Traveling with a baby comes with it's own set of rules. Obviously the comfort and safety of that infant is the most paramount.
We had an issue here in the office just this past week. In this situation, the family wasn't just traveling with a baby, they were traveling with twins. 8 month old twins to be exact, who were born prematurely. As a former pediatric nurse, I can appreciate that even full term twins pose additional health concerns, not to mention twins born prematurely.
With just that quick description, I have no doubt in my mind that these parents were in desperate need of a vacation! Being new parents is tough enough...times 2 with twins, let alone the additional worry and stress that comes with premies. Still our agent Suzie got the call shortely before their scheduled departure that they needed to cancel they travel plans?
Why do you ask?...because they failed to get the most important and most overlooked advice when it comes to traveling with a baby...that is, you MUST check in FIRST with your Pediatrician prior to making any vacation plans! We normally recommend this to all of our parents traveling with infants but in this case, we were assured it wouldn't be a problem.
Obviously health, safety and comfort become paramount when it comes to traveling with a baby. Who better to offer instruction and advice on keeping your baby safe and healthy while traveling than your baby's doctor.Your pediatrician knows your child's specific health history and can instruct parents on how to keep their baby healthy while traveling.
Even healthy infants do not yet have a fully mature immune system because they haven't received their full course of immunizations. Travel to certain destinations can put babies under considerable risk when it comes to certain communicable diseases. In some cases, your doctor may advise against traveling to certain destinations until your child is a bit older. Obviously, it is best to know this information before making any vacation plans. Otherwise you not only run the risk of disappointment but it could cost you your entire vacation investment with penalty and cancellation fees.
The good news here is that with a great deal of last minute scrambling and several hours worth of phone calls, we were able to change this family's travel plans to a different destination that was approved by their pediatrician. We were able to salvage their vacation plans without it costing them additional penalties. This family was very lucky. Often these scenarios don't end up with such a happy ending.
The take away lesson here is if you plan to travel with an infant, speak to your pediatrician FIRST, BEFORE you confirm any vacation plans with us here at Vacationkids. This is even more important if your child has any health issues or complicated health history. This way you will avoid any last minute disappointment or hassles. Besides giving you the green light to proceed with your vacation plans, your pediatrician or their nursing staff will be able to offer you specific advice with topics like jetlag, sleeping or feeding schedules, motion sickness or any other specific health issues that may effect your family while you're traveling with your baby.
Murphy's law states what ever can go wrong, will go wrong and at the worst possible time. I think this could possibly be my motto for parenthood. I don't like to be pessimistic but as a parent, I prepare for the worst possible situations and then I'm pleasantly surprised whenever things go smoothly according to plan. For this reason, I always suggest that when parents are speaking to their pediatrician about traveling with a baby, they get a list of dosages for over the counter medications that they may need during their trip...medications for fever, bug bites, sun prevention/burn or tummy troubles for example. Chances are, if you are prepared with this knowledge, you won't need it. Having this knowledge in hand could help you avoid an emergency room visit, let alone frustration while you're on the road. It's also a good idea to keep a written copy of your pediatrician's direct dial phone number with you while traveling in case ou find yourself in an area where your cell phone doesn't work. If you're traveling to a foreign country, learn how to call back to the United States just in case you need it for an emergency. If you're child is on any prescription medications, you may want to get a copy of that prescription to keep with you while you travel. This way if something should spill or get broken, you can get it refilled locally.
Most new parents don't think to get their pediatrician involved when it comes to making their vacation plans but remember, if you're traveling with a baby it's a good idea to keep your child's doctor in the loop and to listen to their advice.