Category Archives: Health

The Six Travel Lessons I Learned From Baby Vomit

Just as we arrived at our seats for our return flight from Buenos Aires last year Grace, 15 months old at the time, proceeded to puke all over herself, me, my seat and the floor.  I learned several valuable travel lessons on that img_3458incredibly long, painful, smelly flight home. Let me elaborate.

  1. Kids can go from happy and healthy to horribly ill in a single moment. Grace had been in good spirits and eating well all day, despite a flight delayed by more than 12 hours (that’s another story). Like the flick of a switch she became ill and she remained sick the entire flight home.
  2. Always carry a change of clothes for you and your child. Thankfully I had done both in Argentina and I was able to slip into the bathroom and clean myself up. Since she threw up multiple times on that flight though, my change of clothes didn’t stay clean for long and I now carry at least two clean shirts for myself as well as several for her.
  3. Benadryl is a wonder drug for flying. You’ve probably heard parents say how great it is to help kids sleep on planes, at least those kids who get sleepy from it (some don’t, I’m told). Grace is of the former category and Benadryl helped her finally get some much-needed rest when her body wouldn’t cooperate. A lesser-known fact about Benadryl is that it’s an antiemitic, meaning it inhibits vomiting. I’m not sure I’ve ever been so grateful for drugs.
  4. Airplane blankets make great clothing protectors if you think your child is going to throw up on you yet again. My apologies to whoever had to wash those things but we were desperate.
  5. Flight attendants are not particularly helpful or sympathetic to sick children. We had one plastic bag given to us for dirty clothes and then we were told we couldn’t have any more as they were short. Nobody ever came to see how she was doing, what they could do for us or even just to give us a comforting pat on the shoulder. I get it, vomiting children are gross, but a cup of water would have been nice at the very least when I was dying of thirst but unable to move for hours because I was trying to keep Grace asleep in my arms.
  6. Carry on several plastic bags. As mentioned above, the flight attendants would only give us one when we could have used 2 or 3. Plastic bags are always a good idea anyway. Clothes seem to get wet or dirty on just about any flight, whether anyone is sick or not.

You can’t always avoid kids getting sick (we still have no idea how Grace got sick on that flight) but you can be prepared and minimize the disgusting factor.  For more on keeping kids healthy while traveling, read Steve’s post on being prepared.

What’s your best tip on caring for sick kids while traveling? Do you have a great (or gross) story to share? If so post it here.

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All Aboard With Milk in Hand – You CAN Take Milk On The Plane

When you travel with a toddler or small child, the idea of not having milk in hand is, well, frightening. When Grace holds up her little hand and rapidly opens and shuts her palm making the sign for milk, I had better have it ready fast or else. I’m thrilled that, to break it down with a few milk-toting tips, my blogging buddy Melissa Moog of Itsabelly shared the following post with us here at Kids Go Global:

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We just returned from our vacation in Cabo San Lucas and had a wonderful time but when traveling with baby I’m always going through a long list of things I need to make sure to pack. One very important thing I make sure to have handy is the precious white liquid called milk. Our 19 month old LOVES her milk! I was also chatting with a friend about traveling with our babies and sharing different tips on how to make our travels easier. She mentioned that Trader Joe’s carries small milk cartons that don’t need refrigeration so she takes these on the plane with her. I thought that was a great idea as long as security decides to let you keep the cartons. Personally, I haven’t had a problem at all with carrying milk through but I’ve only traveled within the US and MX so far with our toddler. I wanted to offer some tips for parents wondering how they can have that precious white liquid on hand.

Here’s what I do when traveling with milk:

  • I take the Foogo sippy cup and fill it with milk. The Foogo is insulated and keeps milk cold for several hours. It’s also a non-toxic container which is plus! It also fits nicely in the side pocket of our backpack.
  • I take a Sigg bottle and fill it with extra milk. The Sigg is a non-toxic container as well!
  • Here’s some Info on how long you can keep milk at room temp – It depends on the temperature that the milk is stored at. To be safe here are some general guidelines for time and temperature for milk:
    – At room temperature of 60 degrees F milk will stay safe for 24 hours.
    – At room temperature of 66-72 degrees F milk will stay safe for 10 hours.
    – At room temperature of 79 degrees F milk will stay safe for 4-6 hours.
  • If for some reason security asks me to dump the milk I don’t worry because I can also purchase milk from the coffee shops or cafes after passing through security.
  • If for some reason you don’t find a coffee shop or cafe to purchase milk you can always asks your flight attendant while she’s serving your drink to give you a glass of milk. Voila, you can fill your child’s sippy cup with the precious white liquid!

These options should help you avoid bursting your ear drums from a screaming toddler who knows milk does her body good! At least until her sippy cup is sucked dry again 🙂

Overall, from Itsabelly’s review based on form, functionality and frugal-ness (is it worth the money I spent) we give Foogo and Sigg 4 out of 5 bellies (5 being excellent).

Thanks Melissa!

A couple of caveats from my own milk-slinging. Trader Joe’s no longer carries the single-serve boxes of milk, at least according to the salesclerk my husband spoke with last week. Their inventory is constantly changing so hopefully they’ll have it again soon. I have consistently found single-serve boxed milk at Whole Foods in the baby food aisle. For lactose-intolerant babies the search seems to be harder. My exercising buddy Rebekah is embarking tomorrow on a 19+ hour plane trip to Singapore, then on to India a few days later with her 14-month old daughter who is lactose-intolerant. She searched for single-serve boxed soy milk at Whole Foods, Fred Meyers, Trader Joe’s, Costco and even Target with no luck. Apparently Whole Foods usually carries vanilla soy milk (she was looking for plain) but were sold out even of that. She bought rice milk in single-serve boxes instead and borrowed a thermos from me to fill with her daughter’s favorite soy milk. Fingers crossed that, between the two, Ela will be satisfied.

My other caveat is in regards to the Foogo sippy cup Melissa likes. I took this cup to Buenos Aires in May for Grace and from the beginning it leaked like a drippy faucet. Even worse, it developed a sour smell very quickly, despite frantic soakings in hot soapy water and, in desperation, vinegar. It’s hanging in a bag in my garage to be returned to the shop where I bought it next time I’m in their area. The concept of an insulated sippy cup is great but not if it smells. Perhaps mine was defective as I’ve had other friends who, like Melissa, loved the Foogo. I think I’ll try Sigg‘s child-size water bottles next as I love my full-sized bottle made by them.

For more on carrying liquids on the plane see our recent post on the TSA rules and how much you can stretch them with kids!

Keeping Kids Healthy: Preparation is Key

One caveat: I am an internist, not a pediatrician, so I know how to treat adults who are sick, but when it comes to sick kids I’m just a dad. That said, there are some basic health care tips we have found to be helpful traveling with a child. The bottom line can be summed up as preparation.

Before leaving home, make sure your child is up to date on immunizations. Common diseases are just that – common. You can prevent many common diseases with simple vaccinations. Remember that influenza season is winter, so if you will be in the Southern Hemisphere your child will need the flu shot in July. Take a copy of your child’s vaccination record with you. If your pediatrician isn’t sure what your child needs, or just says “don’t worry, you’ll be fine,” find a travel clinic for some expert advice. My pet peeve is hearing anecdotes of people who decided not to take malaria prophylaxis and didn’t get malaria. Do you really want to play the odds game with serious and preventable diseases?

Simple medications are usually the best. Tylenol is a safe, effective treatment for pain and fever. Benadryl will help with allergies and, when sleep is the best medicine, can help your child get some rest. It will also sometimes help with nausea. Don’t forget oral rehydration solution – when your child gets diarrhea or is vomiting, rehydration is the most important thing you can do. Hyland’s teething tablets have a loyal following and are a harmless way to deal with troublesome fussiness. Upset tummies do well with gripe water, but keeping it cold might be a challenge. If you don’t have anything else with you, grate some fresh ginger into hot water to settle an upset stomach. Whatever you choose to bring, make sure you pack it in your carry-on luggage. From experience, there’s nothing worse than being sick during the flight while your medicine is securely locked in your checked bags.

It’s unlikely you’ll need it, but having an idea of where you might go for medical care if you need it can provide peace of mind. Most large cities have clinics or hospitals with English speaking physicians. A good place to start is by joining the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers for free, and look for their directory of approved providers in 125 countries. For less common illnesses, you can find providers with a specialty in travel medicine through the International Society of Travel Medicine. The ISTM is also a good place to find a travel clinic for advice and immunizations prior to your travel. If you are traveling to Southeast Asia, you can find some useful information here.

Your home medical insurance may not cover any medical expenses overseas, so you can get temporary travel insurance for any large expenses you encounter. It is extremely unlikely that you will need this insurance, as many countries with social health systems will treat you for free, and those that don’t will often charge a pittance (my experience in a Chinese hospital cost me less than $100). Travel medical insurance is useful in those rare cases when you need to fly out of the country. We have taken this type of insurance when traveling to places where we weren’t confident of finding high-quality care if needed. You can compare insurance quotes here.

In the end, don’t let worries about potential illnesses keep you from traveling. Kids get sick at home, and we treat them with some TLC and allow their amazingly resilient bodies to heal themselves. If you are prepared with some basics and some good information before you leave, you and your child will be able to enjoy more of this fascinating world together.