Everything a Parent Wants to Know About Traveling with a Child

by | Mar 3, 2016 | Downtown Living, Family

Travelexperience

Photo: Courtesy of Wikipedia.com

Gramercy Pediatrics is a state-of-the-art medical facility, housing the pediatric practice of Dr. Dyan Hes and her staff. Together, they provide medical care to children, teens and young adults from birth to college age. In addition to offering the full range of pediatric services, Dr. Hes also specializes in pediatric obesity.

Gramercy Pediatrics has two office locations, one located in Gramercy Park and the other location in Chelsea at 23rd and 9th Ave. Gramercy Pediatrics features four large exam rooms and an on-site laboratory, which speeds test results and makes it possible for parents to accompany their children during blood draws. The facility is completely paperless and uses eClinicalWorks, the leading software application for electronic medical records.

Dr. Hes has created an office where your child’s medical visit will flow seamlessly. The office is wheelchair accessible and has stroller “parking.” Dr. Hes and/or her staff are fluent in English, Spanish, Hebrew, and Russian. We look forward to seeing you and meeting all of your child’s medical needs. Every month we are going to have a new and exciting topic to discuss with you.

“Gramercy Pediatrics is a state-of-the-art medical facility, housing the pediatric practice of Dr. Dyan”

With spring break approaching I field many calls about traveling with kids, particularly babies. For many women, maternity leave is the longest stretch of free travel time they will ever have. A frequent question I hear is, “How early can I travel on a plane?” I often remind families, “Babies can be born on a plane!” That being said, this is not ideal!

What I recommend, is that if you have non-urgent travel, try to wait to have your baby receive her first round of immunizations.  Most infants received the hepatitis B vaccine at birth. After that initial vaccine, the earliest we can give the next set of shots is 45 days of life (6 weeks). I recommend that families wait 1-2 days after vaccinations to travel, thereby giving the baby a chance to respond to the vaccines.  Some babies, though not most, get fussy.  Even if they have a fever it is alright to travel. This post-vaccination fever is not contagious. It is a normal reaction to vaccines.

Flying with a baby is actually easier than a toddler. Babies can sit on your lap until age 2 years on most flights. I recommend that parents with small infants use a baby carrier to arrive at the airport. With all the security checks, it’s a lot easier than unloading your baby and folding up a stroller to put through the security machine. If your baby is too heavy to carry, then try to bring your lightest umbrella stroller to push to the gate and then check it under the plane. Other families choose to bring an infant in a car seat. In this case, you should use something like a snap-and-go, where you can detach the stroller base at the gate and carry the car seat onto the plane. If you bring a car seat onto the plane, you must pay for a seat for the baby. Some international flights offer a bassinet to families sitting in the first row of coach seating. You can ask to reserve this seat ahead of time.

Babies are born with sinuses but they are underdeveloped. Therefore, they really do not start feeling ear pain until 1-2 years.  Most infants do not have any ear pain with flying until the toddler years. By 9 months I recommend having your baby sucking on a pacifier or drinking a bottle/nursing for takeoff and landing just to ensure that their ears equalize. It is also wise to carry some children’s acetaminophen or ibuprofen with you in case of pain.

“I recommend that parents with small infants use a baby carrier to arrive at the airport”

Many parents inquire about using Benadryl (diphenhydramine) to make their children sleep on a plane. Just remember that 10% of people have a hyperactivity reaction from Benadryl and do not become sleepy at all. You never want to be that family with the hyperactive child running up and down the plane! Try Benadryl at home one day on the weekend before you fly.

The hardest part of traveling with a toddler or small child is keeping them occupied on the flight. Nowadays, many flights come equipped with TV screens, but not all families use screen time. Try to bring books, crayons, crafts or other small games to keep your child entertained.

“Nowadays, many flights come equipped with TV screens, but not all families use screen time”

For international flights, nighttime travel is best. Parents always ask me about what to do with a child’s schedule when traveling. The truth is that it is not much you can do. For each hour of time difference, there is about one day of jet lag. By the time your baby is adjusted…you are usually on your way home. Wishing everyone safe travels!

-by Dyan Hes, MD Medical Director of Gramercy Pediatrics

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