Sunday, August 18, 2019
Tips for Flying with Kids with Allergies and Compromised Immune Systems
Plane travel with kids is difficult enough as it is, right? You have to make sure you have snacks, entertainment, and remedies for those uh-oh situations (bathroom accidents, airsickness, ear pain). But if you have a child with nut allergies or a compromised immune system, it becomes an even bigger challenge with even more prep-work and the situations you're preparing for are much more than little uh-ohs.
As you may or may not know, my son has a compromised immune system. And while we have been lucky that this is something he could grow out of (fingers crossed) and something that doesn't affect his daily life too drastically, it is something that makes things like air travel a little more difficult. Because for him, catching someone's cold on a plane could turn into an ear infection within the next day or two in a place far away from his regular physicians. And that equals a lot of explaining and advocating on my part in order to make sure my son receives the correct treatment. No one wants to deal with any of that on vacation. So, needless to say, it's just best to avoid the situation altogether.
I imagine air travel for kids with nut allergies must be incredibly stressful for their parents as well. Especially if the allergy is severe. Luckily, the tips below can also help nut allergy parents make plane rides with their little ones just a bit easier.
1. Ask to Board Early
Most airlines have "family boarding" which allows you to board with young children before other passengers. However, if your children are a little older you often won't qualify for this boarding. I recommend getting to the gate early and asking to pre-board. Explain your situation to the employee and often they will grant you preboarding. Please be aware that typically only the child and one adult will be able to preboard this way. You will not be able to preboard your entire family. But, this will at least allow you to have time to prepare your child's seat and area on the plane without a line of people waiting behind you.
2. Use Seat Sitters
Seat Sitters seem like such a simple idea that I'm not sure why it hasn't been around longer. These approved plane seat covers are easy to slip on when boarding. They're comfortable, washable/reusable, and overall incredibly effective when it comes to keeping those germs or nut oils on the seat away from your little one. I've used both the original version and the new version. I prefer the new version since it comes with an easy to carry and store zippered pouch. The seat cover also comes with antibacterial hand wipes, crayons, an allergy sticker, a tray cover, and an allergy mask. These covers literally make my life so much easier on plane travel days.
3. Lysol or Clorox Wipes Are a Must
I use Lysol or Clorox wipes (whichever ones I can find travel size packets for at the time) to wipe down everywhere the Seat Sitter doesn't cover. This means the arms of the chair, the tray, the wall/window by the seat, the back of the seat in front of my son's seat, and even the seatbelt. I also wipe down the area of the seat next to my child (usually my seat) and if I have time, I basically wipe down the area and seatbelts of the entire row.
4. Hand sanitizer
I know hand sanitizer has been controversial in the past...but it's a lifesaver for us. My son and I both use hand sanitizer before eating anything and after leaving the airport. Antibacterial hand wipes (like those provided in the Seat Sitters kit) are also a good option.
5. Medical Masks
Medical masks can be purchased online (I use Amazon, of course) and I definitely recommend having your child wear one from the time you enter the airport. Seat Sitters do come with an allergy mask that may be enough for those with allergies. However, when it comes to blocking germs, I prefer hospital-grade masks. If your child feels shy about wearing one, wearing one yourself could help your child feel more comfortable. That way, they aren't the only one on the plane wearing a mask.
Hopefully these tips help other parents stressing about plane rides with their kids! These simple tips have prevented my son from catching any germs on plane rides and overall helped us to have a smoother journey while traveling.