To get our latest articles and eBooks every week right to your inbox
Living with a tube can be stressful for your child as well as the whole family –- so sometimes you all need a well-deserved break, even if it is just staying with relatives. As a rule, it is perfectly fine to travel with your tube-fed child, but remember to discuss your travel plans with your doctor if they have complex needs or you’re not sure about anything. Tube- fed kids need a couple of extra things in their suitcase, on top of their bucket and spade for the beach! Preparation and planning are the key to a good trip. Here’s a quick checklist of things to do before you travel or extras you may want to bring along with you:
It sounds obvious, but calculate how much tube food your child will need, and then add a bit extra – accidents happen when you least expect and can afford it. Even a few days away can mean a large quantity of food, so find out if your supplier can deliver direct to your destination, or consider packing up supplies and sending them to avoid additional weight and baggage.
Accumulate supplies in the weeks prior to travelling and make sure you have extra with you. Remember to leave some supplies at home for your return and to last until you can order fresh supplies.
If you are travelling out of country,make sure you have travel insurance that covers medical expenses and even repatriation. A small fee can make all the difference in an emergency. Make copies of policies and keep emergency telephone numbers accessible.
Details of your child’s medical history
Contact the relevant consultant at your hospital or doctor’s surgery and ask for a note explaining your child’s medical history and any complex needs they may have. This will make it easier if you end up seeking medical care locally.
You may also need a doctor’s letter covering any supplies and equipment that you wish to take as hand luggage on a flight. Check with the airline before you travel.
Make copies of all documents and doctor’s letters and consider keeping digital copies in a cloud so that you can access them from anywhere with Internet.
Check with the airline about any regulations of the quantity and packaging of liquids. You may have to split one feed into several smaller bottles or containers. Or you may have to adjust feed times and quantities to suit your travelling times – for example a feed before you go through security so that you have less liquids in your hand luggage.
If you are travelling by car, consider travelling through the night or early morning before your child’s first feed. If your child suffers reflux, it might be easier to have more smaller feeds or plan longer stops throughout your journey.
If you are heading to the beach, it is a good idea to cover the gastrostnomy with a large dressing to prevent sand from getting into it. This could irritate your child’s skin at the stoma site, damage the device, or cause an infection.
A tube travel kit
It’s definitely a good idea to keep some essential items on-hand, for example in your hand luggage. This includes an extra button kit, spare tubes, medical tape and syringes. Depending on airline restrictions, put an extra day’s worth of food in your hand luggage in case your checked-in bag goes missing for any reason.
While exploring your holiday destination, older and more active children will definitely appreciate being more mobile by wearing their kit on their back. Alternatively you could keep it on your stroller or grocery cart.
A tube extension set
Tubes can be restrictive, so consider taping an extension set to your child’s tummy or pinning it to their clothing. This will give your child greater freedom of movement to enjoy their holiday. Any excess tubing can be put inside a backpack.
With a bit of planning, travelling with a tube-fed child can go without a hitch, creating wonderful holiday memories your family can cherish forever. And lastly, don’t forget to relax and have fun!