TUESDAY, Aug. 2 (HealthDay News) -- From long plane rides to cramped road trips, family vacations can spell trouble, but parents can take steps before leaving home to help their families return with fond memories rather than horror stories, a pediatrician says.
"Having three kids, I know how stressful it can be traveling with children, especially young children. Listening to 'are we there yet?' [and] trying to maneuver through security or just trying to cure boredom from being crammed in a car or airplane can challenge anyone's patience," Dr. Hannah Chow, Loyola University Health System pediatrician and assistant professor in the pediatrics department at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, said in a Loyola news release.
No matter how fun or exciting the destination, the process of getting there can be downright boring for kids, but the doctor noted that the cure for boredom is variety. In preparing for a trip, parents can purchase inexpensive games, books and new toys at a local dollar store, she pointed out.
"Bring books, movies, games, toys, and don't forget extra batteries and chargers, or when the power fades you'll have some very upset kids. It's always a good idea to pack extra headsets as well because these are easily broken or lost," said Chow. "My husband always says whoever invented the car DVD players deserves the Nobel Peace Prize."
Given the uncertainties of travel, parents should also not venture far from home with their kids without packing adequate healthy snacks, the expert noted.
For road trips, she suggested packing a cooler with nutritious snacks such as fruit, chopped vegetables, drinks, crackers, sandwiches and fruit snacks.
Families traveling by plane are more limited in what they can bring, but it's critical to have snacks in the event of delays or technical problems. The pediatrician advised that parents pack cereal, granola bars, fruit snacks and roll ups, o
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