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Planning to travel this season? Here's how to stay happy and healthy en route. continued...

 

Let kids run when there's a chance. "You can't expect young kids to sit like little soldiers," she says. "Mom can let kids run in a hallway while Dad stands in line. It's thankless enough to stand there as a grown-up; you can't expect your kids to do it."

 

Take along snacks, drinks, and activities. Books to read, puzzle books, game boys, and portable checkers keep kids busy. For younger kids, coloring books, little games, action figures will work. Plan activities you know they will like, says McCoy. "Also plan something new and different, something they don't see every day, or have never seen before. The novelty will help a little bit." Another idea: keep individual toys wrapped, then bring them out at critical intervals.

 

Take light snacks. Carry something like bagels, which are starchy and don't require refrigeration, to offset both hunger and airsickness.

 

Carry prescription medications on board. Remember to put medications in an icepack if they need to be refrigerated. Let your doctor know ahead of time that you will be traveling, in case a second-choice medicine is more convenient to carry.

 

Carry Tylenol or acetaminophen -- something kids can suck or swallow. These are for normal aches and pains, plus ear pain, says McCoy. The swallowing or sucking action will help clear a child's ears.

 

Make sure booster or car seats are available. If you're renting a car, make the appropriate arrangements at your destination. Also, consider having a car seat on board for a safer flight.

 

Check at your destination -- is it child proof? Are there gates at the tops of stairs? Are guns stored out of children's reach? Are ribbons and wrappings picked up, so children won't suffocate or choke on them? Is leftover party food cleaned up, so early-rising children won't get into it?

Originally published Dec. 18, 2001.

Medically updated Nov. 5, 2003.

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