Dec 9, 2016, 12:00:00 AM CST Dec 31, 2018, 9:51:23 AM CST

Vacation checklist – healthy travel tips

Check out these tips and tricks from Children’s Health℠ for putting together your travel health kit.

Family loading a car getting ready to go on a trip Family loading a car getting ready to go on a trip

Whether you’re taking a day trip to a nearby town or traveling across the country to see the sites, you’ll need essential supplies to keep your children happy and healthy along the way.

One thing every parent should always have close-at-hand is your pediatrician’s phone number. Maybe you already have your child’s doctor saved as a favorite contact in your phone. If you don’t, be sure to write his or her number down before you leave home. Even the most experienced mom or dad sometimes faces an illness or injury that warrants professional advice.

Essentials for your vacation health kit

When it comes to packing for the trip, in addition to the snacks, toys and weather-appropriate clothes, be sure to pack a travel health kit with the following kid-appropriate supplies.

Young boy being spoon fed medicine.


  • Children’s or infants’ acetaminophen or ibuprofen – These fever- and pain-relievers can help a little one with a headache or aches from a cold.
  • Antihistamines (topical or oral) – Topical creams, as recommended by your doctor, can help soothe the itch that comes with bug bites, hives or mild allergic reactions. Children’s doses or oral antihistamines can help if seasonal allergies act up in another state.
  • Children’s upset stomach relievers – Antacid, anti-gas and anti-nausea formulas for kids can bring some relief for little ones suffering from a stomach virus or motion sickness when traveling. It’s also a good idea to bring along an oral hydration solution (with electrolytes) so your child doesn’t get dehydrated from vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Children’s cough and cold medicine – Bring children’s cold and flu medicine along on your vacation to reduce any coughing and sniffles that could make your kid miserable.

First aid kit

First Aid

  • Infant or child thermometers – If your little one has the chills, it might be the seasonal breeze, or it may be a fever. Find out for sure by carrying one of these with you.
  • Adhesive bandages and antiseptic ointment – Most hotels or your friends and relatives probably have these on hand, but if only a favorite superhero or princess bandage will soothe your child’s cuts or scrapes, make sure you pack them. Antiseptic ointments can also stop little cuts from turning into big infections.
  • Cotton balls and swabs – For cleaning up cuts and scrapes, these are a must-have for family travel.
  • Tweezers and a needle – Splinters can spoil any child’s fun, so be ready with these to quickly dislodge any painful invaders.
  • Diaper rash ointment – You’ve packed the diapers, so make sure this comes along in your diaper bag, too.
  • Blister pads – Those new shoes were irresistibly cute, but now your child is complaining that her heels hurt. Come to the rescue with these stick-on cushions.

Mother cleaning nose mucus of adorable baby with a nasal aspirator

Other Things to Bring

  • Tissues – It’s a good idea to bring plenty of these on the road (or in the air, if traveling by plane). From viruses to allergies to cold-weather sniffles, having tissues will come in handy.
  • Nasal aspirator for baby – Sure, it’s not the most pleasant thing you’ll do on your trip, but babies can’t blow their noses.
  • Antibacterial gel – You’ve taught your child to wash his or her hands after going to the bathroom or playing outside and before meals, but that’s not always possible if a sticky situation arises on the road. For waterless hand-washing that kills just as many germs, keep antibacterial gel easily accessible.
  • Sunscreen – If you’re going to be outside, keep your little ones’ skin safe from harmful rays. Sunburns can happen even when it’s cloudy and cold. It might be wise to pack some aloe or sun-soothing cream in case you miss a spot.
  • Teething aids (rings, numbing gel, etc.) – Pack these to soothe your baby’s sore gums.

Since many over-the-counter medications can be fatal to children in large doses, keep curious little ones out of harm’s way by locking your travel health kit in the trunk or by keeping it well out of reach of curious explorers. 

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allergy, common cold, dehydration, fever, hives, hygiene, immunology, medication

Childrens Health