Q: We are soon going on a family vacation to a very warm climate. What items will we need — beside our swimsuits, that is!
A: Family vacations can be a great experience. A warm weather vacation after a very cold Minnesota winter will be welcome by your kids as much as you. Much of what you need to know and bring would also apply to a family going on vacation “up north” in mid-July. You definitely need to pack the sun screen (SPF 50 or higher for most kids) and insect repellent if you will likely be exposed to mosquitoes or other biting insects. Sunglasses and hats will help many kids and adults alike, with the intensity of southern sunlight. Rugged sandals are often overlooked, but work well for beaches, climbing and walking. Lots of hydration is important even before they start to feel thirsty because they will have a lot of insensible water losses that they are not used to having under five layers of winter clothing. Also, don’t forget long sleeves during the day to shield you from the sun’s rays or at night to keep you warm as the temperature dips.
As always, safety is key to a successful family vacation. Safety in an automobile is as important while traveling as it is here. Water safety may present new challenges if your kids are just at the age of really wanting to be in the pool – or ocean – several hours of the day. NEVER leave a child alone in any water, for any reason. Finally, practicing “overload safety,” not trying to pack too much into each day, will lead to a better family experience for everyone.
This column is intended to provide general information only and not medical advice. Contact your health care provider with questions about your child. Dr. Peter Dehnel is a board-certified pediatrician and medical director with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota. Send questions to [email protected].