Taking your children on holiday is hard, but it’s even more challenging when your child has medical needs. Keeping your children entertained on long journeys can be testing, especially if you’re a single parent, but this can be even more of a struggle if you have children with medical conditions.
Kids with medical needs can get distressed while travelling, which can make you feel helpless. To make things even more difficult, most of the parental advice available is targeted at mums, so where do you turn to if you’re a dad? We’ve listed some tips to help you when taking your kid with medical needs on holiday.
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Communicate with the primary caregiver
If you’re a dad holidaying with your child with medical needs, it’s vital that you have a line of communication with the other parent / guardian to make sure everything goes smoothly. Put any animosity, if any, aside for your child’s sake and have a productive conversation. Sort out with the other party about getting access to any documents you might need when travelling with your child and make sure you’re fully aware of every detail of your child’s daily routine. Also, make sure that you’re not taking them away during school term or over any important dates in their life. If your child with medical needs is living in specialist care accommodation, you should liaise with the support workers as well as the management to get a bigger picture of your child’s individual needs.
Discuss with the doctor
It’s important to speak with your child’s doctor – and medical specialist team if necessary – before you take them on any holiday. Inform their doctor of any activities you plan for your child just in case they might impact on their condition. If your child takes regular medication for their condition, make sure they have enough for the duration of the holiday and discuss extra prescriptions with the doctor. You might also need medical evidence from your child’s doctor explaining why you have to carry certain medical supplies for them. This is particularly important if any part of your trip involves a flight.
Get medical travel insurance
You want to prepare for all eventualities, so do think about getting good medical travel insurance. Companies such as Staysure offer medical travel cover that considers pre-existing conditions, which is a good idea if your child has specific medical needs. If you don’t have insurance for pre-existing conditions, you would have to pay for any medical treatment that’s required as a result of the condition and the cost could come as a nasty shock. You want you and your child to relax and enjoy tour time together, so do consider good medical cover even just for your peace of mind.
Pack appropriate supplies
If you’re taking your child with medical needs on holiday, it’s crucial that you pack appropriately for their needs. Keep any emergency kits or anything they use daily to manage their condition in your hand luggage. Also retain any hard copies of prescriptions, as well as any doctor letters explaining your child’s condition. Make several copies of everything – take photos on your phone and make photocopies – just in case anything gest lost. It’s also a good idea to separate the medical supplies between bags, again to prepare for any things going missing. As well as your child’s vital medical supplies, make sure you’ve got plenty of material to keep them entertained on long journeys. This is especially important if your child has any sensory or attention difficulties. Stock up on games – digital and physical – as well as their favourite toys, art and craft supplies, colouring books, activity books, puzzles, streaming devices, and anything else you can think of that will keep them calm and busy.
If you’re a dad taking your child with medical needs on holiday, there are a number of things to consider beforehand. Make sure you are prepared for the daily routine and requirements with your partner. If you follow our advice, you and your child should enjoy a fun trip in safety.