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Prepare for Everything When Traveling With Kids

Matt Villano

We learned the hard way this holiday season that you never can be too prepared for dealing with sick kids on a family vacation.

Sure, we had dozens of princess Band-Aids and vials of Neo To Go. And, yes, we packed thermometers—those of both the anal and forehead-swipe variety. We even hit the local CVS on our way out of town and picked up brand new jars of Motrin and Tylenol and Benadryl, just in case.

Sadly, however, we forgot the recommended pediatric dosing chart from our doctor.

The oversight prompted some pretty stressful scenes, peppered with some pretty irritating questions. Is it 5 milliliters or 3.75? How do I administer 3.75 milliliters with a syringe that only has markings for 1.875? Why is all of this in milliliters anyway?

We ended up spending inordinate amounts of time on hold with our health care provider, just to find out how much medicine we had to give our kids.

Ultimately, both kids got better. But the debacle left us wiser. Here’s what we gleaned:

It pays to bring the dosing chart with you.
If you can’t make an extra copy to take along, shoot a digital photo of it and keep the photo handy in case you need to use it as a reference.

Beg your doctor for a shortcut to answers.
Most health care systems require you to call a main number and jump through an inordinate number of automated prompts before speaking with a human. Your doctor should be able to tell you how to bypass this system. (Of course if you’re calling after hours, you’re probably out of luck.)

Write stuff down.
Considering I’m a journalist, you’d think I’d be really good at writing down information of all kinds. This holiday season, however, I spaced. If you think you might need a particular measurement or piece of dosing information more than once, make sure you write it down and keep it in an obvious place. This will save you the Sisyphean task of calling again and again.

In case you’re wondering, I’ve taken steps to make sure our dosing debacle NEVER happens again. As soon as we came home, I Xeroxed the chart and placed a copy in every single suitcase we own. (Let’s just hope I remember where in each suitcase I stashed them.)

Do you have any pointers to share about preparing for anything when on vacation with kids? If so, leave a comment and let us know.