Tips for traveling with a child who has cancer

With spring break upon us and summer vacation not too far behind, you're likely making plans for your next family getaway. Whether it's a day trip to a nearby amusement park or a week at the beach, traveling can be complicated when you have a child with cancer. But if you plan ahead, you can help keep your child safe while making sure they don't miss out on any of the fun.Parents of patients at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and the patient and family education department at St. Jude have compiled the following list of tips for traveling with a child who has cancer:• Carry the names, addresses, and phone numbers of emergency contacts.• Carry your insurance information (medical and pharmacy).• Carry the name, phone number, and e-mail address of your child's doctor.• Identify a children's hospital or other reliable health care facility near your destination. Your child's doctor may be able to offer suggestions.• Bring your child's face mask. Wearing a face mask is not always comfortable for your child, but it is essential for helping keep germs away.• Carry small bottles of alcohol-based hand cleaner so you and your child can clean your hands often.• If your child has a central venous line, be sure to bring all the supplies needed to keep up with the cleaning schedule. • Before traveling, make an organized chart or list of medicines that you will need to give your child and note when you should give them.• Keep medicines in the original, childproof containers.• If traveling by car, do not store medicines in the glove compartment or trunk of your car. These areas can become hot and humid, which can alter how well some medicines work.• Keep all medicines with you in a carry-on bag when traveling by train, plane, or bus. Your child may need a dose during travel. If your luggage gets lost, you could be without the medicine for several days.• It might be helpful to carry a note from your child's doctor that explains what medicines your child takes. With increased security at airports, you might find that security officers are more concerned about what you have in your bags, especially certain medical supplies, such as syringes.• Bring more of your child's medicines and medical supplies than you think you will need, just in case your stay becomes longer than planned.• Carry an empty, wide-mouth plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. You never know when your child will feel sick to his stomach.• A change of clothes will be helpful if your child has been nauseated or has diarrhea.• If you are heading to a warm climate, keep in mind that certain medicines could make your child's skin more sensitive. Know which medicines might make skin more sensitive to sunlight. Apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more.Find more on CURE's childhood cancer page.