A diabetic child is no different, but someone to be embraced and treated with love. They also have life aspirations like every other child and a fun vacation is also the part of it. So, if you’re a parent to a diabetic child and whenever plan for travelling with a diabetic child to treat them with an adventurous excursion then you might need to follow a different approach.
Diabetic parents need a silver lining to make their child not feel alone in a crowd. And this can be done easily by taking some preventive measures. Here we’re presenting a comprehensive guide to plan a vacation for your diabetic child.
From pre-planning to packing, the guide covers it all. Hope you and your child will take the best out of it and wind up a memorable vacation to be remembered for years. Because in the end, it’s the family that matters!
Table of Contents
- Before you Plan the Vacation
- Things to Remember While Packing
- When You’re Traveling by Air
- Tips to Store Insulin on Vacation
- Tips to Keep Blood Sugar Under Control While Traveling With a Diabetic Child
- Adjusting Things with the Time Zone Changes<
- Traveller’s Checklist
- Final Tips
- Tips to Double Your Kid’s Fun on Vacation</a
- It’s the Diabetes Not a Dead End! Encourage Your Child
- Nick Jonas Talks About on and off-Stage Life with Diabetes
Before You Plan the Vacation
A diabetic child is no different, but they require a few special treatments and attention to keep their blood sugar under control. Here are some measures to be taken before planning vacation with your diabetic child.
- Take your child for several routine check-ups several weeks before leaving for vacation.
- Discuss your travel route with a health-care team and try to work on meal plans and medications, considering time zone changes in your mind.
- Make sure to take any required vaccinations to avoid and deal with possible side-effects.
- Be prepared with a list of your child’s medication (with dosage and generic names).
- Ask the doctor for a letter that will allow you to carry prescribed supplies or medicines, especially when you’re planning to travel by air.
Things to Remember While Packing for Travelling With a Diabetic Child
- It is a good idea to divide the medicines while packing, doing this will ensure some supplies for you in the worst-case scenario where you might lose your bag at the airport or somewhere else while travelling.
- Pack some supplies and medications in your carry-on luggage for immediate needs.
- You must take extra medication and supplies to avoid the minute hassle or accidental destruction.
- Don’t forget to consider the supplies which you may need for instant child care such as drinking water, shoes, sunblock, syringes etc.
When You’re Traveling by Air
1. Plan Ahead:
- Know about the permitted and not permitted eatables and supplies on the airline on which your child is going to board for the vacation.
- Keep the prescription and list of things that your child need handy. This will help air attendants to serve you better with the things and requirements of your special kid.
- Leave early for the airport, as airport authority and screening officers might search you thoroughly for the medications and supplies that you’re going to carry on board.
- Nowadays most of the airlines provide special diabetes meals, all you need to ask for some special items to add or remove (only if needed).
- Don’t forget to take your child’s special snacks in case of meal delay in flight, or the meal offered does not have the required amount of carbohydrates as you planned.
- Keep yourself updated with time zone changes to plan and schedule meals and medicines accordingly. You can take help of a diabetes educator to cope with these changes.
- Use travel alarm or talk with air attendants to wake you up from sleep to attend your child with on-time medication and care.
- You and your child must have insulin every time.
- It is advised not to store the insulin with checked luggage, this might change its effectiveness.
- Do not panic with those security scanners at the airport, they won’t normally damage packed blood glucose meter or insulin.
- Check the insulin every time before injecting.
- In case of any unusual behavior or appearance of insulin, contact your doctor for the changes to be done.
It’ll be a good option to keep the pump handy.
Talk with screening officers and tell them about your child’s insulin pump. The metal detector might beep on pump detection, so you can ask them for a physical search.
When You’re Traveling by Car
Being a car driver is tough but driving with your diabetic child might be challenging. But to take care of your co-passenger, you just need to take these few measures mentioned below:
- Do check blood sugar levels before leaving and to ensure that your child is healthy enough for the coming adventure.
- Take a break after every couple of hours to cut the boredom and a get a break for some walk to improve blood circulation.
- Keep feeding them with regular snack and medication as possible.
- Switching the seat must be a good idea to give them a different view of the scenery to enjoy.
When You’re Traveling by Sea
Travelling via sea means having the luxury of the cruise and its buffets. Mouth-watering food will definitely tempt your child and really difficult to avoid them. So, you’ll need to take care of a few things to enjoy your journey.
- Talk with a health-care expert before leaving for the cruise and know how much this buffet food is safe for your child.
- If possible get a sample menu few days before leaving. This will help you in meal planning according to the food they’re going to serve.
- Don’t forget to tell the staff your special child and things you’ll be needing in case of urgency.
- Keep a handwritten or printed list for all the medications.
When You’re Traveling by Foot
A vacation is a great idea to treat your child with fun and adventure away from daily school routines. But to enjoy the vacation keep these things in mind before you start walking to meet the thrill:
- Think of their safety in number, don’t let them go alone for hiking or camping.
- Always carry a Glucagon* Emergency Kit and a first aid kit to provide instant help and medication.
- Try to keep them away from intense or heavy physical activities to avoid sunburns, cuts, blisters, bruises.
- Don’t let them drink contaminated water and keep giving them something to eat for energy.
*Glucagon is given in case of low blood sugar or hypoglycemia
Tips to Store Insulin on Vacation
Too cold or hot temperature will spoil or reduce the effectiveness of insulin. So, it must be stored properly. Its strength remains constant for 30 days at room temperature.
For hot temperatures:
- Store it in a cooled thermos or in an insulated bag.
Extremely hot conditions:
- Use some frozen water bottles and keep them along with insulin in an insulated bag. You can use melted water for drinking purpose.
For cold climate:
- Keep it in an insulated bag close to the body.
Pack some extra syringes that can be used in case of an emergency.
Tips to Keep Blood Sugar Under Control While Traveling With a Diabetic Child
It is really important to check your child’s blood sugar regularly.
- Checking your child’s blood sugar levels is the only way to keep them in the target range.
- Keep the checking meter, along with batteries and strips to avoid any trouble.
- Always keep a record of medications and injections in a note or logbook.
Adjusting Things with the Time Zone Changes
While travelling abroad you’ll need cross several time zones that can shorten or extend you 24-hour day. So, you have to make the adjustments accordingly to keep your blood sugar under control which may be affected by the change in time, sleeping pattern and altered physical activities. Here are some measures that will help you to make the best arrangements for your child:
- Change the time of insulin injections two hours before or after the scheduled time without adjusting the child’s meal plan.
- Try to follow the plan with which you started the trip.
- Talk to a doctor or diabetes educator, if you’re going to cross more than two time zones.
Before you leave the doors closed behind, don’t forget to tick these essentials on your list:
- A medical check-up
- Identification card and necklace or Medic Alert ™ bracelet
- Travel Health Insurance
- List of your child’s medications
- Letter from a health-care expert, diabetes educator or a doctor to carry insulin pens,
- syringes, or needles while flying.
- Extra set of strips and syringes
- Information about routes to the local organizations and facilities
Ask the doctor about:
- Managing your child’s low blood sugar
- Illness management
- Adjustment of meal and medications (considering time zone changes in mind)
- Tips on managing medicines and supplies
- Extra supply of pills or insulin
- Logbook and a meter to monitor blood glucose
- Anti-diarrhea or anti-nausea pills
- Bottled water
- Insect repellent
- Comfortable shoes for walking
- Number of your child’s doctor
Vacations are good and travelling to other countries could also be fun and adventurous. But have you ever thought about the worst? What could happen in some unknown place?
So, there are few things that will help your child find the immediate medical assistance of some life-changing information:
- You can try learning essential phrases in the local or native language, for example, my daughter/ son has diabetes, please call the doctor, and give him/her something sweet to eat.
- Your child should always wear something for identification like bracelet or medal to let the other know that he/she have diabetes.
- If you’re on a longer vacation, keep the contact details of the embassy in hand.
- You should also have the details of International Diabetes Federation.
- Put an emergency number on speed-dial on your phone.
- Also, know about blood glucose measure and conversion unit of the area you’re visiting.
Tips to Double Your Kid’s Fun on Vacation
Make it Fun:
Remember to pack their favorite toys, accessories, and other entertainment stuff along with the medications and supplies. It would keep them busy during long journeys without getting bored. These trips will also encourage your child and explore the world complete enthusiasm.
You can try packing little lunch boxes with their favorite snacks to delight them in between journey. This is a perfect option to carry on long drives and by road journeys. Kids love colors, so don’t make it boring add colors to the dishes and snacks considering carbohydrate count in mind.
Keep things Handy:
Medications and supplies should be available every time you need. So, carry an extra bag or pouch to store the essentials. With this kind of handy stuff your kid won’t feel frustrate and quench their hunger for blood sugar and delicacies.
Nowadays special camps are organized, especially for the kids with diabetes. So, it’s a great idea to send them camping and meet the group of their special friends. It could be a life-changing experience for your child that will give him/her chance to know moral values of life. These camps are also working on inspiring your child and motivate them to tackle their disease with a smile on face.
Let them Explore:
Don’t put too many restrictions on your child to let them explore on their own. It’ll improve their learning abilities and give them time to know the real world. Keep following and give them some space to enjoy the vacation.
It’s the Diabetes Not a Dead End! Encourage Your Child
If you’re thinking that diabetes won’t let your kids grow and may become the reason behind their failures in life, you are definitely going in the wrong direction. Because this disease does not discourage your child’s aspirations and dreams in any way.
It’s just a misconception that we’ve created and even our celebrities are no different. They do also have diabetes issues but it’s their will to live a great life which made them achieve this much success in life.
Popular singer, songwriter, actor and producer Nick Jonas one of the celebrities who faced this illness and made wise decisions to mold his life and destiny to become what he is today and live his life to the fullest. Let’s dig a bit deeper and know how he managed to get this platform with diabetes by his side.
Nick Jonas Talks About on and off-Stage Life with Diabetes
Nick Jonas was also the target of this disease. He was only 13 when he experienced first changes because of Type 1 diabetes.
He was really upset and concerned about the future when he was diagnosed with diabetes. Not only this, he was unaware of the diabetes facts and thinking of how this disease is going to affect his limits and abilities to achieve all the dreams.
Nick told in an interview about how he managed his diabetes and other lifestyle changes. He says ”I used an insulin pump and regularly checked his diabetes to manage things. His family tried their best and followed the doctor’s advice to shuffle schedules and diet accordingly.
He also told that his family has given incredible support from the day was diagnosed in making every crucial and life-changing decision. After many years of struggle and medications, he turned out to be a leading voice spreading diabetes awareness in the whole world.
A message from Nick: Your kid can still do things in life at his/her own will. Nick didn’t let diabetes to slow him down and your kid doesn’t have to stop for it either.
Diabetes, it’s just a disease that had got some hype to frighten parents with a diabetic child. If your child has diabetes and you wish for some fun and adventure for him/her, just go for a vacation and trust me, even those evil Disney characters won’t stop your kid to meet the joy that he/she deserves.
With right arms in your arsenal and proper planning, you can easily wind up a diabetes-friendly vacation for your child. All you need is, talk to their doctor, make a list, double check the supplies and you’re good to go. Be prepared for the worst with your best planning possible, because it is the time that can change everything in just one blow.
Just follow the measures that we’ve provided above and if you’re not satisfied yet, then talk to their diabetes educator, do a research according to your child’s need and tell us about the things which may help us to improve. Our comment section is open for your warm suggestions and ideas, do share the information with your relatives, your kid’s classmates with diabetes to tackle every challenge offered by diabetes in their life.
And remember, this world is always open for your kid to explore all you need is to prepare them for the wonders to come!