Whether you are travelling by car, plane or train, those with food allergies need careful preparation before taking off on a trip. Advance planning will not only be required for the transportation but also the amount of Neocate your child will need. Careful consideration will help to make your next family holiday a safe and enjoyable one.
Travelling with severe food allergies (anaphylaxis)
For those children at risk of anaphylaxis, extra preparations will be required when travelling. Before booking and paying with any airline, check their policy on travelling with medications. When you book, tell your airline and travel agent about your child’s food allergy1. If you are travelling overseas, make sure you have a travel insurance policy that covers anaphylaxis. Sometimes insurance providers require a doctor’s report or an extra fee may be applied to cover anaphylaxis1.
Before heading off on holidays, make an appointment with your child’s doctor. Most airlines will require a doctor’s letter or documentation to confirm the food allergy and the need to carry medication2. Also, ensure that the medications that you have with you are pharmacy labelled1. It is recommended that those at risk of anaphylaxis carry at least 2 adrenaline auto-injectors with them when travelling interstate, overseas, or even to remote areas within your own state2. Along with their medications, your child should carry their Action Plan for Anaphylaxis with them at all times while travelling. Your doctor will also need to fill in and sign a Travel Plan for Anaphylaxis, which is available from the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy website1. When travelling by air, make sure that the adrenaline auto-injector is within easy reach and not stored in the overhead lockers2.
Rather than eating airline food, the safest option is usually to bring your own food from home for your child. Keep in mind that there are often delays with flights, so bring along more food than you think your child will need. Most airlines do not have food restriction policies so you should be fine to bring your own food aboard1. It is, however, a good idea to get confirmation of this prior to your trip. If the airline is able to provide this in writing, carry this letter with you when you travel.
On the day of the trip, let the staff know about your child’s food allergy at the time of check in1. When you board the plane, also let a senior crew member know about your child’s allergy and where to find the adrenaline auto-injector and Action Plan2. When you board you may also wish to wipe down your child’s seat and tray table1. This will help to prevent a potential allergic reaction due to contact with any residual food allergen that may be present in the seating area.
The location and type of accommodation you choose can also help to make the trip run smoothly. Self-catering style accommodation is often the best choice as it will give you the option to prepare meals that you know are suitable for you child2. When you decide on a destination, make sure that you find out the location and contact details of the nearest hospital and/or medical facilities before you arrive2. If you are travelling overseas, have a way to contact help should an emergency situation arise2. This could mean turning on international roaming on your mobile phone or buying a local sim card when you arrive at the airport.
If you are travelling to a country that speaks a language other than English, consider purchasing a foreign language travel card2. These cards provide details about your child’s particular food allergy in the local language. They can be given to wait staff and food service staff when eating out. There are a number available online2, for example www.selectwisely.com and www.dietarycard.com.
Travelling with a child on Neocate
Travelling with a child on Neocate also requires a little forward planning. If you are prepared, however, your trip should be safe and stress free.
First things first, calculate exactly how much formula you will need for the entire trip. You don’t want to underestimate and run out of formula half way through your time away. If you are travelling within Australia it is a good idea to carry a repeat script with you, so you can purchase extra if you do happen to run out. We recommend packing one can more than you need when travelling, just in case your plans change unexpectedly.
Next you will want to plan the amount of prepared formula to bring with you. Neocate powdered formulas can be prepared ahead of time and kept in a refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Prepared Neocate can be kept at room temperature for up to 4 hours as long as the bottle or container has not been “touched” (i.e. no formula has been consumed). So if you have a long flight or car trip, consider bringing a little cooler or esky for your bottles. The cooler should be maintained at a temperature of less than 4°C, the same as a refrigerator. Also, pack some extra Neocate powder in your formula bag in case of lost luggage or if the formula spills.
If you are travelling overseas there are specific regulations regarding flying with liquids (including infant formula), aerosols and gels on international flights. When flying with infants and toddlers, you are permitted to carry formula, breast milk, purified water and baby food (in liquid, gel or paste form) on board the aircraft3. You can carry a ‘reasonable’ amount of formula, enough to last the duration of the trip plus any delays3. Older children, teens or adults may also travel with Neocate if they carry a letter from their doctor3. If you are carrying ice or gel packs to keep the Neocate cold, then this must also be covered in the doctor’s letter. For domestic flights there are no restrictions on the amount of liquids you can take on board4. Visit the Australian Governments travel security website http://travelsecure.infrastructure.gov.au/ if you need more details.
Why not create a special “allergy card” using the Neocate Village App to ensure you are prepared on your holidays – by doing this you will be assured to have all the information you need about shopping allergy free as well as easy to prepare allergy free recipes.
- 2016. Travel Plan for Anaphylaxis and Checklist for Anaphylaxis. Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy. Viewed 18 July 2016. http://www.allergy.org.au/health-professionals/anaphylaxis-resources/ascia-travel-plan-anaphylaxis