Orlando Mota, MD FAAP
It is that time of the year again! Holidays bring us together with our loved ones, and whether you travel by car or plane when visiting friends and family over the holiday season, take a few extra precautions to be sure your children will be safe and healthy.
Remember that the homes you visit may not be childproofed.
Keep an eye out for danger spots like unlocked cabinets, unattended purses, accessible cleaning or laundry products, stairways, or hot radiators.
Keep a list with important phone numbers you or a babysitter are likely to need in case of an emergency. Include the police and fire department, your pediatrician and the National Poison Help Line 1-800-222-1222. Laminating the list will prevent it from being torn or damaged by accidental spills.
Always make sure your child rides in an appropriate car seat, booster seat, or seat belt.
In cold weather, children in car safety seats should wear thin layers with a blanket over the top of the harness straps if needed, not a thick coat or snowsuit. Thick layers may prevent the belt from buckling correctly.
When traveling by airplane allow your family extra time to get through security – especially when traveling with younger children.
Have children wear shoes and outer layers of clothing that are easy to take off for security screening. Children younger than 12 years are not required to remove their shoes for routine screening. Pack a bag of toys and snacks to keep your child occupied during the flight.
In order to decrease ear pain during descent, encourage your infant to nurse or suck on a bottle. Older children can try chewing gum or drinking liquids with a straw.
Wash hands frequently, and consider bringing hand-washing gel and disinfectant wipes to prevent illnesses during travel.
When traveling by car children often become restless or irritable when on a long road trip.
Keep them occupied by pointing out interesting sights along the way and by bringing soft, lightweight toys and favorite music for a sing-along. Plan to stop driving and give yourself and your child a break about every two hours.