Friday, May 16, 2014

Travel Medical Kit

This post is long overdue and much needed, since some of you all are getting prepared to travel to go overseas. Packing a small first aid kit in your suitcase is a smart idea. You just don’t know the names of medicines in other countries and then having to translate the directions to get the correct amount can be a bit of a nightmare, plus add the screaming, newly adopted child, it’s no wonder you can’t think clearly at that moment. Being prepared and bringing some simple medicines with you can avoid some headache while being overseas.

Disclaimer: Now, I am not a physician. I have never trained in the medical field and don’t intend to. My mom is a registered nurse and she has given me the guidance on what to pack and I work at a pediatric office so I also consulted with some doctor friends. And another thing to keep in mind when reading my suggestions, I was preparing to adopt a 7 year old girl, not an infant, not a special needs child with dietary restrictions and such, and my husband and I don’t take a lot of medications (knock on wood!). You may have to pack more than what I suggested and that’s ok- better prepared than losing your mind.

I bought a flat, plastic art box at Walmart and designated it as my travel first aid kit. Or if you don’t want to take the time to put together your own just buy an OUTDOOR first aid kit and add children’s medicines to it. I want to emphasize OUTDOOR first aid kit-not the regular first aid kit you can find in the pharmacy section. I’m talking about the outdoor/camping first aid kit that you can find in the camping section. The outdoor first aid kit is a tad more expensive but it comes with a lot of extras (bite and sting medicines, burn gel) and it also includes the basics (bandaids, ointment, gauze, ect…). So if you are going to buy a prepackage first aid kit, the outdoor/camping first aid kit is your best deal.

           Here is a picture of my art box that I’m turning into a first aid kit:

Now we have to be selective of what we put in the box because we don’t want our suitcase to exceed the amount of pounds and get charged a baggage fee. Try to find the smallest of everything- you don’t need the biggest bottle, just something to get you to the local pharmacy with your translator. And feel free to use what you have in your medicine cabinet. You don’t have to buy all brand new stuff unless it’s expired.  

Here is a list of what we put in our travel medicine kit:
Children’s Liquid Benadryl (small bottle)
Children’s Liquid Motrin (ask your pediatrician for a sample bottle- every ounce counts when packing!)
Children’s Liquid Tylenol (ask your pediatrician for a sample bottle)
Hydrocortisone Cream
Neosporin Cream
Antidiarrheal (pills)
Pepto Bismal (pills)
Laxatives (pills)
Zyrtec (pills)
Benadryl (pills)
Tylenol (pills)
Advil (pills)
Afrin Nose Spray
Small ziplock bag of Q-tips and Cotton Balls
1 travel size bottle of Purell
Small ziplock bag of gauze bandage roll and medical tape
Tweezers, fingernail clippers and nail file
Scissors (non-medical) (I have used this a lot in Poland)
Ear Thermometer with probes
Ziplock bag of latex-free gloves
Small ziplock bag of assorted bandaids (I even included butterfly strips)
3-4 Travel size Kleenex tissues
Extra small ziplock bags
Walmart Bags without holes for vomiting (your newly adopted child might not have much experience riding in a car for long periods of time-I learned this the hard way)
Small bottle of Acetone and some fingernail polish (you especially need this if you are adopting girls-makes for a great time of bonding and yea, it’s technically not medicine)
Copy of Where There Is No Doctor (great book, especially if you are going to a country where you can get prescription medication over the counter) 
or you could bring My Child Is Sick!  (also another great book, especially for first time moms who might be a little nervous)

Whewww! That’s a lot. I have taken all of the medicine out of their boxes to help save room. With all of the liquids, I’ve sealed them in small ziplock bags just in case they bust while in transit. I did not include ice packs. I usually put a couple of ice cubes in one of the extra ziplocks bags. It helps to save room and ounces so I could pack other things. But if you are going to a country where ice may not be available, I would suggest bringing one that you can pop open and it instantly gets cold.

Everything fits with room to spare!

Here are some things that I did not bring but are good ideas:
Sting and Bite kit (found in the camping section)
Aloe Vera Gel
Elamite cream (Rx from a doctor and filled before you travel)
Antibiotics (in pill form and also need an Rx from the doctor)
Cold medicines (for adults and children)
Earache drops (over the counter kind)
Lice treatment (I’m kinda iffy about this one, but if your child is coming from an orphanage, better safe than sorry!)
I’m sure there are more I could add to this list but I am drawing a blank. If you think of something please post it in the comments section.

Before you begin your travels you might want to print off dosaging charts for Children’s Tylenol, Motrin and Benadryl. I taped mine in my trusty black notebook that I carried EVERYWHERE. And also check the CDC website for their guidelines about traveling to Poland or where ever. You just never know what virus might pop up before you get on that airplane.

In addition to my travel first aid kit, I also carried some medicines in my purse. I tried to fit them all in a ziplock bag to keep them together. You could invest in one of those small, plastic pill holders to separate the medicines. I carried adult Tylenol and advil, Immodium (you never know!), Pepto, purell, and some bandaids with me. It was really nice to have those when we were out and about in Poland.

Wow! That was a lot of stuff to figure out. And that was just the adoption travel first aid kit. You have so much more stuff to pack and try to figure out before you leave. Yikes! If you have a question about what I packed for our adoption travel please ask! And if you would be willing to share what you packed for your adoption please click here and leave a comment.
 For more ideas about setting up your first aid kit, click here. This is a great website of ideas of what to put in your homemade first aid kit.

Did I miss anything? Do any of you have anything special you like to put in the (adoption travel) first aid kit? Anything important that I forgot? If you went overseas to adopt a child what did you bring in your first aid kit?


  1. Some things I'm packing in our kit that aren't on your list but may be helpful:

    Cough drops (sandwich bag full for kit and snack bag full for purse...when Josh gets a cold, the coughing is the first thing to come and the last thing to go).
    Scabies Treatment - requires prescription
    Dramamine for motion sickness (keeping in purse)
    Chapstick - taking 2, one in kit, one in purse (long flights, dry air)
    Bengay - if you're not used to walking for miles (cough, husband, cough), we're anticipating soreness
    Sleep Aid - not rx - keep in purse for long flight
    Toenail clippers (in addition to the fingernail clippers you listed)
    Pediatric thermometer (ours can check bath water temp as well, which will help for this first time momma)
    For the sunblock - we chose a sunblock/insect repelant combo such as Bull Frog
    Acid controller pills
    Gas relief pills
    Princess band-aids
    2 travel size packs of wet wipes
    Childrens multivitamin (gummy)
    Childrens omega 3 vitamins (gummy)

    We are also getting 2 inhalers for the trip (Josh has asthma)

    Obviously, I'm trying to prepare for everything, because I have no clue what I'm doing

  2. Thanks! Those are great ideas!