Your first family holiday with a newborn or toddler can be both fun and terrifying! It’s precious time away from the daily grind for you to spend quality time together. But when you’ve witnessed screaming babies and tantrum-ing toddlers on holidays before you had kids, nerves are expected.
Our first trip away as a new family was a long haul flight from Australia to the UK. I saw first-hand how stressful it looked to some families. Because of this, I was determined to make our first trip as smooth as possible and I wrote a list of all of the essential baby travel things I needed to pack for our baby.
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I still use this list now every time we go away! So whether it’s a short road trip or a long haul flight, we know exactly what we need to make traveling with our kids stress-free. Well, mostly stress-free! I share these tips for traveling with a baby with all of my friends who go on their first holiday too.
In this post, I want to particularly share some ideas for keeping your baby safe on holiday. It’s the things we do to give us peace of mind and help to prepare us for unexpected incidents. I’m also sharing my Family Holiday Health and Safety Checklist. It’s so helpful for if you’re traveling with a baby for the first time!
How to Keep Your Baby Safe on Holiday is sponsored by Ask Your Pharmacist.
How to keep your Baby Safe on Holiday
1. Find a family-friendly destination
For me, a family-friendly destination is one that is safe for the family. Before we travel, I like to find out where the nearest hospital is, just in case. Of course this isn’t always something that is close by but pharmacies are and they are always our first point of call when we have a health question.
Even when we’re not traveling, it’s often much easier to see our pharmacist before our GP. Most pharmacies have long opening hours and often the advice they can give you is free. Your local pharmacy is an accessible community health hub with a wealth of health knowledge. Our local one is open until 11pm – which is super helpful because it’s always around then when we realise we’ve ran out of kids’ Panadol or Nurofen!
It’s also worth asking friends and family who have holidayed with kids before where to travel with a baby or toddler. Ask them for their opinion on the best places to travel with a baby that they loved and that was safe for infants.
Traveling with a newborn baby might particularly need a bit of research before you go. If you’re travelling abroad with a baby, you might find my article on tips for flying with a baby handy.
You’ll need to consider baby travel essentials such as what you’ll transport them in first. If traveling by car, make sure you have a safe baby car seat. If you’re flying with an infant, you may well be able to take your car seat on the plane.
Choose a destination that is easy for you to get around and explore. You might want to consider hotels or venues that are stroller-friendly or perhaps have a portable cot for you to hire so that you don’t have to take your own. If you don’t take your own baby travel stroller, some places you visit might have them available for hire – find out before you go.
It’s worth reading reviews online about your accommodation and destination before you book. Find out what other parents have to say about the safety of where you’re thinking of traveling to. We’ve heard amazing things about Fiji for travel with kids and I can’t wait to go – hopefully next year!
When booking accommodation, check that it’s baby-proof inside and out – some balconies are very baby-unfriendly. If your room has blinds, make sure the cords aren’t low enough for your little one to grab.
2. Protect your health
I also like to take some cutlery, bowls and plates for my two. For babies, you might like to invest in a travel steriliser for any bottles and dummies you take.
It’s definitely worth checking out the proximity of your travel accommodation to a hospital and pharmacy too – just in case. If you’re travelling in Australia, head to the Find a Pharmacy website here to find your local pharmacy. If you need help while you’re traveling with children, get it. Don’t wait until you get home – you’ll have more peace of mind by making sure everything’s okay sooner.
Catherine Bronger, a Pharmacist and mum to a one-year-old and five-year-old, has this advice on the symptoms you should not ignore: “If your child is less than a year, especially under three months, always seek medical help immediately if they have symptoms like lethargy, seizure, listlessness and not responding to you, headache, vomiting, dark urine, difficulty breathing or rashes with a stiff neck. For any other rashes, if they are combined with high temperatures or generally unwell, see a Pharmacist or Doctor for advice.”
“It’s important to give medicine to kids with high temperatures. If you find their temperature is peaking in-between doses, your pharmacist can advise you on an appropriate strategy. This will make sure that you don’t exceed the appropriate dose in a 24 hour period but the child’s temperature remains low. Always dose by weight instead of by age and if you need help, confirm with a Pharmacist.”
3. Check out the activities
Consider in advance what you might like to do when you reach your destination. Traveling with a newborn, baby or toddler doesn’t need to be boring! I loved taking my sling or baby carrier on our trips as it meant it was so easy to get around and have my babies close to me. It was also a safe and familiar place for them too as I baby wore daily at home.
Your first family holiday might be your baby’s first dip in a swimming pool! Make sure the pool you visit is safe and clean and never leave your baby unattended.
Some resorts offer a “kids club” or babysitting service. Find out before you go what’s available and if it’s something you would be interested in. Just bear in mind that these are generally for older toddlers upwards.
4. Kit them out
If you’re heading to the sun, sea or snow, take along clothing and bedding that is temperature-appropriate.
Layers are great for this so you can layer your baby up or down depending on how warm it is. Don’t forget head gear! A wide brimmed hat in the sun is essential and a sunshade on your stroller or baby carrier. In cooler climbs, take a snug hat for them to wear.
If you’re going to be out and about, you’ll also need sun protection. Take your favourite brand from home to make sure your baby is covered (literally) from day one of your holiday. Use a product you know in advance won’t irritate their skin. Catherine says to “make sure sun protection is suited to the age of your baby as well as any skin conditions they may have.”
Holidaying in the snow, or colder climates, can sometimes bring about other health problems like coughs and colds. Rug the family up and if this does happen, pop to your local pharmacy to stock up on the right medication to help.
5. Keep them close
Finally, even though traveling with your baby is going to be a lot of fun, it’s essential to keep an eye on them. If your baby is on the move (rolling or crawling) then make sure your accommodation is baby-proof.
Whether you’re in a resort or out and about, make sure your little one is always where you can see them. They can be surprisingly fast on their feet (or knees!) so it’s easy for them to get lost in crowds.
I hope these tips for traveling with an infant and keeping them safe helps to prepare you for your first family holiday. Catherine adds “a mother knows her child best and sometimes you just need support. Pharmacists around Australia are trained and ready to offer advice, especially if you’re not sure whether you need to see your doctor or not.”
Whether you’re holidaying a long way from home, camping or even stay-cationing with your family, your local Pharmacist can give peace of mind quickly for any family health questions you have. Plus, I don’t know about you but sitting in a GP’s surgery waiting an hour for my appointment stresses me out – no queues at the pharmacy!
On the Find a Pharmacy website you can search by location, service or topic. So if your little one has a cough, asthma, bites or something else, you’ll be led to the right Pharmacist to help. There is also some really helpful advice and tips on many common health issues here.
Our first trip wasn’t anywhere near as stressful as I imagined it might be and we have so many treasured memories from it! With each trip, you learn to be even more prepared for keeping the whole family safe too.
Enter here to download your free Traveling with Kids Medical Checklist:
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Do you have any tips for traveling with a baby? Do you find your local pharmacist is a good sounding board when you’re worried about your baby and you’re unsure whether to see a doctor or not?