‘Stay Home. Stay Safe’ This has become the mantra of our times. The Novel Coronavirus has changed the way we look at life by giving us all an extended ‘staycation’. The dawn of ‘new normal’ is a night away and every step we now take, helps us define ourselves as a community. But, while the transaction is in process, what if one has to venture out. What if while the world waits with a baited breath for a vaccine at the safety of their homes, they are compelled to travel outdoors. Or worse, travel internationally? To up the ante, how safe is it to travel with kids amid Coronavirus pandemic?
One needs to ensure a few things before venturing outside the safety of one’s homes. They need to analyze and confirm the urgency of the trip. If in any given circumstances, one can avoid traveling, one must. If not, it is recommended to conform oneself to a safe location. Additionally, if one must travel, there are a few pre, during and post travel tips one must adhere to. They just might be the reason for one to be Coronavirus free.
1.Talk to your children: Unless one is traveling with an infant, there is a very good chance the children are aware of the current pandemic scenario. Explain to them that travel amid restrictions is not going to be similar to past travels. The lack of freedom for exploration is probably going to be the biggest factor that might make travel more difficult.
2.Discuss and pack engaging activities: Kids have an infinite amount of energy and imagination in their arsenal. A parent needs only prepare in advance what games, puzzles or activity books can help keep them engaged at the airport or in flight.
3.Pack snacks, special meals and individually wrap them in foil: The flights may be operating, but airport lounges, snack bars and restaurants are yet closed. The few that are open are ensuring safety norms yet, are available far and wide intervals. Prepare for contingencies as a hungry child is often a cranky one!
4.Address the importance of masks, gloves, face shields and social distancing: One of the most important thing one can do when prepping for preboarding is explain to the children that they will be dressed in accessories like gloves, face masks and shields, and will have to maintain social distancing from all others. The importance of covering body parts makes travel safer.
5.Pack light: A reality that we all must have observed is that one does not need a cache of clothes to last them for a long period of time. A couple of jeans and a few tee shirts can help one last weeks at a time. On the other hand, kids have preferences of nightwear, characters, colors, and even need the emotional support of their stuffed toys when in a new environment. It is must that one travels light yet packs the essentials. If a unicorn stuffy helps a child with sound sleep, it is an essential as compared to a whole load of knick-knacks.
1. Keep your documents handy: This the holy grail of all the rules for traveling safely amid a pandemic. By keeping one’s documents handy, there is a lesser chance of touching non sanitized surfaces. Keep updates on rules and changes in policies. This ensures smaller stalling time.
2. No aisle running or pressing faces against glasses to peer at airplanes: This one is going to be tricky. The excitement of seeing aircrafts at the airport fascinates many children. One needs to ensure that they do not lean on the glass panes and stick their faces against them hoping for a better look. Assuming the face mask or shield is on, it is still a risky exercise.
3. Avoid eating: If one is traveling a short distance, one can try to opt to stay meal free. But, when traveling with kids, such logics do not apply. In such circumstances, the home packed meal comes handy. Yet, before you hand over the supplies, it is recommended that kids remove their gloves, wash their hands with soap and water for at least 30 seconds, and wipe them with fresh wipes. The same can be used to wipe their mouths once the masks come off.
4. Relax when in air: All the best airlines who are currently flying are doing their part in ensuring highest safety standards. HEPA air filters are regularly used when in air. They are as powerful as the ones used in hospitals to freshen up the cabin air. Many often are worried about the confined circulated air in the cabin. Thus, these air freshers ensure there is fresh air available every 2 to 3 minutes.
5. Keep the air vents open: Every seat has an air vent overhead. One can keep it opened so that it acts as a cocoon encasing one in safety. As scientists are still unable to discount if Coronavirus is an airborne disease, every step helps and matters.
Do not rush to deboard: One official rule even before the pandemic came into existence was quite simple, ‘do not rush’. We travelers unstrap our seatbelts and aim to hop, skip and jump ahead of the queue to deboard. But this is the one time in the new normal, we need to be very alert of not violating social distancing. All it takes is one miss step for all the efforts to go down the drain. Wait for a chance, collect carryon baggage and only then step into the aisle to deboard the craft.
1.Baggage claim trolleys need to be wiped by sanitized napkins before use: There is a very good chance the baggage claim area is a land mine of potential infection threats. One needs to be extra careful when maneuvering around it. While airline ensure safety and hygiene, there is a good chance the one person who used a particular trolley before you might not have worn hand gloves with the same dedication as you. There can also be a change, they didn’t wear them at all. Thus, one needs to wipe down the surface before using it for baggage. The handles need to be wiped down with a wet sanitizing napkin. This is the easiest possible way.
2.Wear gloves when claiming baggage: While all airlines are ensuring safety norms, it is prudent we do not let things be hindered to a game of chance. Hence, it is advised to wear gloves when claiming your own baggage. Additionally, once it has been transferred onto the trolley, make sure it does not have any wet spots of spit or snot on it.
3.Bathe upon reaching destination: Once you have safely reached your destination, it is advised to ensure a hygienic wash or bath is the need of the hour. This spruce up not only helps you but also all those who will eventually meet up with. Additionally, wash and scrub your baggage and all its contents if and when possible for optimum hygienic standards.
There you have it folks! These are a few tips and tricks that can help you when traveling with children amid Coronavirus pandemic. They are precautionary measures which help one negate the risk of this deadly disease. Safety begins with oneself. Follow safety norms and ensure the children follow them too. After all, health is wealth.