Avoid the Travelin' Blues

How to keep your baby safe on the road this holiday season


Keeping your little one healthy at home is hard enough, so what about once you hit the road? “It’s not as tough as a lot of people fear,” says Laura Jana, M.D., an Omaha, Neb.-based pediatrician and author of Heading Home with Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality. Healthy babies as young as a few weeks should be fine, but keep these tips in mind for safe travel:

Fend off germs. Frequently wash everyone’s hands, especially after touching airplane armrests or trays. If your baby is due for immunizations, get them before you go.

Buckle up. You know to never take your baby out of her car seat while driving, and it’s a good idea to buy her an airplane seat and keep her strapped in as much as possible, says Jana. “Turbulence is completely unpredictable,” she cautions.

Keep baby’s ears clear. For those babies who experience discomfort during takeoff and landing, sucking on a pacifier, bottle or breast can help, as can gently rubbing the ears.

Remove your baby’s coat for road trips. A bulky jacket creates dangerous slack in car seat straps.

On Guard At Grandma’s Hazards may abound in the homes of family or friends who aren’t used to having little ones around. Be aware of these common dangers:

Old cribs The crib you slept in as a baby probably does not meet today’s safety standards. Make arrangements to have a newer one or a portable version available.

Medications Make sure grandpa’s pills are stowed away and childproof caps are secure.

Pets Never leave your baby unattended around an animal.

Holiday trimmings Christmas trees can tip over. Bulbs can break. Babies can pull on electrical wires or put pine needles in their mouths. The risk list goes on and on, so be extra vigilant.