A Traveling Medicine Cabinet
You hope you will never need it, but be sure pack it anyway. When getting ready for a trip, no one likes to think of travel emergencies, let alone go shopping with a long list of supplies you may need to cope with airplane sickness, Montezuma’s revenge (traveler’s diarrhea) and the likes. But when planning a trip with children, a travel first-aid kit should always be your companion.
If junior twists an ankle on the road, gets bitten by a nasty insect on the trail or picks up a stomach bug in a restaurant, you’ll want to have PediaPak as your partner. Grab it by its red handle when you head out the door and you will be well prepared for most minor travel emergencies.
Designed by Pediatric Acute Care and Travel Corporation, this well-organized zippered nylon tote has been especially developed for infants and toddlers. It contains over–the-counter pain relievers and fever reducers (Tylenol, Motrin), allergy/cough and cold medication, antibiotic ointments, gastro-intestinal medication and dressing supplies (bandages, gauze pads, sting-relief pads).
Also included is an easy-to-understand handbook explaining step-by-step emergency medical treatments for infants, children and adults. This handy health kit features a digital thermometer, tweezers and a tick remover, scissors and a medicine dropper. You will find almost 30 essential items in this practical pack, which is no larger than a purse.
However, some things that you may want to use in an emergency are missing. Syrup of ipecac or activated charcoal can be used to induce vomiting if advised by the Poison Control Center, and should be added. Saline nasal spray or nose drops can help to reduce earaches in children while the airplane cabin pressure equalizes during take off and landing. And you may wish to pack medications for sunburn, a sore throat, earache and teething pain, as well. These are not all strictly emergencies, but these conditions can certainly spoil a vacation for baby and you.
The 3.5-pound (1.59 kg) PediaPak forms a solid base on which to build your own traveling mini pharmacy. Talk to your pediatrician, add on according to your individual needs, and toss your customized kit into your suitcase or the diaper bag, or leave it, ever ready, in your car. And, of course, make sure that children cannot gain access to the first-aid pack.
PediaPak retails at US$ 65.95. For more information, go to www.pediapak.com.
Car Seat to Go
There can be no doubt. The SafeGuard Go, the first collapsible and lightweight portable child car seat, must have been developed by designers who are also parents.
How else would they have known about the juggling act millions of struggling travelers with young children perform every day in our airports — lugging around cumbersome car seats, suitcases and strollers while trying to keep track of the little one and his teddy bear at the same time.
The SafeGuard Go folds away into a travel bag just about the size of a carry-on. The handy bag with a shoulder strap weighs less than 10 pounds (4.5 kg). Should you decide to roll it through the airport on top of your suitcase tower, this well-balanced and compact carrier stays put. (It must be Murphy’s Law that regular bulky car seats always tumble off the baggage cart.)
The SafeGuard Go is marketed as the world’s first “hybrid” car seat, blending a 5-point harness with a backless booster-seat system. The harness is for passengers from 30 to 60 pounds (13.6-27 kg). The SafeGuard Go grows with children, converting into a backless booster seat for older children weighing 40 to 100 pounds (18- 45 kg).
Many newer vehicles feature the LATCH system, a new system that replaces seatbelts for children’s car-seat installation. In these vehicles, the SafeGuard Go supposedly installs in less than a minute. Well, I didn’t manage to come close to that record. Over time, I proudly cut down the installation phase from 5 minutes to about two and a half, which is pretty good for someone not known to be overly handy.
The SafeGuard Go looks so comfortable I wish I could have squeezed in myself to enjoy it. I liked the cushioned armrest and headrest, even though the latter seemed a bit wobbly. The head pillow is detachable, for cleaning. The cushion could be a bit larger, providing extra padding, but a lightweight car seat requires a lightweight cushion, I suppose.
According to the manufacturer, the portability of the Safeguard Go does not compromise its safety, the device “exceeds all government safety standards” and has undergone the “most thorough” industry testing in the company’s own crash-test facility.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) selects and rates a number of child restraint systems every year. As the Safeguard Go has not yet been chosen to undergo this testing, there is no detailed information available yet. However, another forward-facing 5-point-harness car seat by the same manufacturer earned straight A’s for overall ease of use, as well as for securing the child. (For more information please go to: www.nhtsa.dot.gov/CPS/CSSRating.)
The SafeGuard Go car seat is US $179. For more information, please visit www.safeguardgo.com.
And if you plan to travel even more lightly, you may want to check out an ingenious children’s car seat that converts into a stroller at the push of a button.
The Sit n’ Stroll (from US$ 198), recommended for children from 20-40 pounds (9-18 kg), does not fold away, but has retractable wheels, so you can leave your child’s stroller at home altogether.
Amusement parks aren’t so amusing when it’s time to hit the public restroom. The Potty Poncho (US$ 20) protects little hands from big germs and supports the child while using the toilet. It’s a portable toilet cover that folds into a slim carrying case. The backside of this waterproof and washable protective cover is made from rubberized material to prevent slipping. For more information, please go to www.pottyponcho.com.
If you prefer disposable potty liners for your toddler that even come with little handles and in a fun colorful design, you may want to opt for Zeets potty seats. A box of five individually wrapped and folded seats costs US$ 13.
And if your little one has not made the jump quite yet, Go Anywhere Potty offers a disposable potty (US$ 5) complete with lid and leak-proof disposal bag to save your family from a trip to messy public bathrooms.