Family travel: 5 top tips for staying safe & healthy

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Be prepared, not scared when travelling with kids. Here are 5 top tips for staying healthy on the road.

1. I was prepared for grazed knees. I was prepared for bumps and scrapes. But I wasn’t prepared to witness my son slice his foot open on an oyster while we were swimming in the Danube—I had to lie down on a banana chair while friends dealt with him. Once I came round, I washed the wound with Betadine and taped it tightly for a week. His scar is now barely noticeable.

I never travel without Betadine. It heals all sorts of ailments and injuries. I can’t even tell you how many times this powerful antiseptic has come in handy on the road. (Please note: The author has not received any incentives for endorsing this product, but is certainly open to hearing from Betadine. She does endorse stitching a wound if necessary, although not always for her own children.)

2. You always feel more confident with medicines you know and trust. You don’t need to pack a whole pharmacy—keep it simple, a few essentials and any confirmation letters from your doctor (if you’re travelling overseas). If you’re heading off the beaten track, throw in some water purification tablets, anti-diarrhoea tablets and an antihistamine. Always check ahead if you’re travelling overseas, and see what is and isn’t allowed in each country. What may be sold over the counter at home, could have you hauled in at customs somewhere else.

3. Do you know each family member’s blood type? Hopefully you’ll never need to, but still… be prepared, not scared.

4. Visiting somewhere with malaria? Speak to your doctor about malaria tablets. Cover your kids in protective clothing and stay indoors around sunrise and sunset. If you’re really worried, treat a portable mosquito net with repellant and take that with a hook to place over your kids at night.

5. For travel within Australia, I always carry a bandage in the car, just in case we ever meet an angry king brown. Sound extreme? There are on average 3000 snakebites a year in Australia. I’m not even frightened of snakes, but I’ve seen enough of them, especially traipsing through the bush tracks to the beaches of northern NSW. Tightly wrap, immobilise, and get treatment.