Childr Health Information

Travel safety (0-18 months)

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Topic: General Child Health

This handout was written to answer some of the questions most often asked about traveling with children from birth to 18 months. Feel free to ask your doctor or nurse to go over any information you do not understand.

Relatives’ homes and motels/hotels may not be prepared for children. Be especially careful about:

Be sure the crib has a snug-fitting mattress so your baby cannot get caught between the mattress and the sides of the bed. Use a firm flat mattress. Avoid waterbeds, beanbag cushions, sheepskins, foam pads, foam-safe pillows, synthetic filled adult pillows and foam pads covered with comforters. Be sure the crib bars are close enough together so your baby cannot get his or her head caught between them (2 3/8 inches – which is the width of a pop can). If the crib is old, be sure it has not been painted with a lead-based paint. Children often chew on the sides of cribs and can get lead poisoning from the paint. Hotels will provide cribs, but they are often old. It is better if parents can bring a portable play pen/crib. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises that bed sharing or cosleeping may be hazardous under certain conditions due to the risk of suffocation. As an alternative to bed sharing, parents might consider placing the infant's crib near their bed to allow for more convenient breastfeeding and parent contact. (

Consider taking your own portable gate to block stairways, especially if your child is not used to stairs. Do not let your child play in or near hotel stairwells. Electrical

Take your own outlet covers. Hotel/motel outlets are often at crib height and easily reached by young children.

Never leave small children unattended around water. Small children can easily fall into swimming pools, ponds, buckets, etc. Motels/hotels generally do not have lifeguards for their swimming pools. Many vacation spots with lakes, rivers, ponds, etc. are also unprotected. Be careful of hot water temperature. Some people set their hot water heater thermostats very high. Water coming from a faucet may be hot enough to burn. Always test water temperature before putting your child in the bathtub.

Fire Safety
Be sure to locate fire exits and plan escape routes in motels/hotels and relatives’ homes. Make sure there are working smoke alarms in motels/hotels. If relatives have smoke alarms make sure they are working. Be sure to watch your toddler closely around campfires and hot coals.

Be careful about leaving your children with people you do not know well. Since this may be hard while you are on vacation, be sure someone you trust knows the sitter  well.
Be sure your sitter knows:
• What to do if there is a fire
• How to get help in any emergency
• How to reach you
• Basic safety rules

Be careful about toys your child plays with at friends’ or relatives’ homes. People who do not usually have small children around may not think about sharp edges or small parts that could be swallowed.

Prevent Sunburn
Protect your baby’s head with a hat or cap. You may also need to cover arms and legs if your baby has not been in the sun much. Shade his face. Avoid using sunscreen on babies less than six months of age. Young babies should be kept out of direct sun or dressed in lightweight clothing that covers all areas of their skin. Eyes should be protected with hats and infant sunglasses that provide UV protection. A broad-spectrum (UVA and UVB) waterproof sunscreen with a SPF of at least 15 should be applied to infants over six months of age 30 minutes before going out in the sun and reapplied every two hours during continued exposure.

Car Travel
Children under the age of 13 years should always ride in the back seat. All children under 40 pounds and less than four years of age must be in a safely secured car seat. It is recommended that children shorter than 4’9” and less than 80 pounds be secured in a booster seat.

Air Travel
When possible, secure your child in his or her car seat on the airplane. This offers more protection than riding in your lap.

Young children do not have the experience or judgment to act safely. Adults keep them safe by:
• Protecting them from danger
• Teaching them safe habits and attitudes
• Setting good examples

The information contained in this handout is for general information only and should not be considered complete. For more information about travel safety, please ask your doctor.


Derechos de autor(c) de The Children's Medical Center, ano 1999. Este material unicamente tiene fines educativos. No puede ser reproducido, distribuido ni modificado sin previa autorizacion de The Children's Medical Center of Dayton, One Children's Plaza, Dayton, Ohio, 45404-1815. Llame al 937-641-3666 para solicitar autorizacion o para obtener un juego maestro para copias. Para obtener mas informacion puede visitar (consulte la seccion de informacion legal).

La informacion contenida en este material es unicamente informacion de tipo general. No debe considerarse como completa. Para obtener mas informacion acerca de los complementos para leche materna, por favor pidala a su doctor.
Corregido: 1992, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2004

The information contained in this handout is for general information only and should not be considered complete. For specific information about bathing your baby, please ask your doctor or nurse practitioner.

Additional information may be located in the Family Resource Center, 2nd floor, near the Outpatient Surgery Center. Hours of the center vary; please contact the Family Resource Center at 937-641-3700.

Copyright(c) The Children's Medical Center of Dayton. This material is for educational purposes only. It cannot be reproduced or distributed without permission from Dayton Children's.
Revised: 1992, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2004


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