Author: Abbigale B. Fredrick, Richmond, VA Attorney
Fall is a popular time for family travel, and with the right preparation, infants and toddlers can be very portable. Make sure your getaway with your infant or toddler is enjoyable and safe by following these simple safety guidelines:
Safe airplane travel with infants and toddlers
If you are traveling by air, make sure you contact your airline first and ask whether you can you bring your own car seat on the plane, whether the gate agent will allow pre-boarding for families with young children, and whether you can you gate-check your stroller or car seat. It is likely that if your airline allows you to bring your car seat on the plane, you will need to have an FAA-approved car seat, so check your seat to see if it is FAA-approved before you leave.
Car trip safety
If you are traveling by car, make sure you have an appropriate car seat for your child’s age, height, and weight. Review the installation manual for your car seat, install the seat correctly in the back seat, and remember that all infants and toddlers should be placed in rear-facing car seats until age 2, or until they reach the maximum height/weight for their car seat.
Safe hotel stays
Sleep and play safely. Many hotels offer to provide a crib for your baby or toddler. However, it is a good idea to bring your own portable play yard because modern play yards are lightweight and easily packable, you can easily verify whether or not your play yard is a recalled item, and portable play yards serve two purposes: in addition to being a sleeping area, they can serve as an instantly child-safe “zone” where you can set baby down to play without worrying about hazards such as electrical plugs, choke hazards, sharp objects and/or unclean items/surfaces at your travel destination.
Before you travel
Prepare a first aid kit including important baby health and safety basics like a thermometer, tweezers for splinters, liquid infant fever/pain reducer, bandages, sufficient prescription medication if applicable, and don’t forget that hand-sanitizer (containing isopropyl alcohol) can be used as a disinfectant for minor cuts and abrasions. Also bring a list (or save the list to your phone) of all prescription names and dosages in the event of emergency. Before you leave, make sure you have saved your child’s pediatrician’s phone number on your cell phone. Bring a package of disinfectant wipes on your trip. This can be useful for general baby cleanup, as well as disinfecting surfaces baby may potentially touch or put his mouth on.
Out and about
To avoid sunburn and overheating, pack sunscreen of at least SPF 30 (for babies under 6 months, ask your pediatrician for specific instructions on using sunscreen first), bring a hat for baby, try to find shade wherever you travel, and for car trips, purchase shades for the back seat windows where baby will be sitting.
Remember to stay hydrated at all times, and make sure babies and toddlers are getting sufficient water throughout the day.
Bring an extra blanket - even to warm destinations. A blanket can provide a play surface as well as provide extra warmth in a chilly hotel room or airplane.
Avoid travel interruption, a ruined vacation, or unplanned emergencies by taking a few extra safety precautions initially, and you are sure to have a fun and memorable vacation with your infant or toddler.
About the Author: Abbigale B. Fredrick is the Intake Attorney for Allen & Allen, located in the firm’s Richmond, VA office. In addition to being an experienced lawyer, Abby supervises the new case department and works with clients at the earliest stages of their cases. She meets with potential new clients and helps determine how Allen & Allen’s attorneys are best able to meet their needs. Abby’s background in insurance defense gives her valuable insights into how insurance companies handle and evaluate personal injury and medical malpractice claims.