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March Break Special: How To Travel Safely With Young Kids

With March Break right around the corner many Toronto families are preparing to part with the familiar cold of home for what could be their first tropical vacation with the kids.

If your family fits this description, there are some things you need to be aware of when travelling with kids in order to keep them safe, healthy and happy on their travels.

Before You Leave

I will start of by suggesting you consult a healthcare provider ahead of your trip to ensure your child has the appropriate vaccines to travel to the region of the world you plan to travel to.

Travelling With Medication

If your child requires medication make sure you bring it in sufficient supply and its original container. Commonly used OTC treatments for fever (such as ibuprofen) may be wise to travel with in the event your child feels unwell.

On The Plane

Ear popping is a common and potentially aggravating occurrence in children that can be addressed either through chewing gum, yawning or swallowing.

Once You Arrive

It’s a wise idea to wash your hands regularly and keep hand sanitizer with you at all times in the event hand washing is not an option.

Bringing your child’s favourite stuffed animal, toy or snack (if possible) from home will help make adjusting to the new setting easier.

Sun Safety

Whisking your family away to a sunny paradise this March means that you will have to be attentive about your children’s exposure to the sun.

Young children are especially vulnerable to sun burn and heat related issues.

Here are some quick tips to keep your kids safe in the sun:

  1. Wear light coloured clothing.
  2. Encourage drinking water throughout the day, especially before sun exposure.
  3. Provide a hat and sunglasses
  4. Spend most of the time in the sun before 11 am or after 4pm when the rays are weaker.
  5. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 even on cloudy days
  6. If your child feels sick after extended sun exposure, get to a cooler location as quickly as possible and provide ample water.

Food Safety

Children are especially susceptible to food borne illness and may be at an increased risk when travelling to new locations where food safety standards may be less rigid.

Food borne illness, also known as food poisoning, is usually characterized by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain.

Here are some quick tips on how to help your child avoid food poisoning:

  1. Don’t offer them food sold at street vendors
  2. Avoid soft cheeses ( which tend to be unpasteurized)
  3. Avoid all undercooked or raw animal products ( fish, eggs, meat etc), stick to food served hot.
  4. If you are worried about food safety in any given location, stick to fruits with peels that can be removed by you before provided to the children* and stick to bottled water.
  5. Always wash your hands, as well as fruits and veggies that do not have a peel/skin.

*Examples include bananas, kiwis, melon, oranges, mango etc

Home Safety While You’re Away

Don’t forget to ensure that your home stays safe and sound while you’re away. Check out this article on how to keep your home safe while you’re on vacation!

andy desantisAndy De Santis RD MPH

Andy is a Toronto-based private practice dietitian and nutrition writer/blogger. He also holds a master’s degree in public health nutrition from the University of Toronto. If you are interested in learning more about Andy and his services, or you’d like to read more of this nutrition content, you can do so at


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