Presented in partnership with: www.socialcommon.ca
By now you’ve heard us talk about all the reasons we love travelling with our children (7 of them under 7!), but we also know that with little kids, a variety of issues can, and often will, come up. We’ve compiled a list of potential problems that can throw a wrench into any well-laid vacation plans, along with possible solutions that can help and possibly even prevent each issue.
1. Motion sickness
If your children don’t suffer from this, count yourself blessed! It’s very stressful when a child starts vomiting on the plane (or in the car on the way to the airport!). A light meal given about an hour before your flight will often help – things like crackers, pretzels or applesauce in a pouch; nothing greasy, and stay away from dairy. If you know your child tends toward motion sickness, give them the recommended dosage of an anti-motion sickness medicine, such as Gravol. Peppermints can also help keep nausea at bay. To be on the safe side though, we like to keep an extra outfit, plastic bags for soiled clothes and wipes on-hand should someone get sick, and that includes an outfit for you, too!
2. Ear pressure pain
Prevention is key with this one. Have gum on hand, or if they’re too young to chew gum, small juice boxes with straws should help keep ears clear. Balloons can help if the ear popping is really bad. Just have the kids blow the balloons and make a game out of it. If your child has a cold, give them some decongestant about an hour before the flight, which will help avoid some serious pain. Usually the pressure in the ears will go away on its own within an hour or so of landing so thankfully it’s not a long-lasting problem.
3. Swimmers ear
Oh this one can be a doozy! More than anything, kids want to swim when on vacation. It’s all too common for water to get lodged in the ear and within 48 hours can become a painful infection requiring antibiotic eardrops. To prevent swimmer’s ear, have your child tilt his head to one side and shake it after swimming, then roll a small piece of tissue and insert it a bit into the ear to absorb any remaining water. If your child is prone to getting outer ear infections, bring a bottle of alcohol drying drops and apply them to dry ears after swimming.
We’re diligent with sunscreen but sometimes at least one child will end up with red and tender skin. We like to use the spray sunscreens in an SPF of at least 30 and reapply every few hours or more if they’ve been in the water a lot. Don’t forget the ears, hands, tops of feet and the scalp where the hair is parted. Encourage your child to wear a hat if they tend to burn easily. If they do get a burn, stick some aloe vera gel in the freezer for a few minutes and gently apply. Plain yogurt also helps. It’s messy but it can really take the sting (and the red) out of a burn.
5. Constipation or diarrhea
Being on vacation and eating new foods can wreak havoc on your little one’s digestion. We like to keep children’s stool softener on hand. For diarrhea, stick with a ‘BRAT’ (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast) diet and replenish lost electrolytes with coconut water or watered-down Gatorade.
Sometimes the issue isn’t physical but emotional. Being away from home and routine can lead to anxiety and stress. It may not come out as crying, either. It may manifest itself into tantrums and nasty behaviour. If you have a particularly sensitive child, the best thing to do is to give him/her plenty of time to adjust to the travel plans. Warn often and early and try to keep the routine as close to normal as possible. Have your partner tend to the other children and take your anxious one on his/her own, back to the room where (s)he can relax in the quiet, snuggling with you. You are your child’s anchor.
Hopefully, none of the above will be an issue for your children but it’s never a bad idea to prepare for worst-case scenarios. Here’s to safe and happy travels for everyone!