How to Feed Kids While Travelling Locally During COVID-19
This past year of being stuck at home due to the pandemic may have you yearning to get out of the house ASAP.
For tips and tricks on hydration, food, and traveling with your baby or toddler during the pandemic, keep reading! Here at Suzanne’s Table, we have provided you with comprehensive guidelines to ensure your trip is safe, enjoyable, and healthy!
This post will discuss:
CDC Recommendations on Domestic Travel During COVID-19
The Centres for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) suggest delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated. Since babies and toddlers are not eligible to get vaccinated, see the travel guidelines below for unvaccinated individuals:
Wear a mask over your mouth and nose
Stay at least 6 feet from anyone who is not travelling with you
Wash your hands often and use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol)
For more info on the CDC's guidelines on travelling locally during COVID-19, click here.
When booking your family vacation there are a few things to consider in a family-friendly lodging:
Look for places that offer cribs/play pens and highchairs at restaurants.
Scope out resorts that have kiddie pools, kids’ clubs and indoor play areas.
Indoor areas are great for keeping children entertained during inclement weather.
Take a look at the layout of the rooms, determine whether there is space for a crib and if the crib can be put somewhere where baby will not be disturbed.
Suites, especially, ones with kitchen, can be ideal when traveling with young children. Access to a stove or even a microwave can make sterilizing feeding equipment easy.
Aside from your typical packing list there are a few other items that can make travelling with your baby and toddler a breeze:
1. Disinfecting wipes (Lysol, Clorox or alcohol wipes) – these can be used wipe down tables and door handles as well as less commonly cleaned areas of your hotel room for example: phone, light switches, handles, tv remote and anything your baby or toddler can reach/touch. Lysol wipes have become a daily necessity these days!
2. Feeding equipment – ensure that you have all the equipment needed for feeding. Bottles, nipples, tongs, bottle liners, microwave sterilizer bags, pump etc. Sterilized equipment should be kept in a new zipped bag or sterilized sealable container. Pre-sterilized disposable bottle liners and nipples are convenient for travelling.
3. Formula – Determine whether you want to bring powdered vs ready feed formulas.
· Powdered single serve formula eliminates the need to measure powder and are quick when on the go.
· Ready feed formula is a better option if safe water is not available at your destination and also makes for easier on-the-road feeding. Simply pour formula into sterilized bottles.
· Bottled water can also be used to prepare formula however it must still be sterilized. Bring water to a rolling boil for two minutes. Do not use carbonated, distilled, vitamin, mineral or flavoured water.
· Sterilized water can be kept in a vacuum sealed flask for 24 hours at room temp or 2-3 days in the fridge.
· Prepared formula should be used immediately or stored in the fridge.
· Discard any formula that has been out of the fridge for longer than 2 hours or was prepared over 24hours ago.
· Refer to the Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) for safe formula preparation guidelines!
4. Food and Snacks- Here are some suggestions:
· UHT pasteurized shelf stable milk drink boxes
· Fruit pouches
· Dry cereal
· Granola Bars
· Cut up fruit and veggies
· Hummus- normally hummus needs to be refrigerated but this product by Halvana is shelf stable and so delicious!
5. Inflatable baby pool can double as a tub – if the hotel room doesn’t have a bathtub or you are concerned with the cleanliness of the tub, an inflatable pool is a great portable option.
6. Plastic dishes or reusable placemat – it is likely that restaurants will only have ceramic plates, which may not be the be best option for little ones. Use bottled water to wash these items if tap water is not safe to drink.
7. Painter’s tape – this can be used to baby proof the hotel room by covering outlets or sharp corners and keeping the toilet seat shut.
8. Plastic baggies – Ziplock bags are great for storing wet or soiled clothes so they can be zipped away if they cannot be cleaned immediately.
9. Diapers and swim diapers – if you can purchase diapers easily at your destination you may not need to pack enough for the entire trip. At the very least have enough for your travel day and throw in a few extra.
10. Inflatable pool float – takes up little space in your trunk and means you can hit the water ASAP.
11. Sun shade cover – get one that can be used on the stroller and travel crib! Great for bug protection too.
12. Sleep stuff – you might want to install a white noise app on an old phone to help drown out noise. Black out blinds and or black garbage bags held up with that trusty painters tape can be great at blocking out light.
Arrival and stay
When you arrive, inspect hotel room.
Use your duct tape and disinfecting wipes to baby proof the space
·Set- up a feeding and changing station so that you are not scrambling for items when the time comes.
When travelling during the summer, it is important to ensure children are protected from the sun. See what the Canadian Pediatric Society has to say about keeping kids safe.
Make use of UVA/UVB shielding swimwear and hats. These items are extremely important, especially for children under the age of 6 months who cannot wear sunscreen.
Remember to apply sunscreen 30 minutes before heading outside and reapply sunscreen often, especially after playing in the water.
Try to stick to the shade or the indoors, especially between the hours of 10-3 when the sun’s rays are the strongest.
With heat can also come dehydration. Check out UnlockFood.ca for tips on staying hydrated.
Infants aged 0-6 months should only get their fluids in the form of breastmilk or formula. Aim for 3 cups per day. Giving water to infants before 6 months of age can lead to electrolyte imbalance. In hot weather infants may need more fluids to prevent dehydration so simply give them more breastmilk or formula as needed.
From 7 to 12 months of age, water can be provided as well as breastmilk or formula. After 9-months, milk can be given to meet hydration needs.
Young children should aim for 3.5 cups of fluids per day or more depending on temperature and activity levels. This can be in the form of water, milk or juice.
To determine whether children are drinking enough fluids look for these three signs: thirst, urine and mood. Feeling thirsty or having a dry mouth, having dark yellow urine that has a strong odour and changes in mood due to tiredness and headaches could all be indicative of dehydration.
Water depletion is more likely to occur in children so it's essential that you keep your little one hydrated during your trip.
Infants and children experience higher water losses through the skin and are more susceptible to temperature changes. Keep your child hydrated by ensuring they are consuming the recommended amount of fluids outlined below ⬇
If dehydration does occur, be sure you can spot the symptoms:
a dry or sticky mouth
few or no tears when crying
eyes that look sunken
in babies, the soft spot (fontanelle) on top of the head looks sunken
peeing less or fewer wet diapers than usual
dry, cool skin
drowsiness or dizziness
See KidsHealth.org for tips on how to prevent dehydration.
In addition to water and milk, fruits and veggies can also help hydrate your little one. See below for some yummy and hydrating foods to take with you on your trip!
Have a blast!
Disclaimer: All the advice shared here is general information. Consult your doctor for personalized health information. Compiled July, 2021 for children 0-2 years old.
Special thanks to Sabrina Mastrangelo and Bavina Sivayogeswaran, nutrition graduates from Ryerson University who conducted the research and helped with content development for this post.
Facts on Fluids - How to Stay Hydrated. (2018, May 1). Retrieved from https://www.unlockfood.ca/en/Articles/Water/Facts-on-Fluids-How-to-Stay-Hydrated.aspx
Families. (2019, May 27). Retrieved from https://www.catsa-acsta.gc.ca/en/families
Recreational Water Illnesses. (2017, January 25). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/swimmers/rwi.html
Solo-Josephson (2017). Dehyration. Kids Health. Retrieved from: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/dehydration.html
Sun safety. (2016, July). Retrieved from https://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/handouts/sun_safety