Accidents are no fun but they’re even worse when they happen on a weekend or during a vacation. In my little family alone, we’ve made urgent care visits aboard cruise ships, on tropical vacations, at Disney World and here at home in New York City for ear infections, stomach bugs and broken bones so I speak from experience when I say urgent care centers have become a true necessity for parents.
I recently met with Neal Shipley, Regional Medical Director, Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care to talk about holiday safety tips and how to know when to head over to an urgent care center and today I’m sharing some of these tips. With 30+ urgent care locations in the metropolitan NYC area, Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care facilities are a great resource for families visiting family or friends in the NYC area this holiday season.
VACATION TIPS FOR STAYING SAFE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON
BEFORE LEAVING FOR HOLIDAY TRAVELS
– Check the weather at your travel destination and pack accordingly
– Schedule activities in advance if possible to avoid unnecessary stress
– Locate specialty gear like snowsuits for sledding and helmets for ice skating
– Look up the nearest pediatric ER and Urgent Care facilities
HOLIDAY TRAVEL PACKING TIPS
No matter how you’ll be traveling this holiday season be sure to bring along the following items:
– Ziploc bags for motion sickness
– Prescription medicines and epipens
– Thermometer and childrens ibuprofen
– Basic first aid kit and ice packs
– Pediatrician contact information
– Safety ID bracelets listing allergies
– Special blankets or stuffed animals
– Entertainment for kids and adults (books, games, etc.)
– Snacks and drinks
– Car seats if you’re renting a car
– Travel documents
– Cell phone chargers
HOLIDAY TRAVEL ROAD TRIPS
If you are driving this vacation season be sure to follow these guidelines – never drink and drive, wear seat belts at all times and be aware of your surroundings, including changes in weather or traffic patterns. Children under age 12 should always sit in the back seat in and and size appropriate safety restraints.
– For long car trips make sure you pack these emergency items:
– First-aid supplies
– Blankets, gloves hats
– Flashlight with spare batteries
– Flares, road-side reflective device
– A shovel and ice-scrapper
– Sand, salt or cat litter for traction
– Tire changing equipment
HOLIDAY TRAVEL BY PLANE
If you’re flying this holiday season be sure to book seats well in advance so you can sit together. Airports are especially crowded around the holidays so leave plenty of time to get to the airport and go through security. Be sure to wear easy to remove shoes (unless you have PRECheck) and be sure to put all medicine and jewelry in your carry-on-baggage. If you’re traveling with young kids, bring a change of clothes and some lightweight blankets.
SAFETY AT YOUR DESTINATION
If you’re traveling with young kids, be sure to ask the hotel staff to baby-proof your room before you arrive. If you’ll be staying with family or at an air bb, make sure tree is in a safe place (away from fireplace, etc), cover all electrical outlets, and make sure all cleaning supplies and medicines are out of reach. Seek immediate medical attention for burns or ingestion of poisons.
Decorations are gorgeous but be sure to keep kids away from sharp decorations, ornaments and candles when traveling. If you plan to decorate your hotel room or Airbnb, make sure you use a proper ladder or step stool and only use “fire resistant” materials. Lastly, keep kids (and pets) away from holiday plants like Mistletoe and Holly which can cause harm when ingested. Seek immediate medical attention for sprains or fractures, head injuries and uncontrollable bleeding.
HOLIDAY TOY HAZARDS
Toys play a big role in the holiday season but they resulted in 185,000 emergency room visits last year so be sure to match your gift to children’s ages and abilities. Avoid anything with small parts for babies and toddlers and be sure to give helmets if you’re buying a child a bike or scooter. Seek immediate medical attention for bad bike or scooter accidents and accidental toy ingestion.
STAYING SAFE ON VACATION
Visiting the Metro NYC area means a lot of walking so be sure to bring comfortable shoes for kids and adults. A stroller is a must if you’re visiting with children under 5 and be sure to carry hand sanitizer as subways and doors are full of germs.
Everyone in New York City wears gloves, scarfs and hats in winter and you should too. Be careful walking around as it is easy to trip while you admire the sights and there are a lot of uneven sidewalks and cobblestoned areas. Hold onto handrails going up and down subway steps and always sit or hold on to the subway poles when riding the subway. In addition, NYC can streets get very slippery when it snows so be sure your shoes have some traction.
New York City has some amazing ice rinks so be sure to bring extra gloves, warm clothes and helmets if you’ll be skating.
Playing outside in the snow and sledding are a favorite winter activity in the metro NYC area but be sure to check children’s shoes, socks and gloves to be sure they are dry to avoid frostbite and hypothermia. Always carry extra socks and gloves and come inside if kids complain of any freezing-burning or tingling sensations.
If you or your child has a food allergy, always carry an epipen and make sure to verify multiple times that restaurant orders are safe to eat.
TIPS TO REDUCE HOLIDAY STRESS
Traveling during the holidays can cause a lot of stress for kids and adults. To manage, try not to over commit to too many activities, make sure everyone gets enough sleep, build in some time for exercise and relaxation and get help if you feel you need it.
It may seem like a lot of prep work but if emergency strikes, you’ll be happy to be prepared. Happy holidays!
Thank you to Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own.If you don’t want to miss a post, subscribe to Globetrotting Mommy for daily updates!