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Traveling with Sick Kids

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The worst vacation I ever had was the one when I didn’t get on the plane. My youngest son was not quite six months old when we were scheduled to go to Walt Disney World with my husband’s family. We’ve been to Walt Disney World several times; it’s our “relaxing” vacation, believe it or not. A few days prior to us leaving, though, my sweet baby got sick. We live in the mecca for every allergen known to man, so we keep the arsenal of allergy meds and breathing “treats,” as my kids call them, on hand.

Since we had this vacation approaching, I even scheduled an appointment with our pediatrician to have him checked out the day before we left. We were right on the edge: he had certainly been worse before, but my poor little guy was definitely not feeling well. Our flight left at 6:00 in the morning, and my husband and I spent most of the night trying to decide if we’d be on it. Finally, at around 4:00 a.m., while walking a crying baby around the living room, I made the call: there would be no vacation for the two of us. Since I had packed my husband’s and my things in one suitcase and my kids’ in another, I had a frenzied re-packing session. An hour later, I cried as I put my older son in the car with my husband and watched them leave.

There’s no doubt that it was the right decision to make. The only thing worse than having a sick baby is having a sick baby in a hotel room. Since we were at home I had access to all of our meds, humidifiers, nebulizers, doctors, pharmacies, and our own beds. I wasn’t trying to tip toe around so as not to wake up my other son or worry about the people in the room next to us being disturbed by a crying baby. And I wasn’t feeling guilty about dragging him along on something he clearly didn’t need to be doing.

It’s important to make the right call ahead of time with a sick kid. You also need to know your options for what to do with a sick kid while on vacation, though.

Pharmacies That Deliver

Did you know some pharmacies will deliver to a hotel for a small delivery charge? We’ve had our pediatrician call in a prescription for us (the benefits of establishing a good relationship with your pediatrician!) and had it delivered to our hotel along with OTC meds while we were out and about. When we returned to the hotel, the meds were waiting and had been charged to our room account. Check with the front desk or even in the hotel gift shop to see if a service like this might be available.

Finding a Doctor

If you or your child needs to be seen by a medical professional, ask the front desk for options there, too. There are some places where doctors or the like will make “room-calls.” Although it usually has a higher charge that won’t be reimbursed by insurance, it can be worth it at times. If you do find that you have to go somewhere, ask the front desk where the nearest Urgent Care clinic is located. Those are usually much faster and easier to navigate than going to a hospital’s emergency room. Many will file your insurance for you as well.

While I hope that none of you have to miss out on a family vacation – even for a few hours! – to deal with a sick kid, it does happen sometimes and it’s important to make the right decision ahead of time and know your options if you’re already there. There may be some silver lining…four years later I still get sympathy occasionally from my husband over the trip I had to miss. And I still play the martyr and take it!

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Robyn fell in love with travel before kids and has found it even more wonderful since her kids have joined the family. She is married to an amazing…

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