What To Do When Your Kid Is Sick Traveling (aka the dreaded scenario)

We all worry about it.  We all obsess about it… we try to prevent it, with good diet, hygiene, hand washing, compulsive OCD protection… and then – it happens.  You’ve planned the trip for months (or longer). You’ve spent oodles of money, oodles of hours… and then, right in the midst of family fun when you’re finally starting to disconnect and relax… your kid throws up (in public). Or has a fever.  Or croup.  Or scary hives that impact their airways.  Or who knows what?  (Yes we’ve had ALL of the previous scenarios happen to us away from home) Well, first of all, please know you are NOT alone.  Also, know that it’s not the end of the world, and you will get through this. Mom to Mom/Dad/Relative/Friend, I feel your pain.  I can’t make it all better instantly, but I can cry with you, send virtual sympathy & empathy hugs, and give a few suggestions for before and during your trip that may help.


Had to share this sweet shot of my littles after her day puking and at Urgent Care at Disney World – big bro was so worried about her. They were of course fighting again by the next day when she was feeling much better, but his compassion was touching 🙂  

(1)  Before you even leave home, or go to your next destination, research  local medical facilities and care in advance. Have a plan of where to go/what to do if need arises.  Ever since my daughter, who is that poor kid who really tends to be mostly healthy but gets every freaky and horrible disease in the book at the WORST possible time since the day she was born, I’ve been researching urgent care centers and medical care at various locations we travel to. This is especially important if we go places off the beaten path (such as our extended Hana, Hawaii stay in early 2016) or to a foreign country (plans to visit France in 2018, I’m already a French health care and language pro! 🙂  )  .  However, even for your annual Disney trip it’s something to take note of and be aware of, so if you do need it (and chances are/hopefully you won’t), you know what to do and can be less anxious about it.

Please note, on cruise ships, this is especially stressful – I literally had panic attacks before our Alaska cruise this year that one of my kids would throw up and we’d be quarantined on our long planned and not cheap Land and Sea tour.  With cruises they have a (very legit) concern about Noro-Virus, so any vomiting may end up with you in your stateroom until symptoms are clear for some time and the ship’s doctor lets you free.

(2)  Bring your insurance cards, and/or copies, and leave copies with relatives who are watching your kids or in areas you think you might need them.  If we even are the ones who travel and leave our kids home, our care-givers have authorized letters of consent from us along with insurance cards for medical care.  We had a freakout just this last trip where I wasn’t carrying my wallet (yay WDW perks, but nay for real life) and Mr. CT had to send a photo of our insurance card and then call with our credit card info for the co-pay at urgent care – good times. 🙂


Notes from our most recent urgent care visit on vacation 🙂 

(3)  Have a transportation plan.  Last year at Walt Disney World, our daughter had croup so bad we couldn’t get it under control with the shower or other natural means and were within minutes of calling an ambulance. When she did go to urgent care, both then AND this year (yes, twice in a row, almost same date a year apart, same exact place, they still had us in the computer system – score for saving lots of time!) we used a free shuttle from Disney Property WITH PROPER CARSEAT (more than I can say for our Uber driver ha!)  to and from urgent care.  They even took us backstage from Epcot First Aid… I’m not exaggerating when I say it was an hour from the time I took her to First Aid at Epcot to the time they dropped us at our hotel room AFTER being  examined etc with a doctor and nurse, pretty amazing!


Centra Care has been really amazing our last two visits in WDW!

On that note  – let me do a total tangent to give a personal shout out and plug for Centra Care by Walt Disney World.  As I said, twice now we’ve used them, not by choice or want, on our trips with our daughter. On both occasions, hey were so kind, professional, qualified and amazing in their care. Last year, it was to check out severe croup that turned out to be in conjunction with a bad ear infection, and this year it was from coughing so hard and violently that the poor 4yo was gagging and projectile vomiting AT the theme park with disgusted mean looks from judgy parents. Hey ,I’m a total vomit-phobe and hate stomach bugs and freak out too, but have a little compassion for the poor kids and parents who do NOT want this happening on their vacation, ok? It’s not like we bring actively puking kids to public theme parks on purpose!!! 🙂  (*It turned out just to be a bad respiratory virus suspected from the flight out, they gave us suggestions for treatment, and she was back at the park by that evening and totally fine by the next day, nobody else in our 8 person party got sick!* Phew)  In any case, they have pediatric doctors on site, super sweet nurses and office staff, the shuttle drivers are extremely prompt and friendly, AND they work with local pharmacies including Walgreens to deliver prescriptions to your Resort Hotel.  No Car? No problem.  Honestly, I was blown away by the quality of service here.  Also, Disney First Aid is AMAZING –  as a Disneyland local I’ve somehow never used theirs, but I can bet it’s every bit as good as the incredible warmth and kind service I received at Epcot. The Baby Care Centers at both Resorts have some basic over the counter meds on hand, and First Aid was able to do a quick temperature check on my daughter to verify she was fighting something before sending us off on the amazing BACK STAGE shuttle pick up directly to the urgent care center.  We had our own cubicle, they helped us clean up, change her from being sick, gave us sanitary accessories if she was sick again, offered to call family for us – really bove and beyond.  They took Disney standards to a whole new level, and I can’t thank them enough for that, because I was pretty frustrated and distraught with my poor kid getting suddenly and freakishly sick two years in a row.  So my hat goes off to you Disney World First Aid and Centra Care Lake Buena Vista – I highly recommend for visitors!

(4)  Bring basic medical care tools along or know how to get it from a local pharmacy – I’m a minimalist when packing now as much as I can be, but I do always bring a thermometer, Benadryl, Ibuprofen, and Tylenol for the kiddos at minimum – along with inhaler, nasal saline spray, vicks, and other quick remedies for common but not fun ailments. I also keep these supplies stocked at my parents’ house and any place we travel regularly, though of course they are usually easy to get at any drug store!  This can help again with anxiety about symptoms, provide relief until you can see a doctor (if necessary), and depending on the country (such as France)  sometimes the pharmacist can help you out a lot without even needing a doctor visit!

No matter where you are,  I wish you the best of luck for healthy travels and a happy doctor-free stay!  Of course, the ideal situation is prevent illness as much as you can, but we all know life happens, especially with little ones!  Just know you will survive, and you may even get a cultural connection out of the deal – I sure appreciate some of the “real life” in Florida and the great people there that I never would have without our urgent care visit!  I also have had this experience in other cities and learned things about the area I never would have known! So hey, always a silver lining, right? 😉

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