Traveling With A Type 1 Diabetic Child – Pamela Durant and her type 1 diabetes little son have travelled across four countries. She’s sharing all of her methods for travelling with a type 1 diabetic kid with us. In her profile at the conclusion of this post, you may discover more about her and her efforts to help the diabetic community.
Traveling With A Type 1 Diabetic Child
THE FIRST TRIP WITH A TYPE 1 CHILD WHO HAD JUST BEEN DIAGNOSED
As I write this, my kid and I have been to nearly 20 countries on four continents. At the age of 20 months, he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Travel was always a huge issue for my husband and me before he was born. And once our kid was born, we realised that our passion for travel and learning from our experiences should not be stifled just because we had a child.
“With my kid, I’ve been to nearly 20 countries on four continents.”
When diabetes entered our life, however, that notion was challenged.
He was very little. I still hesitate when I see someone with a kid that young, even after eight years. And, of course, I had a lot of questions when it came to the diagnosis.
How could I be certain that he was secure and that nothing went wrong? What would it be like for him to grow up as a diabetic child? Was he even permitted to partake in “regular” activities such as sports and travel?
2 MONTHS AFTER THE DIAGNOSIS, I WAS HALFWAY AROUND THE WORLD
Our first vacation was a lengthy one: two months after his diagnosis, we flew halfway across the globe. We couldn’t locate a doctor who specialised in Type 1 Diabetes where we resided at the time. I’m delighted to report that the atmosphere has improved dramatically since then, but we had to seek overseas if we wanted to learn more back then.
After some investigation, we returned to the United States, where I was schooled by some of the greatest diabetes doctors at a children’s hospital. This trip pushed me to confront my anxiety of travelling with a kid who has Type 1 Diabetes. Even though our initial trip was to seek medical advice, it didn’t make things any easier.
PLAN A, PLAN B, and PLAN C are all viable options.
Despite having all of the new knowledge we needed and an insulin pump, coming home was still a stressful experience. And, to be honest, during the first few times, every time I began packing our luggage to go anywhere, I was terrified as I attempted to remember “everything.”
I’d attempt to anticipate everything so that I could prepare for Plan A and have numerous backup plans in case Plan A, or the materials under Plan A, were insufficient or went missing. I had a Plan B and even a Plan C prepared with supplies! It took a lot out of me psychologically.
That first journey turned out to be a gift in disguise. It pushed me to confront my phobia. It would have taken me considerably longer to decide to start travelling again if I had waited.
Despite how hard the planning was, travel provided us a lot of pleasure and happiness. The good news is that the more you practise, the more confident you will get and how much easy it will become!
So, I’m on the road. Let’s start with the contents of my bag. What’s in my bag, or should I say, what’s not in my bag?
MOTHER’S DIABETES PACKING LIST FOR A TYPE 1 CHILD
When preparing for a vacation with a little kid, it may seem that there are several items to bring. I was relieved when we got through the toddler stage and no longer had to worry about diapers, baby food, and all the other minor things that come with travelling with a child. In addition to diabetic supplies, the luggage was rather large.
Diabetes may not necessarily need as much equipment outside of the bag we carry around town on a daily basis, but when we travel, we do take extra to be as prepared as possible.
So, what’s inside the suitcase? The following are some of the most important considerations:
EQUIPMENT FOR INSULIN PUMPING
Insertion sites and coverings for insertion sites
Every time, I take more insertion sites than I need. And then there’s the back-up for the back-up. There will be instances when you miss and the cannula does not go all the way in, and you will have to insert another one, or two, for whatever reason. It’s uncommon, but if it does happen, you don’t want to be caught off guard.
Additional connections and reservoirs
It’s excellent that not everyone can use a pump with tubes. Regardless of the kind of pump you use, be sure you take enough supplies for the number of days you plan to travel plus a few extra days.
Additional insertion devices are available.
I have one additional on hand in case the device you use to implant your CGM or pump fails.
SUPPLIES FOR DIABETES
Strips and keytone metre
Either urine strips or glucose metre strips will suffice. It doesn’t matter what you have since it’s all nice. These are invaluable. If a Type 1 becomes ill and you need to travel to the hospital, having these on hand might save you hours.
You can immediately check for keytones, although international facilities may not be able to do so. A lab test might take many hours.
Glucose metres extra
Extra glucose metres should be kept on hand in case one is misplaced. I usually keep one in my carry-on and the other in my checked baggage. I don’t recommend going out and buying new metres. If you have any spare metres from your diagnostic, as we had, this is the finest usage I’ve discovered for them.
In my carry-on, I probably have more lancets than I’ll ever need, with others packed in separate luggages.
Tape for medical purposes
Bring your favourite medical tape to assist secure the sites when swimming or walking in hot, humid regions if you use an insulin pump or glucose sensors. One tip I picked up along the road is that after swimming in salt water.
I find it beneficial to immediately clean the insertion site with fresh water. Otherwise, removing the cover and replacing the pump would be tough. I’m guessing the salt is causing it to stick a little.
syringues in excess
In the case of an insulin pump malfunction or a missing insulin pump, here is what you should do. When insulin pumps were not waterproof, I found this to be really beneficial. The remainder of the narrative is somewhat lengthy.
Obviously. I usually pack one glucogen in my carry-on and a backup in another. When it comes to hand baggage, I always consider the worst-case scenario. I’ll need a backup in another carry-on if it is taken at an airport.
TRAVEL LETTER FOR DIABETES
A note from your doctor detailing all of the items you pack, including food and drink. The majority of airport security personnel have never requested this, but a handful have. Pull that letter out if they become agitated at the sight of all that things in your backpack, and you could just go on your way faster.
Here’s where you can get a diabetic travel letter template. Request that your doctor fill it out for you.
FOODS AND DRINKS FOR DIABETES
We used to utilise juice to treat low blood sugar when my kid was younger. We still do it, but I try to avoid bringing any liquids (besides insulin) if at all possible to make security screening simpler and less bothersome.
When I’m on the aircraft, I usually treat a low with sweets. I’m not talking about chocolate here; I’m talking about pure sugar. If I think we’ll need it, I’ll purchase juice at the entrance after security.
Juices from fruits
I have juice in our checked baggage for use at the hotel and in our carry-on luggage for when we’re out and about. I have two kinds of juice boxes: one with a higher carb count (22g) and one with a lower carb count (14g) (12-14g).
I carry two different ones and alternate between them depending on the low. I don’t bring as much as I used to since you can purchase juice boxes in most areas at a local store, and that adds weight to your baggage that you may not want.
I buy enough for two days so that I don’t have to go to the market in the middle of the night or the morning after we get at our location.
Snacks that don’t spoil
This generally consists of roughly 15 carbohydrates or less of my son’s “go to” snacks. Once we’ve established in, we try to eat fresh fruits and vegetables as often as possible.
We’re prepared with what we know works for us since this isn’t always feasible while we’re on the run. This is particularly useful for fussy eaters like younger children. Bring something you know they’ll like!
The first day’s breakfast
This may be a bar of chocolate or a tiny box of cereal. My kid is usually an early riser when we travel. A diabetic person cannot always wait for breakfast to become available at a new location.
Because of the jet lag and other factors, I’ll provide my kid a little breakfast or snack in his room if necessary. Again, I prefer to carry our own food since hotel small bars are generally full of unhealthy snacks and breakfast options.
Drink or powder for hydration
It’s much better if you have a hydration drink or the powder equivalent. It may be useful in the case of dehydration or vomiting. I have a powdered paediatric hydration drink on hand. You may simply combine it with water if necessary.
After security, I try to get a bottle or two of water at the gate to take on the aircraft. It’s crucial to stay hydrated, particularly if your blood sugar levels start to rise.
KIT FOR FIRST AID
- Anti-nausea and anti-vomiting medication
- This may be beneficial in the case of a stomach bug, poor food, or other nausea.
- Hand sanitizer, alcohol wipes, tissues, and wet wipes
BACKUP PACKING FOR ALL DIABETES SUPPLIES
I have all of my basic necessities in one carry-on bag, as well as some in additional carry-on bags. I’ve got a backup of everything, as well as the insulin we’ll need.
I have a larger carry-on bag with wheels. This one will be stored in the overhead bin. We also have a bag that we keep beneath the seat in front of us to keep our urgent requirements and hypo supplies accessible. If you’re on an aircraft or a train and there’s turbulence, it’s lot simpler to get it worked up before the journey becomes rough.
Never check your insulin and store it in a secure, temperature-controlled location. I may take less insulin if I am in a place where I have travelled or where I know I can readily acquire extra insulin. It will mostly rely on my comfort level with the location and how often we are on the go.
Carry your insulin in a cool-to-the-touch bag.
Take a look at our guide on travelling with insulin. We’re going through the many sorts of insulin travel coolers and how to create your own!
There are no two diabetics alike!
Does it seem to be a lot? Yes, it is. And, since no two people with diabetes are similar, you’re likely to have more to add to this list. But I hope this has given you some ideas on how to get started packing.
While we’ve become used to this pattern, I yearn for the days when I could pack for a week with just a carry-on bag, but I realise that will never happen. And, to be honest, I’m probably not the most efficient packer in the world. Those breezy airport entrances may only occur in films.
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