children as most malaria medication is not suitable for them to take.

Can I drink the water?

Regardless of where you go on holiday, do not take it as a given that tap water is safe for consumption. It is very common that holiday tummy bugs (and worse!) are as a result of drinking unsanitary tap water, or even just tap water that your child’s system is not used to. To find out if the water is safe, you could ask a local; but if, like me, you’ve experienced something similar to the foul Cairo cramps that once ruined my Egyptian holiday, you’d rather be safe than sorry. Buy plenty of bottled water and get your children to drink and brush their teeth with that instead.

What do I do if my child does get sick?

As far as you are able, treat your child yourself (e.g. bring down temperatures as quickly a possible). If you can, take your child to a local doctor or hospital. If you are not able to, or if your grasp of the local language doesn’t extend beyond “another pina colada please,” then it’s a good idea to give your own doctor a call. Describe your child’s symptoms, and act on what he or she advises. Most importantly, a sick child doesn’t have to mean a spoilt holiday. Relax and try to maintain your sense of humour. If your family’s anything like mine, most of your best holiday stories will start with, “Remember that time you puked on me in the car!”

What do you do in preparation for a holiday?


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