Traveling with a Clubfoot baby

I waited until now to write this blog as we just completed 3 trips in a matter of a 9 weeks. We have flown, driven, bused it and trained it. Here are my best travel tips along with special ones just for the clubfoot babies.

In General:

Pack Light
I always say to myself after every trip, “next time I will pack lighter.” And it never fails, I never do. But if you can reduce yourself to one suitcase not only will you save yourself money, but you will have extra hands.

This summer we stayed in Wells, Maine in a cottage that had laundry. This was a life saver especially with two kids. I did one load a night that included towels, swimsuits and whatever was worn during that day. This allowed us to travel all in one suitcase (yes all 3 of us!)  and when we got home there wasn’t a ton of laundry to be done

Things to remember to pack
         for a Clubfoot Child:
(in addition to the regular)
Lots of extra socks
Slippery band-aids (see Boots & Bar Basics)
Boots and Bar
Blister band-aids (Duoderm)

Oh the beloved nap, you know the thing that we all dread as a mother is missing that precious nap. Missing it can ruin the rest of the day and subsequent days. With my first we were back to the hotel and trying to nap. It was terrible and definitely a debbie-downer as it cut our time actually doing fun things almost in half. Once we got to to the hotel room to it was fight with her because she was too excited and too interested in what we had been previously doing.

With our second and on our most recent trips, he just tagged along. We did what we wanted but ensured at nap time he had the opportunity for a 45-1hr nap. If we were at the beach, we would walk him in the stroller.

If we were in the car we would turn off the radio and have a quiet time.

If we were on the plane he was cradled and rocked until he slept. While the naps are not comparable to the quality of nap he would get in a bed it was a good compromise to ensure he got some rest and we continued to enjoy our valuable vacation time.

Travel Direction
Travel direction really plays into #2. Now that I have traveled extensively with both kids but this only ever recently dawned on me to “plan.” If you have a little one that will need to nap, consider the side or sides of the vehicle (be it a plane or a car) that that little one will be sitting in, the direction of travel and the coinciding with the time of their nap and where the sun will be.  It is fairly hard to predict it all but if you know you are traveling south early in the morning and would like your child to nap seat them on the right side of the vehicle so that the sun isn’t glaring in their face. This also goes for the airplane. There is nothing more annoying than finally getting your little one to sleep on the plane and some inconsiderate (obviously non-parent, who just didn't hear your kid scream their face off for the last 30 minutes) opens up their previously closed window shade and all the sun comes SCREAMING through only to wake your babe.


Boots and Bar (23 hr & Part-time)
While traveling in the car on long road trips (& in part time wear) we had our little guy wear his boots and bar.  We did this for 2 reasons. 1) It is a good extra time to stretch those tendons for “free” meaning he is seated, unable to walk around. 2) We weren’t sure we would get in our average 14-12 a nights and wanted to make up for possible “lost time” in advance.

Extra tip: If you’re leaving early for a car ride, dress them in their clothes the night before. Ensure it is a top and bottoms (2-piece) so when they wake up you can change their diaper and do not have to remove their boots and bar. Put them directly into the car without removing their boots and bar and it won’t be an issue trying to get them back.  

We traveled in casts for a couple hours in the car up to a cabin. Clubfoot corrections casts should go to almost the groin and having a baby seated in a car seat with casts on it not ideal, however I can suggest to you to check the following prior to embarking on a car ride. Ensure when the little on is seated in the car-seat  that is reversed there is room between the casts and the car’s seat.  Ensure that the casts are not pushing up and digging into the thigh/groin area and cutting off the circulation.

Secondly, ensure the car seat is installed and level, again this will reducing unnecessary strain on the joints, thighs and groin area from the weight of the casts.

Finally, if you are traveling with an older child in casts for a long distance ensure that the casts are supported as they can be heavy. The weight will pull on the child’s sockets and possibly cause pain. We have seen people put a cardboard box under their little one’s feet to act as a foot stool while in the car and we think this is an excellent idea.

The Stroller & Car-seat
Use a stroller make it easy for you travel. Most airlines do not charge extra for the transportation of strollers or car-seats. To be safe, always consult your airlines luggage guidelines.

If you’re not checking your stroller with your luggage and prefer to gate check it, remember to ensure you have removed all items and accessories that could fall off in transport. Ensure to collapse your stroller reducing the chances of a broke stroller upon arrival.

If you are checking your car-seat with your luggage ask the counter attendant for a bag, they generally have large clear ones that can be given to you. This will keep your car-seat clean and reduce the chance of missing pieces.

However, if you would like to bring your car seat  on the plane, “Check your car seat; if it's safe for flying, it will have an FAA-approved sticker (this language will also be in the car seat's instruction manual, too, if the sticker has worn off). This means the car seat can be used on airplanes as well as in cars because it has passed the inversion test, meaning the child will stay buckled in the seat even if it is turned upside-down.” - For more information check here

Boots and Bar
23 hour wear:

This is one of the biggest questions, “Will my little one in 23 hour wear be able to wear them on the plane?”

Yes. There are varying reports across Canada and the USA the extent of which the boots and bar are reviewed for security purposes. It likely depends on who is clearing you and your little one through security. Some parents have reported having to take off the boots and bar for the security officers to check them while other’s have reported that the security officers didn't even bat a second eye at them. As with all travel plans plan for the worst and hope for the best. Be prepared you will have to remove the boots and bar.

If your child is in 23 hour wear or even part time and you plan  on having him or her wearing the boots and bar on the plane, buy a seat for the child regardless of age. This will give you more room, you will also be able to carry on the child’s car-seat.
If your child is in part time wear and not wearing the boots and bar on the plane, pack the boots and bar in your carry on luggage.  This will reduce your anxiety if your luggage is lost or if your plane is diverted/delayed in another city and you have to do an unscheduled over nighter. Boots and bar will clear through security screening no problem in a carry on.

If your child is in casts and is a newborn or young child, I suggest using a baby carrier (see Baby Wearing). This will allow your child to be comforted by your smell and closeness as well as give you two free hands. You will not be permitted to keep the child in the carrier during take off and landing but are free to use the carrier during the rest of the flight.

If your child is a newborn it is suggested that during take off and landing that you nurse the child, breast feeding and or bottle feeding are both acceptable on the plane.

Carry On Bag List:

  • baby wipes
  • disinfectant wipes
  • diapers
  • diaper cream
  • 2-3 pairs change of clothes for each child (I always dressed my babies in sleepers for the plane rides. It’s just easier looking for one piece of clothing then 2-3)
  • snacks (something to chew or suck for take off and landing i.e. suckers, gum etc)
  • games and toys that are light appropriate for child’s age
  • doggie poop bags (you can be buys in rolls at the dollar store) for dirty diapers and clothes. they are generally 6 rolls of 50 for $2. WAY cheaper then diaper genie.
  • change pad
  • surprise new toy, colouring book or tv show on the ipad.

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