Overcoming the challenge of holiday travel with children in tow

Caring For Our Kids

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — We are nearing one of the busiest travel times of the year. This year, many families are deciding whether or not to travel over the holidays, and if they do, how to stay safe.

Dr. Julia Arana from East Tennessee Children’s Hospital offers some tips and how to over come some travel troubles. 

Traveling during COVID-19

Unfortunately, the pandemic is worsening. This year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local health officials are recommending keeping holiday celebrations to just those who live in your household. This is an individual decision everyone is going to have to make for their own families.

If you do decide to gather with others, we suggest you keep your gathering small, practice social distancing when possible, wear a face covering when you can’t keep distance, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer regularly, and of course, stay home if you are feeling sick.

Common travel troubles

Jet Lag: When flying across time zones it can take your internal body clock time to catch up to local time. Kids will be extra tired and cranky if their sleep routines are messed up.

Try to adjust your family’s sleep schedules two to three days before departure by moving bedtime back slowly, get plenty of rest before the trip, and drink lots of water and other noncaffeinated drinks.

Ear Pain: It’s common for kids to experience ear discomfort during plane’s takeoff and descent. Infants are helped by nursing or sucking on a bottle. You can encourage older children to swallow, yawn, or if old enough, chew gum.

It can also help to give a children’s pain reliever like acetaminophen 30 minutes to an hour before the flight.

Motion Sickness: This can happen by plane, boat or car, and kids are more susceptible than adults. Having kids eat a light meal or snack before departure can help. Try to avoid eating during short trips.

For longer trips, sip drinks and eat light, small meals and snacks. Encourage kids to look outside rather than inside; they should focus on still objects not moving ones. Keep a window open slightly for fresh air, and make frequent rest stops. Ask your doctor about medicines to prevent travel sickness.

Diarrhea: This can be caused by bacteria and other germs entering the digestive tract. This can be a more serious problem for babies who can become dehydrated quickly. Consider drinking bottled water when traveling. Remind kids to wash their hands well and often, Use hand sanitizer when soap and water is not available, and keep pacifiers and infants’ toys clean.

Items to Pack

  • Face coverings.
  • Hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes.
  • Medicines your child normally takes. Don’t forget your child’s EpiPen for allergic reactions or insulin.
  • Over-the-counter pain reliever
  • Small first-aid kit. The kit should include antiseptic, antibiotic ointment, bandages and other over-the-counter medications recommended by your doctor.


Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

WATE 6 On Your Side Twitter