Here’s how to keep baby safe and healthy when you bring her along for travel!
If you could keep your precious little one indoors for always, away from all the possible dangers and diseases that could unexpectedly attack, you would. But now that summer is here, the call to jump into a pool, hop on a plane, or buckle up and go on a road trip is even stronger. Don’t say cooped up indoors while everyone’s out basking in the sun. Keep these safety tips in mind so you and baby can have a vacation to remember.
Q. When going on a lengthy road trip with my baby, what essentials do I bring?
A. A huge bag! because, according to pediatricians, you must fill it up with these:
- Clothes. Pack extra outfits just in case baby vomits or has a diaper leak. Don’t forget socks and a light jacket. A hat can also help block the sun.
- Bring more food and milk than you need.
- Diapers and a foldable changing pad.
- Feeding bowl and utensils
- Blanket and small pillows
- Extra feeding bottles, sippy cups, and pacifiers
- Baby wipes and tissue
- Toys. Bring a few of your baby’s favorite toys (and new ones!) to keep him distracted and entertained.
- Carrier or sling
- Stroller with good wheels
- Bathing essentials: small tub, shampoo, soap
- Plastic bag for coiled clothes and nappies
- First aid kit: Thermometer ; Fewer medicine (paracetamol) ; Topical antibiotic for wounds (Betadine) ; Anti-allergies (diphenyhydramine, hydroxyzine) ; Anti-emetics (Domperidone) ; Oral rehydrating solution (Hydrite, Oresol) ; Sunblock ; Diaper rash ointment ; Alcohol ; Cotton ; Bandages ; Insect repellent products ; Hand sanitizers.
It is important that your baby is secure in one during a road trip. “It will greatly diminish the chances of your baby getting seriously injured if and when you get into a road accident.”
Q. Can my baby use sunscreen? If not, how can we protect her from the harsh sun?
A. It is not recommended to put sun block on a baby younger than six months old. “A baby’s skin still has very little melanin-our skin’s natural sun protectant – so babies are very prone to burns”. “Safe sunscreens are those with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide because these are minerals and not chemicals. Avoid products with para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) because it is a skin irritant.”
Doctors suggests physical barriers. “Dress them in long pants and long-sleeved shirts. Hats and sunglasses would be helpful.”
“The best way to protect babies against the sun is not to expose them when the sun is at the hottest which is between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. “And make sure they are well-hydrated by giving them lots of fluids.”
Q. Is it okay for my baby to swim in chlorine-treated pools? What precautions must I take?
A. Chlorine is indeed a strong chemical used to sanitize swimming pools. “Over-chlorination of swimming pools can cause burning, itchy eyes, and skin irritation. “In extreme cases, it can aggravate asthma attacks.”
There is a recent European study that links chlorinated pools and the risk of asthma in children under two years old. “According to the study, chlorine in the pool-when combined with swimmers’ sweat, saliva, and urine-forms by-products that irritate the lungs and can increase a baby’s chances of developing asthma or allergies in later years.
This doesn’t mean, however, that you should keep baby away from the pool while everyone is splashing around. Dr. Lopez-Gabriel adds that the study did not mention how often the babies studied were exposed to the chlorine. She says, “If it’s only once in a while, it’s okay.” Just remember to limit swim time, make sure your baby does not swallow pool water, and always rinse off chlorinated water right after.
Q. Can babies tolerate sunbathing or lengthy sun exposure?
A. No matter how badly you want a tan, do not leave your baby under the sun for too long. “A baby’s skin is very sensitive to sunlight so sunbathing for babies is not recommended.”
To stay safe, not to expose baby to the sun at all when ultraviolet rays are at their harshest. Stay in the shade and put on sunscreen and protective clothing.
Q. If a baby is sunburned, what products are safe to use as remedies?
A. If it is a first-degree burn, meaning there’s redness and no blisters, Doctor advises, “Give a pain reliever such as paracetamol (Tempra, Calpol)every four hours or ibuprofen (Advil, Dolan) every six hours. A low-dose 0.1 percent hydrocortisone cream applied thinly on the skin once daily can also alleviate the redness. Taking cool baths and applying cold compress on the burned area can also help.”
Dr. warns against putting petroleum jelly, butter, or toothpaste “because it prevents heat from escaping and is very painful to remove. Consult your pediatrician or dermatologist if the child develops fever, the sunburn becomes infected, your child becomes very sick.”
“If your child is sunburned, it is also important to give fluids to rehydrate.”
Q. Is dengue a threat even during summer? What other diseases should we be on the lookout for?
A. “Around 10 to 15 years ago, dengue was considered a wet-season disease. “It now does not follow any pattern, and there are still dengue cases during the summer.”
According to pediatricians, other summer diseases are chicken pox, measles, German measles, acute gastroenteritis (vomiting, diarrhea), food-borne diseases such as typhoid and hepatitis A, viral conjunctivitis (sore eyes), and those that arise from swimming such as ear and skin infections.
Q. Can my baby swim at the beach? Does saltwater have any adverse effect on his skin?
A. Your baby can definitely swim at the beach; however, saltwater can affect her skin. “Since babies have thin, sensitive skin and underdeveloped sweat glands, saltwater can cause irritation. “It can also strip skin’s natural oils, making it dry and itchy.”
“The best thing to do is limit baby’s contact with saltwater, rinse it off after swimming, and apply a hypoallergenic moisturizer.
Q. When a baby gets cabin fever from a long road trip, what can one do to alleviate boredom and restlessness?
A. “Apart from being a pediatrician, I am also a mother, says Doctor. “When my husband and I take my daughter on long trips, my trick is to always pack some of her favorite toys and books, as well as new ones which I hide from her until the trip. When she gets bored, I pull them out one by one. I also put her favorite songs on my iPod and play them so she can sing along.”
Q. When visiting a new place with baby, what safety precautions must be practiced?
A. “Never change baby’s daily routine because it can make her fussy and cranky. Do not introduce new food. It is better to prepare baon that she usually eats to avoid untoward effects. Never buy a different kind of milk. It can sometimes cause diarrhea or constipation, which can ruin your vacations.”
“When on vacations, always request that drinking water at least be filtered. Cool boiled water is still your best bet. Make sure the place is baby-friendly, too. If your baby is able to crawl, check the electrical outlets and make sure they are out of her reach. Overall, your baby can pretty much do anything as long as there is adult supervision.”
If you’re prepared and equipped with what to so in case there’s an emergency, you can relax and focus on having fun. After all, these summery moments are the stuff great memories are made of.