Before You Leave Home . . .
Create an emergency information pack. Use a bag or envelope but make sure you pack this in your carry on luggage—don’t check it.
1. A list of current medications with dosage and an extra copy of prescriptions.
2. A list of allergies.
3. Phone number for family doctor.
4. Insurance company phone number and insurance identification cards. Call your insurance company to verify their policy for emergencies and doctor visits specific to your particular destination.
5. A few basic childproofing items for the hotel/guest room (outlet plugs, cabinet locks, cord rollers, etc).
1. Carry your own emergency care guide on airplane. Yes, you will have flight attendants but no you won’t have 911. Ultimately you are accountable for your baby’s safety so be prepared and don’t leave it up to someone else.
2. Carry the emergency info pack you so carefully created before leaving home.
3. If your child has a severe allergy or medical condition place a medic-alert bracelet on your child.
4. Carry a portable first-aid kit and small bottle of alcohol free hand sanitizer.
5. Pack 1 more diaper than you think you need (after your third flight delay . . . this my friend could be the biggest emergency you encounter).
When You Arrive
1. Make note of emergency numbers (not always 911) as well as your vacation address and the location of the closest hospital. You can ask a family member, friend or concierge for this information.
2. Suitcase dangers—Sometimes the biggest vacation dangers are actually packed in your suitcase. Make sure all medications, vitamins, cigarettes and cosmetics are out of reach from your little one. Ziplock bags are a start but don’t qualify as child proofing. Lock medications in the room safe and place all items high on a shelf out of reach.
3. Hotel room/guest room dangers — Get down on your hands and knees and crawl around the room. See what your baby sees and make the adjustments as necessary. Are there dangling cords? Exposed outlets? Matches? Irons? Check the temperature of the hot water as you don’t know the hot water heater setting. By childproofing the room from the start you will make your life a lot easier and your baby’s a lot safer. According to the National Safety Council, the number two cause of injury-related death among children is drowning so make sure to take precautions regarding any swimming pool, lake or ocean. Prevention + Attention saves lives.
4. Sun damage—Take extra care to make sure baby is covered up as you most likely be spending more time outside than usual. Apply sunscreen (30 spf) every 2 hours and after swimming. Remember that your baby’s skin is thinner than yours and therefore burns more quickly than adult skin. Bring hats and umbrellas for shade. Offer plenty of fluids and watch for signs of heat exhaustion/ heat stroke. Symptoms of heat stroke include a body temperature above 103 degrees Fahrenheit, red, hot, dry skin (no sweating), quick pulse, confusion, dizziness, headache, nausea and unconsciousness.
5. Resort babysitting—Only hire babysitters from a trusted source. Make sure a background check has been completed and that a copy of his/her current drivers license is on file. Trust your gut. If your sitter arrives and you don’t have a good feeling either call for another sitter or cancel your evening. (I personally love sittercity.com) After your sitter arrives, allow time for your baby (and you) to adjust. I recommend leaving at least a 30-minute window. Make sure you leave your emergency care guide, a first aid kit with emergency information and your cell phone number.
© 2011 Luke Hermann, M.D. & Tara Summers Hermann, R.N., B.S.N., authors of Baby MEDBASICS® By Luke Hermann, M.D. & Tara Summers Hermann, R.N., B.S.N. for Not Just The Kitchen