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Keeping Kids Healthy on Long Flights

It’s a well-known fact that traveling by plane can be exhausting, but also unhealthy… Take precautions! Don’t let your family be caught in the germ-fest that is the inside of the plane without being prepared!
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Taking the kids on a long flight? These health tips will help. (Flickr: aehdeschaine)

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It’s a well-known fact that traveling by plane can be exhausting, but also unhealthy… Take precautions! Don’t let your family be caught in the germ-fest that is the inside of the plane without being prepared!

Especially when flying long haul, here are our top five tips to keep you and your kids healthy.


It’s the oldest trick in the book. Keeping hydrated with water is absolutely key for a safe flight on your family vacation. Junior travelers should take in fluids regularly to keep hydrated, but it’s also worth packing something nice they like to drink - like a juice or chocolate milk - to guarantee they will swallow some down on departure and arrival, as the plane ascends and descends, thereby bypassing any painful ear pressure build up. Bigger kids can also be treated to a sweet or gum as the chewing and swallowing motion will have the same effect, though drinking water is definitely healthiest.


Ok, so perhaps not constantly! That might get tedious for your fellow travelers, but remember it’s helpful to keep the blood flowing to the limbs, so take a little walk every now and then to stretch those legs! It’s also a nice way to socialize if you’re feeling in the mood.


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It might seem tricky, but especially on long haul flights having a nap is the perfect way to prepare your kids to adapting to the local time and for a smooth transition without struggling with jet lag too much. It’s also simply easier to have well-rested kids with you, rather than tired grumpy travelers on arrival to your destination. And it will give you a much needed rest too.

Bring a mask

If you happen to be sitting next to someone coughing and spluttering, it might be useful to have a surgical mask on so as to avoid the germs. It might seem a little excessive, but your vacation (and health) is at stake! Sick kids means no down time! And, on the upside, they are very light and take hardly any space at all.

Wash your hands

There’s no point in panicking, but planes are covered in germs so keep those hands clean. It’s basic hygiene! Visiting the toilet? Imagine what a germ fest is going on there? Wash your hands and use anti-bacterial gel or kid-friendly wipes at any given opportunity in order to keep any lurking bacteria at bay. As we all know, kids will touch everything and anything – from the door handles to the toilet lid, and you don’t know who’s been there before. If in doubt, give everything a good clean – even the armrest! Fellow passengers might give you a funny look, but better be safe than sorry.

Rowena Carr-Allinson contributed this to MiniTime. Since the arrival of her son in 2011, she has taken him everywhere from Bangkok to NYC, writing family friendly articles en route.

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