Traveling with children with special needs

Spring break is just around the corner, and we have the pollen to prove it! We’ve asked Marjan Holbrook to share her tips for traveling with children with special needs. As a mother of a child with a mitochondrial disease, she knows that preparation is key to a fun, relaxing and family-friendly vacation!

Prepare your child – Use social stories to talk to your child about where you are going and what you are doing. Show them pictures of the places you will be visiting. Consider downloading a GPS app onto a tablet or phone for them, so they know what to expect and possibly save yourself from having to answer the dreaded question(s): are we there yet? Continue reading “Traveling with children with special needs”

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Enjoy the (not so) lazy days of summer

We hope you are enjoying the lazy days of summer. When we say lazy, though, we hope you don’t forget the importance of safety during the season of pools, beaches, sun, trips, insects, and heat! Just to help you out so you can go back to enjoying the fun, we’ve put together some quick safety tips.

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Sun and heat safety:
If you haven’t noticed yet, it gets quite hot here. Longer days, no school, and lots of outdoor activities just beg for staying outside. However, too much of anything can be dangerous. Sun, heat, unhealthy air are all causes for concern.

  • First and foremost, NEVER LEAVE YOUR CHILD UNATTENDED IN A CAR! The temperature inside a car heats up very quickly. When the outside temp is 70 degrees, after just 30 minutes, the temp inside a car rises to 104 degrees and in an hour, it’s up to 113 degrees. Needless to say, look twice to make sure your loved ones are not left behind.
    • Read about DECAL and Governor Deal’s Look Again campaign here.
    • Tips to prevent heat stroke in children can be found here.
  • WEAR SUNSCREEN – seriously, that’s the most basic of basics on this one! Protect your skin by applying a generous amount of sunscreen at least 30 SPF 15-30 minutes before being out in the sun when your skin is dry. You can never put too much sunscreen on! Rub it in well and don’t forget to re-apply throughout the day because sun rays and water can reduce its effectiveness.
    • For babies under six months, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends dressing infants in lightweight long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and brimmed hats that shade the neck to prevent sunburn. “However, when adequate clothing and shade are not available, parents can apply a minimal amount of sunscreen with at least 15 SPF (sun protection factor) to small areas, such as the infant’s face and the back of the hands. If an infant gets sunburned, apply cool compresses to the affected area.”
    • More information about sunscreen and sunburns can be found here.
  • Plan your day around the sun’s schedule. Try to do all your outdoor activities early in the morning or in the evening after the sun has started to go down.
    • Drink water often
    • Take lots of breaks
    • Wear light colored and lightweight clothes
  • Be aware of the dangers of dehydration. Here are signs and symptoms of dehydration in children.

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Water safety:
Now that we have established it gets really hot here, let’s move down to the pool. It’s a great way to cool off, play, and socialize. To really enjoy the experience, make sure you and your family are safe.

  • Talk to your children about the pool rules. Tell them why they shouldn’t run, dive in shallow water, and why they should listen to the lifeguard.
  • Make sure your children take swim lessons. Whether you teach them to swim or they take private or group lessons, it’s the only way they are going to ensure their safety in the water.
  • Never leave your children in a pool area without you – even if there’s a lifeguard present.
  • If you have a pool at home, install child proof barriers. There should be at least a four-foot tall barrier on all four sides of the pool area, such as a fence with a self- closing gate. In cases where the house is the fourth side, secure doors that lead to the pool area with locks and/or alarms.
  • At the beach, make sure your child doesn’t swim in the ocean alone.
  • Teach your children about rip currents. If you are caught in a rip current, swim parallel to shore until you escape the current, and then swim back to shore.

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Travel safety:

  • Before your next road trip, check your car seat. Did you know that 73% of car seats are not used or installed correctly? Most fire stations can check for you and make any necessary adjustments.
    • Here’s a list of places in Georgia that can check for you. Just call ahead to make an appointment.
  • Don’t forget the car seat even on a plane trip! If you’re planning to travel by air this summer, be sure to bring your child’s car seat onto the plane. Check to make sure the car seat is labeled “certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft.” For babies and toddlers, this is the safest way to travel.