Tips for Flying and Road Trips During COVID-19…
I’m prefacing this post by saying that you should not travel during Covid. To stop the Coronavirus Pandemic we all have to do our part. Stay home, wear masks, and respect the public health protocols established by where we live.
But, my son was born in 2009. And we travelled a few times with him during the H1N1 Pandemic. Of course, that was nowhere near the scale of COVID-19 but I was still second-guessing myself. At the time, we took precautions that I have actually maintained for all of our trips, pandemic or no.
Tips for Flying During Covid with Babies & Toddlers:
Travel during Covid means making friends with bleach and disinfectant. Have one parent board first and wipe your seats down with disinfecting wipes. Go over everything little grabby hands might touch: the armrests, tray tables, seat belt buckles. The laminated safety card in the seat-back pocket was a particular favourite of my kids.
But, because I’m a Nervous Nellie, I was just as worried about disinfectant residue as I was about germs. I waited the recommended amount of time for the disinfectant wipes to take effect. Then, I went over everything again with a baby wipe.
I experienced a strange deja vu in the early days of the pandemic. Stories of families kicked off of planes started to emerge due to toddlers and young children not wearing masks. But, like wearing seat belts, wearing a mask is a new mandatory protocol for travel during Covid. Everyone two and older must wear a mask on a plane. And, as with seat belts, we find ways to ensure that our kids follow the rules. Find masks with their favourite characters on them and set an example by wearing a mask yourself.
If your baby is happy and comfortable in their infant carrier car seat, consider purchasing a seat on the plane to ensure you can use it. Smaller babies are easier to travel with in circumstances like these. You are better able to limit what they come into contact with, especially if they are not yet putting things in their mouths.
Fortunately the pandemic should deter the coochie-coo crowd. Pinching baby cheeks and tickling toddler hands without asking permission from parents is more frowned upon. Still, have lots of wipes and hand sanitizer at the ready anyway.
Pack lots of food and snacks. If baby is still bottle feeding, try to get them used to room temperature bottles before your trip. This way you don’t have the hassle or the increased contact of warming the bottles en route.
Try to avoid small toys that could drop and roll around. Retrieving them will force you to touch extra surfaces that are out of your area.
Tips for Road Trips & Driving During Covid-19:
Driving might seem safer than flying if you must travel during Covid. However, you still will have to stop for gas and bathroom breaks. And if you drive during the day, and your child sleeps in their car seat, you may have wakeful nights after your trip.
Pack as much food as you can to sustain you for your time in the car. It’s probably healthier and you’ll be able to avoid increased contact in stores and restaurants. You make better time doing this, too.
Keep an arsenal of wipes and masks within easy reach in the car. They will be close at hand for when you do need to venture out at stops.
A good way to avoid excess contact with the outside world and a wakeful baby or toddler? Drive at night. The main driver takes a nap in the afternoon and you leave at bedtime. The other adult passenger tries to sleep until the first driver needs a break. This method works well if both drivers promise to stop ASAP if they are too tired to continue. When you arrive at your destination you’ll have a tired day but your child’s sleep routine should not be affected. And there would be almost zero contact with the outside world if you pay at the gas station pumps.
Carry-On Essentials for Travel During Covid with Babies & Toddlers:
- Disinfecting Wipes
If you’re anything like me, in the beforetimes you used the gentlest cleaners possible. Now, for our daily life and especially for travel during Covid, we need to use disinfecting wipes.
- Hand Sanitizer
Same as for wipes, I used to use gentle, non-toxic hand sanitizer products. No more. The CDC says we need to use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content. For travel during Covid, make sure your hand sanitizer product clearly states the alchohol content.
Not all face masks are created equal. Obviously, washable cloth face masks are best for the environment and come in the cutest styles. However, when it comes to toddler face masks, comfort and wearability are your top priorities. We have found paper face masks to be the most comfortable for long-term wearing. Ultimately the mask your toddler will wear is the best one for you.
- Travel Sterilizer
I’m actually horrified that, back in the day, if my kids’ pacifier fell on the ground I’d pop it in my mouth and then back in theirs. Health Canada issued a warning about UV wands as sterilizers. However, if I was traveling with an infant now I would bring portable, UV pacifier sterilizer. These were on the market pre-Covid. Your best bet is to bring a travel kettle for sterilizing bottles, etc. in hotel rooms. However, this will do in a pinch.
- Travel Health & Safety Resources: Healthy Travel & Tips for Traveling Sick
- Tips for Traveling with Babies & Small Children in a Post-Covid World
- Road Trip Tips for Travel with Babies & Toddlers
- Travel Vaccinations for Babies & Toddlers
- What to Do if Baby Gets Sick on Vacation
- How to Stay Healthy & Avoid Getting Sick on Vacation
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