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Does the child have a cold? Tips for road trips

Does the child have a cold? Tips for road trips


Unlike adults, children catch colds a lot more often, particularly at the pre-school age. When going on a road trip, especially if it is a long one, we may very well ask ourselves a few questions like: Would it not be better for the child to travel in the front seat so I can keep an eye on him or her? Can the child go in the child safety seat without a problem? Let's answer these questions.

The smaller the child, the bigger the risk of him or her having more colds throughout the year, particularly in winter. We must not get frightened if our young child has six or nine colds a year. His or her defenses are more vulnerable and children tend to touch the same toys as other children. Moreover, viruses spread even more so in nursery schools and elementary schools.

Cough, mucus, sore throat, sneezing, etc., are only some of the main cold symptoms. It is only natural that we want to be at the child's side at all times, particularly if he or she is ill. However, safety must be prioritized over feelings when it comes to traveling by automobile.

Firstly, the most important thing to do is to consult your doctor if you notice these symptoms. The health care professional will determine whether it is a simple cold or not. If you have planned a long road trip, ask the doctor if there is any problem in this respect and what type of precautions you should take.

It is highly recommended that you observe road safety regulations. The child must travel in a child restraint system to suit the child's size and weight (here you can choose the safest child seat) and must, whenever possible, travel in the rear of the vehicle. The Spanish road safety regulation reads as follows: all minors who are 135 cm tall, or less, and who are traveling in a vehicle, in addition to traveling with a child restraint system suited to their height and weight as required by the regulation, must be seated in the rear seats of vehicles.

Make sure your child has rested sufficiently before starting out on the trip. Sleep helps recovery. Make sure the child takes sufficient liquids during the trip. This will help to clear mucus and loosen any phlegm. A humid atmosphere is recommended. However, this is quite difficult to achieve in automobiles. So you are advised to set a pleasant temperature in the vehicle, neither too warm or too cold. Remember that you must not put an overcoat on the child when using a child restraint system as this will reduce its effectiveness as a result of the child not being properly fastened in.

Of course you must avoid the air being aimed directly at the child, particularly when the child has a cold. It is important to bear in mind at this point whether or not the vehicle's air filters are clean. A lot of dirt accumulates there that can prove harmful.

Frequently check that the child does not have a temperature. If the child does, long trips are not advised. In this case, it is recommended that you take the child to a doctor who can prescribe what is most advisable for the child's age and symptoms.

If the child has a stuffy nose or cough, it is advisable that he or she be upright (obviously in safety carrycots the baby must travel lying down, whereas in other CRS children can travel seated). Place the child properly in the child safety seat. Ideally, the child will be accompanied by an adult in the rear seat of the automobile. Someone who can control whether or not the child needs to blow his or her nose, if the child needs water, etc. Accordingly, the child will be better attended. 

If the child has to travel unattended by another person in the automobile, you must never try to attend to him or her while driving. The best thing to do is to make stops along the way according to the needs of the minor.

Plan the trip, the route and the rest spots. This helps to avoid unexpected events. It is recommended to stop at least once every two hours. Accordingly, the child can get out of the automobile, get some air, play, etc.

Do not forget to bring the medication with you, as well as its instructions. Bring everything you need in the automobile: diapers, water, food, cellphone, baby seat, etc.

You can bring music to make the journey more entertaining and to distract the child. Remember that if you bring very heavy toys, these may get hurtled about in the event of sudden braking. In this case, the weight of the object multiplies.

As stated above, children catch several colds in the course of a year. If you take precautions, you will be able to cope with the situation more calmly.


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