Trip planning for children with existing health issues

Our four year old has asthma.  His illness, as well as the disruption it causes to our daily lives, influences decisions we make about travel.  For example, we will only travel to places that have access to both an emergency department and hospital ward capable of looking after him if he becomes unwell as he has required frequent hospitalizations in the past. Unfortunately, many babies and small children suffer from a long-term health complaint. If your little one falls into this category, it is important that your travel plans take their special needs into account.  Here are a few suggestions for planning travel with children such as these.

  • Organise a separate consultation with your child’s regular doctor prior to booking the trip.  You want to know whether your child’s condition poses any limitations on your travel plans.   You will also want your child’s doctor to maximize your child’s health prior to undertaking the travel.  For example, in my son’s case this may involve temporarily increasing doses of preventive medication.
  • Ask your doctor to help you devise a medical plan.  This should include written information regarding what to do if there are minor health problems or exacerbations whilst traveling.
  • Include a copy of your child’s medical history in your travel documentation.
  • Ensure you have adequate travel insurance and that any pre-existing medical complaints are declared.  Ensure that your travel insurance covers:
  1. The cost of trip cancellation prior to travel in the instance that this is necessary due to your child’s illness.
  2. Your child for medical care when abroad.
  3. Medical evacuation.
  • Carry all essential medication and equipment with you in your on-board luggage if travelling by plane.  You don’t want to be caught out if your luggage is delayed or goes missing.
  • Carry a doctor’s letter with you if traveling internationally just in case there are questions posed about the legitimacy of the medication.
  • If your child has special dietary requirements ensure they are available at your destination – otherwise take supplies with you.
  • Don’t plan to buy medication overseas, as obtaining a prescription during travel can be difficult. Further, be aware that medication scams are not uncommon in some developing countries. These scams pose the risk that you may not receive the medication you are paying for, which may have dire consequences for your child’s health.
  • If administration of your child’s medication may require a syringe, take a supply of these with you.
  • If you are traveling to a country which delivers a standard of healthcare below that provided at home, consider purchasing health membership from a company such as SOS International.  Your membership will allow you to access their health facilities when abroad.
  • Consider fitting your child with a medical alert bracelet.
© Copyright 2012 Danielle, All rights Reserved. Written For: Bubs on the Move

3 thoughts on “Trip planning for children with existing health issues

  1. Pingback: Trip planning for children with existing health issues | TravelSquare

  2. Excellent post! I have been thinking about this a lot lately. I have some friends who were evacauted from Jamaica in a helicopter after having a car accident there in July. I think your suggestions are great, and not just for children. Thanks for the tips!

    • I hope your friends recovered from what sounds like a dreadful ordeal. I required a helicopter evacuation in a helicopter myself – in pre-term labour when on a “babymoon” from a resort island. Thanks for taking the time to comment. Danielle

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