Children with diabetes can travel safely and enjoy the fun of travelling abroad with these useful tips:

Preparation before travel

  • Request your child’s medical team to issue documents for carrying medications and equipment, explain your child’s condition, and specify the name and dosage of medications.
  • Carry extra medications and medical supplies with you, as you may need to alter dosages.
  • Carry all medications and medical equipment with you. Do not put them in your check-in luggage, to avoid them being lost.
  • If you fly across different time zones, prepare a detailed itinerary and ask medical personnel how to adjust the time and dosage of medications during the trip.
  • Contact the airline in advance to ask if they can provide a suitable meal on the plane.
  • When travelling with friends or relatives, make sure they know the signs of hypoglycaemia. Teach them how to use a glucagon kit and how to help you handle a diabetes emergency.
  • You should find out in advance the medical services available at your destination, as well as insurance coverage of your travel insurance plan.

Things to note

  • Always carry diabetes identification (ID) that outlines your condition, and easily absorbed sugars and snacks with you to deal with possible hypoglycaemia.
  • Store insulin in a cool, dry place. It can generally last for 4-6 weeks at room temperature.
  • Perform regular blood glucose tests to ensure stable blood glucose levels, especially after exercise or a long journey.
  • If your child is using an insulin pump, inform airport staff in advance before passing through the customs security check-point. Exposing the insulin pump to the X-ray equipment may result in a malfunction of the pump.
  • Protect your feet, and bring along appropriate footwear (avoid wearing new shoes or sandals), and perform proper foot care as usual.
  • Pay attention to climate and altitude changes which can indirectly affect blood glucose control.

Tips taken from YDA’s Childhood Diabetes Handbook, Chapter 6.2, Travel tips for Children with Diabetes. This book is available to all members from YDA centres.

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