Every parent wants to take their child on an adventure that creates lasting memories. But when your child has CHD, planning a trip requires extra preparation to ensure their safety and well-being. Before you explore destinations near and far, here are 7 tips to help you navigate the challenges of traveling with kids with CHD, plus 3 tricks from parents like you.
1. Consult with Your Medical Professionals
Discuss your travel plans, destinations, and duration with your child’s healthcare provider and specialists. Make sure you understand potential risks. Get advice tailored to your child’s specific medical condition. Your medical team can provide valuable insights, suggest necessary vaccinations, prescribe additional medications, or offer alternative treatment options.
2. Research Your Destination’s Medical System
Make sure your travel destination will have the necessary medical facilities, pharmacies, and accessible healthcare services you may need. Familiarize yourself with the local medical system and add important numbers and addresses in your phone. Consider pinning their locations on your phone’s map app.
3. Purchase Travel Insurance
Invest in comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, including pre-existing conditions. Read the policy carefully to understand the coverage and exclusions.
4. Carry Medications and Prescription Documentation with You
You can certainly put medication in your checked luggage, but you will definitely want your carry-on luggage to contain enough medication to last throughout the trip, including potential delays.
You should also bring hard copies of your child’s prescriptions, including generic names of medications; when flying, keep them in your carry-on luggage.
Keep a list of your at-home emergency contacts with you, including your child’s healthcare provider and specialists. Consider carrying a medical ID bracelet or necklace for your child, clearly stating their condition and any allergies.
5. Communicate with Airlines and Accommodations
Contact the airline well in advance to inform them about your child’s medical needs. Airlines often have policies in place to assist passengers with medical conditions, including requests for things like in-flight oxygen and refrigerated storage for medications.
Similarly, communicate with hotels or accommodations to ensure they can meet your child’s specific requirements. Will you need a mini fridge for medications there too? Do they have adaptable features or other needs for accessibility?
6. Customize Your First Aid Kit
Prepare a comprehensive first aid kit based on your child’s condition. Besides the standard pain relievers, antiseptic wipes, and bandages that come with a store-bought kit, think about what you’ve needed at home or ask your doctor what else you may need on hand. The kit could be a great place to keep a thermometer, disposable gloves, and backup medical alert cards or bracelets.
7. Learn Basic First Aid and CPR
Despite careful planning, emergencies can still happen. Having first aid and CPR skills will serve you well as a parent both at home and when traveling.
With careful preparation and a positive mindset, It is absolutely possible to enjoy enriching family experiences. Bon voyage!
P.S. 3 Pro Tips from Parents Like You
- If you are taking a road trip, bring a mini-car fridge for medication.
- If your child has an implant device, make sure to have medical ID cards when going through TSA.
- Don’t let nerves get the best of you. Just go on the trip!