What to Do If Your Child Is Injured on Vacation

All year long, the family eagerly awaits vacation time and, invariably, the moment you arrive at your destination, someone gets sick or injured. Isn’t that always the way? Well, don’t panic just yet mom because there are steps you can take to ensure your child gets proper medical care when away from his or her own pediatrician.

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1. Research that’s Based on Your Itinerary

One of the very first things you should do once your itinerary is finalized is to research hospitals, urgent care centers, and clinics in each of the locations you’ll be visiting. Put all the information in your cell phone, including addresses and contact numbers in the event that an emergency should crop up along the way.

2. Pack a Travel Emergency Kit

You can always purchase a travel emergency kit, but if you’d prefer, you can build your own. You can find a checklist on just about any parenting website, but in extreme emergencies, such as for the treatment of a broken arm, you’ll need to refer to that list of medical treatment facilities you researched above. Obviously, there’s no need to go to the ER if your child simply scraped their knee, so that emergency kit will come in handy.

3. Talk to Your Family Doctor About Phone Consultations

Sometimes, family doctors who don’t ordinarily do phone consultations will agree to do so while you are on vacation. Also, your health insurance may offer the “Dial a Nurse” program and local hospitals also have them as well. If you are uncomfortable seeing a provider out of network, then these options may be your best choice. The best rule of thumb here is that if it’s something truly concerning, something you can’t fix with a Band-Aid, call the doctor!

4. Check to See If You Need Travel Health Insurance

There is health insurance and then there is health insurance, and no two companies are ever alike. While the Affordable Care Act made some things uniform, there are other coverages which are optional. Knowing what your policy will cover when out of town is huge, especially if you have children on the trip with you. Let’s face it. Kids are accident prone as they learn to fine tune those motor skills and as little adventurers, there’s bound to be something happen at some point or another. If your policy won’t cover you at your destination, especially in a foreign country, it pays to purchase travel insurance for the dates you’ll be away from home.

5. Stay Calm! Don’t Add to Your Child’s Anxiety

The final bit of advice for those times when your child becomes ill or accidentally injured on vacation is to stay as calm as possible. Remember, your kids are already in a heightened state of anxiety from the sheer joy of traveling. You don’t want to further excite them if you are overly concerned about a tummy ache, a slightly elevated temperature or, God forbid, a nasty fall with a few bloody bruises. Don’t panic.

See to the child’s immediate needs and, if necessary, make that call or leave for an urgent care center you’ve located. Just remember that kids are reactors, so don’t be a bad actor and all will be well. The calmer you are, the calmer they will be. With all that said, it’s time to have a great, stress-free vacation. It’ll be another year before the chance comes up again, so make the most of it. You’ve taken all the precautions, so now enjoy!


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