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Top Tips for Travel with Kids who Have Medical Accessories


Traveling with kids can be a big undertaking for any parent – and for parents of children with medical complexities, a trip can mean arranging additional logistics to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible. Planning is required to arrange additional necessary supplies, flying or driving with multiple pieces of equipment, and always being prepared to handle an emergency – whether you’re on an airplane, in the bathroom at an airport, or at a rest stop along the highway.

But that doesn’t stop Jill from making sure her daughter, Tana, gets to enjoy vacations with the rest of the family. Tana has enjoyed trips ranging from Mexico to the Pacific Northwest and fills her time there with skiing, horseback riding, and relaxation on the beach.

We love when our patients are able to get out and travel with family and friends – it’s part of the reason we believe so strongly that our patients do best at home. But the best trips are well-planned trips – let your PHS clinician know you will be traveling so he or she can help get you set up for travel and make sure you have everything you need when you arrive.

Whether you’re hitting the road or going by air, there are a few things to keep in mind:

On the road

  • header-image_tanaAlways have access to the supplies you will need in an emergency close by. If they’re stored in the trunk, they will not be as easy to grab quickly and will require that you pull over if you find yourself in need of something.
  • Make sure your child is comfortable if it will be a long drive
  • Ensure your equipment is fully charged, and consider if you’ll need to stop during the drive to charge or make adjustments to equipment. Being prepared for these steps will help you be ahead of the game!

Air travel

  • Tana (13)Call the airline about your child’s medical needs before buying a plane ticket. Each airline has separate rules about the type of medical support it allows during a flight – most major airlines will accommodate your child’s medical equipment needs, whereas some charter airlines will not. You will also want to have a contact at the airport if you have more than 4 ounces of liquid to ensure you get through security without trouble.
  • An airline may require a doctor’s order before it allows medical support during a flight.
  • Make sure the airport terminal can meet your child’s needs while you wait to board the plane or after you arrive at your destination.

What to learn more about how families travel with their children who have medical complexities? Watch the video below to hear how Jill and Tana don’t let her equipment & supplies slow her down, and hear from PHS respiratory therapist Krystal Culliton on what PHS does to help make travel the smooth and enjoyable trip it should be.

Originally published: March 25, 2015

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