Friday, May 18, 2012

Vacation Safely: Expert Advice from Calm Baby RN!

Alisa Underwood
This week, Travel-Tot is thrilled to feature a guest blog by Alisa Underwood, RN, BSN, IBCLC! Alisa is the mother of 4 beautiful young children and is the owner and founder of Calm Baby RN, LLC, northern NJ's New Jersey’s Premier New Baby Support Company.  Alisa brings to her clientele  a vast array of expertise gained from working as a Neonatal ICU (NICU RN), OB/GYN Nurse Specialist, clinical educator, and consultant with various companies developing breastfeeding and newborn products.  We are very excited to present Alisa's expert advice on vacationing safely!


The memories you make on vacation with your family will last a lifetime, taking a few simple steps to keep everyone safe will help ensure those memories are of happy times and not of accidents and injury or worse.

Car Seats

If going on a car trip, take an extra few minutes to have your car seats checked out by your local police department to ensure they are properly installed. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that “3 out of 4 car seats are not used correctly” ~ a scary thought! Most towns offer a free service from NHTSA trained police officers for car seat inspection, installation and teaching.

Check out this link to NHTSA’s website to find an inspection station near you.  Familiarize yourself with the following NHTSA car seat recommendations:

    Birth - 12 months
  • Your child under age 1 should always ride in a rear-facing car seat.
  • There are different types of rear-facing car seats: Infant-only seats can only be used rear-facing. Convertible and 3-in-1 car seats typically have higher height and weight limits for the rear-facing position, allowing you to keep your child rear-facing for a longer period of time.
    1 - 3 years
  • Keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. It’s the best way to keep him or her safe. Your child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, your child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness.
    4 - 7 years
  • Keep your child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the forward-facing car seat with a harness, it’s time to travel in a booster seat, but still in the back seat.
    8 - 12 years
  • Keep your child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. For a seat belt to fit properly the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snug across the shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face. Remember: your child should still ride in the back seat because it’s safer there.
Safety Tips

1. Feverishly Preparing - The unexpected fever, cold, ear ache can turn a fun trip upside-down. Not all over-the-counter medicines have dosages for babies and small children. Using a 3x5 card jot down common meds, ie: Children's Advil, Benadryl, Tylenol. Make sure to note which preparation it is such as “Infant Drops” Children’s Liquid”. Common medicines and their dosages can be easily found online, when in doubt verify the dose with your pediatrician. A good place to check online is Ask Dr. Sears. On the same card write down your pediatrician’s phone number to make a quick call if needed. Pack the card in your carry-on bag.

2. Sun Fun - Time FLIES when you’re having fun. Often time kids are adequately lathered in sunscreen at the beginning of the day yet as the fun begins and time starts to fly the Re-application gets forgotten.
  • A minimum of SPF 30 and waterproof if swimming
  • Sunscreen is for all children 6 months and older REGARDLESS of skin tone. Even darker skin can still burn
  • Initial application should be 15-30 minutes before setting out
  • Set a reminder on your phone and reapply as often as every 2 hours
  • Take shade breaks. Take advantage of lunch and snack breaks to also get a break from the sun. Use umbrellas, go indoors, find a tree and give your skin a sun break while you recharge with some food.
  • The sun is the most powerful between 10am-4pm
  • Don’t be fooled by cloudy or overcast days, clouds do not filter UV rays and burns happen quickly when you least expect it
3. Heat Exhaustion and Dehydration -  Heat stroke and heat exhaustion occurs when an individual gets extremely hot quickly. Babies and young children are particularly at risk for this dangerous condition. If outside temps are severe it is always best to keep small children indoors.  Follow these important guidelines in hot weather:
  • DO NOT OVER DRESS BABIES - if outside on a hot day or going for a long car ride be sure to dress your baby in cool layers.
  • PREVENT DEHYDRATION - offer fluids more frequently. Water, ice pops and Gatorade are good choices to replace fluid lost in the heat.
  • Initial signs of heat exhaustion are extreme thirst, fatigue, and believe it or not COOL moist skin. Move child immediately to a cool air conditioned area, give a cool bath, encourage lots of cool fluids. If any of the following occur CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY:
    • A temperature of 103 degrees Fahrenheit (39.4 degrees Celsius) or higher — but no sweating
    • Hot, red, dry skin
    • Rapid pulse
    • Restlessness
    • Confusion
    • Dizziness
    • Headache (which may make him irritable)
    • Vomiting
    • Rapid, shallow breathing
    • Lethargy (Your baby might not respond as strongly as usual when you call his name or tickle his skin, for example.)
    • Unconsciousness
image courtesy of Calm Baby RN

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