The schools are out in just two months and many parents have already begun planning the summer. However, if you have a child or children, traveling by car, bus or plane, can be challenging, especially if you are covering long distances.
For children, traveling means, being stuck in a tight place for a long time, but, children, especially babies, do not like being in a small place or staying in the same place for a long time.
However, it is possible to make their experience as comfortable as possible. Pediatrician Dr. Murat Palabıyık shared some tips that can make summer trips easier for parents.
Dare to take a flight with kids
Without doubt, the most annoying part of a plane journey is the ear discomfort and pain due to the changes in pressure. Through for adults it may be something easy to deal with, but what about babies? Air pressure changes during a plane journey cause blockage and pain in ears, which make babies cry in pain.
Analgesic syrups can prevent this situation. This kind of medications can unblock the Eustachian tube and relieve the middle ear. However, the decision shouldn't be taken by parents themselves. They need to consult to a doctor, who has already been following the baby's situation, before using the medicine. Babies can travel by plane as soon as they are born, but is not recommended unless it is an obligatory case. In ideal circumstances, a baby must be at least a month old to travel by plane.
Another measure that you can take to comfort ear blockage is gulping, especially during the take-off and landing. This is recommended for adults, children and babies. For instance, a mother can breastfeed her baby or offer him/her something to eat or drink (e.g. chewing gum) during take-off and landing.
Planes are narrow and closed areas which can be extremely boring even for adults. Thus, it is normal for children and babies to be anxious and bad-tempered in such an area. That is why families with babies should spend as less time as possible in plane journeys. Also, if possible, you should choose the seats closest to the door and as soon as you have your seat number on your ticket, no one will take your place. Thus, it is important, for your child's convenience, to be the first ones to get on and off the plane.
In recent years, airline companies have made efforts to make it possible for families with small children to have comfortable journeys. They take newborns into account and place those families in front seats and mount cradles on the wall.
Dr Murat Palabıyık said it would also be a good idea to choose a flight that coincides with your child's sleep time. You could also give your child a medication used for common cold – with the approval of a doctor – in order to ensure that he/she will get proper sleep during the journey. You should also keep comfortable and extra clothes beside you. Children feel less uneasy when they wear clothes that they usually wear at home.
If you have a very active child, it is a good idea to make them wear bright colored clothes that can be easily spotted, so as to prevent him/her from getting out of sight in crowds at airports.
l It would be a good idea to have your child's favorite toys, coloring books and other things he/she likes beside you for long-haul flights.
You should have your child's favorite food and beverages with you, even if there were services on board.
For babies fed with baby bottles you should have minimum two for short flights and three for long flights.
You should have enough diapers and wet wipes. Flight attendants usually help families to get a suitable space in toilets for changing diapers.
Giving your child common cold syrup before the flight and every 4-6 hours will help them relax during long flights.
Consuming plenty of fluid after flights helps children adapt to the situation more easily. Especially, when the destination city is hotter, it gets more important to take fluid.
Children with active infection should not fly unless necessary, considering both their own wellbeing and the risk of transmitting the infection. Especially, if there is an ear infection, changes in cabin pressure can lead to very severe ear pain. Children with sinusitis can also suffer severe headaches. Similarly, it is not recommended for children with diarrhea to fly, as there may be fluid loss on excessive levels during long flights. Children with chronic heart and lung diseases should also consult their doctors before flying.
Have a safe car trip with the family
The first and foremost rule that families should pay attention to is a child safety seat. Various studies show that accidents mostly affect children sitting on their mothers' laps. The second most affected group includes the ones who sit on a normal seat instead of a child safety seat and the ones who do not fasten their seat belts.
Dr. Palabıyık said there are several points to consider when buying a car seat for your child,
l Do not consider the price only. Though high prices may not necessarily mean the seat is safer or easier to use, but you should also avoid very cheap and low-quality models.
When you find a seat for your child, first try it. Put your child on it and adjust the seat belt. Make sure that it is properly and safely installed in your car.
Keep in mind that visuals provided with car seats do not always show the right way to use them. You should definitely try it in your own vehicle first.
Placing such materials as mattress or blankets in car seats that are designed for babies to flatten the floor of vehicles is a common mistake. This actually increases the risk of slipping and falling from the seat. Let your child enmire into the seat. Don't worry, it won't harm his back. These seats will provide your child with the most comfortable position, similar to the one in the mother's womb. Once their belts are properly fastened, many babies stop crying and behave well without any problems during the journey.
Never place your child in the safety seat opposite the passenger airbag. Airbags that explode in case of a minor accident can cause death.
All children under 13 years should sit in the back.
Be a good role model and always fasten your seat belt. Doing this, you will help your child to get into the habit of fastening his seat belt for his whole life.
Beware that each safety seat is different. You should read and comply with instructions.