Travelling with a baby takes careful planning in order to minimise any disruption to your baby’s routine and can help contribute to a more peaceful and relaxing holiday.
It is worth taking time to consider what items you might need to take on holiday and what precautions you will need to take in order to protect your baby’s health and safety whilst you are away from home.
- Make a list of essential items you will need to take with you. This will include items such as car seat, travel cot, baby food and first aid kit.
- Your first aid kit should include items such as paracetamol suspension, ibuprofen suspension, barrier cream, thermometer and rehydration sachets.
- Baby formula milk if you are formula feeding.
- If you are travelling abroad and formula feeding familiarise yourself with the guidance on how to safely prepare your baby’s formula milk whilst away. You need to boil the tap water.
- If you are travelling and do not have access to tap water then you will have to use bottled water to make up your baby’s infant formula milk feeds. To do this safely you must read the label to make sure that:
- The sodium level (written as Na) is less than 200 milligrams (mg) per litre
- The sulphate level (written as SO or SO4) is less than 250mg per litre.
- Remember that bottled water is not sterile so would still need to be boiled before using it to make up your baby’s formula feed.
- Consider how you will be sterilising your baby’s feeding equipment whilst you are away.
- If travelling abroad make sure you take precautions with the foods that you offer your baby. Ensure that the food you feed your baby is cooked thoroughly, and has not been left to stand. Avoid giving your baby salad foods or uncooked and raw foods to minimise their risks of becoming unwell. Avoid shellfish whilst abroad.
- Essential travel documentation such as passports, European Health Insurance Card and travel insurance. Remember your baby will need a passport if you are going abroad.
- If you are flying, check with the airline that you are flying with as you may also need a doctor’s letter if your baby is under 2 weeks of age confirming they are able to fly.
- To minimise pain in your baby’s ears, feed your baby or offer them a dummy to suck on when taking off and landing.
- Make sure your baby’s vaccines are up to date and ask your GP if they need any additional vaccines depending on your country of destination.
- Be sun safe and make sure that you protect your baby from the harmful effects of sun exposure. Use a sunscreen appropriate for your baby with a sun protection factor of at least 30 and at least 4 star UVA protection, wide brimmed sun hat and sunglasses but make sure they have the CE mark and British Standard Mark.
- Keep your baby out of the sun as much as possible. Babies under the age of 6 months should not be in the sun at all and babies over the age of 6 months should be kept out of the midday sun between the hours of 11am and 3pm.
- Offer your baby regular fluids to prevent them from becoming dehydrated. Your baby will not need additional fluids if you are breastfeeding. However, if you’re formula feeding or weaning your baby then you could offer your baby cool boiled water to prevent them from becoming dehydrated.
- Ensure you have a car seat that is appropriate for your baby if you are planning on hiring a car whilst you are on holiday and that you know how to fit it properly.
- If travelling for long periods of time ensure that you stop and have regular breaks and take your baby out of their car seat and allow them time to lay flat.
- Be aware of the risks that your new and unfamiliar environment may pose to your baby and your family such as tiled floors, steps and blind cords.
- Familiarise yourself with the fire exits.
- Consider the risks presented by open water such as swimming pools and the sea and never leave your baby unsupervised.
If you are worried or require any further advice about travelling with your baby please do not hesitate to speak to your Public Health Nurse (Health Visitor), GP or Practice Nurse.