When we are traveling with the kids we typically have all kinds of products with us, from toothpaste to bug spray. Safe storage of our travel products is important, and not just because we don’t want to have all of our toiletries covered in sunblock due to the pressure change when flying, but because we don’t want to have the kids riffling through our luggage and getting into something they shouldn’t.
We’ve partnered with Know Your OTCs to share tips for staying healthy while traveling and also about the importance of self-care, and this month they’ve asked us to share what we do to ensure our family’s travel supplies aren’t accessible to the kids so we can enjoy the safest experience on the road together.
What you'll find...
Safe Storage of Travel Products
We’re not necessarily traveling with a full pharmacy in our bags, but we do bring along some important goods that help us travel better. Have you ever thought about what you’ve got in your bag that could be bad for kids to get into? It might surprise you.
We looked at what we’ve got packed for our upcoming trip to Florida and here are all the things we came up with that could be potentially dangerous for the kids.
Note: our kids are older and aren’t all up in our stuff, but there was a time in the not too recent past that they were wild and curious little dudes that thought everything was free game. Kids, older or younger, will be curious, so we encourage you to consider our tips as you prep for your next family trip.
Another thing to remember, when you look through our list you’ll see that there’s much more than sunblock listed when we’re talking about safe storage or travel products (and all of this applies to the home as well). Keep in mind that more than 60k kids end up in the ER each year due to hazardous consumption of medications… which a lot of people travel with.
Potentially dangerous travel products
As we started to ponder what exactly we travel with and what could pose some sort of danger we gasped aloud. Like, safe storage just became crystal clear in our eyes as something we need to ensure we always practice. Just look at what we travel with on any given trip:
Soaps and shampoo – some smell a lot like delicious foods
Skin care products – face products aren’t meant for little kids and can be painful if used
Shaving tools – chances are you travel with a razor. Big red danger flag
Toothpaste and mouthwash – yes, something designed to go in the mouth, but not to ingest
OTC pain relief – kids may be familiar or think it’s okay to access ibuprofen or children’s suspension
Prescription drugs – we don’t typically have any of these, but when we do we are extra careful
Vitamins – vitamins aren’t treats but they can taste like it. Our kids always ask for an extra (and we say no)
Supplements – whether it’s fish oil or protein powder, neither should be readily accessible to kids
Essential oils – not too many people travel with these, but some do the temptation to open and smell them all is strong with some kids
Bug spray – true, we often purchase this once we’re in a destination, but then we’ve got it with us as we travel
Sunblock – even our favorite sunblock products and lotions aren’t meant for kids to use without supervision
Did you ever think about all of the stuff you pack that can be potentially dangerous? Crazy once you list it out. So what do you do then? How do you keep the kids safe just in case they get curious when you’re not looking?
Safe storage of OTCs and vitamins
First rule when you’re traveling with OTC drugs or prescription medications is to keep them in their designated child-safe storage containers. There’s a reason that you feel like it’s nearly impossible to open pill bottles: it’s to make it even more difficult for little kids to get their hands on what’s inside.
The same thing goes with vitamins, for adults or children. Vitamins and supplements are often packaged in child-safe bottles, so keep them there. And be sure that your kids know what medication is. I don’t mean that they have the book smarts to start pharmacological school, but that they understand the purpose and the dangers of medicines and why they’re potentially dangerous.
Tip: if you need to separate out the medications or vitamins you’ll be needing while traveling, use a child-safe storage case. As much as you may trust your kids, you never know when they’ll surprise you with an unsafe decision.
Reminder: if you are flying with medications, the TSA recommends these be kept in their original bottles for ease of going through security.
Rule of Thumb: always store medications in child-safe containers and pack them where they’re not easily accessible to kids.
Why is this so important? Medications don’t all look like candy and sugar-coated goodies like they did when we were kids, but it’s always possible that kids can get into them. Even children’s vitamins can be dangerous if too many are consumed.
IMPORTANT: whether you’re on the road or at home, have the Poison Control Center’s phone number handy in case of emergency: 800-222-1222
How to pack fluid travel products
I think we’ve all had the random bottle of face lotion or sunblock explode on a flight, am I right? I know we have all too many times, hence the need to perfect the safe storage of our travel products!
Reminder: when flying, the TSA limits the amount of fluids you can bring through security to 3 oz or less per container. This applies to everything from toothpaste to sunscreen, from your Drakkar Noir to your super-special hair conditioner.
So, what does safe storage of travel products look like?
Tightly sealed with little to no air in the container
If it’s a squirt tube, like sunblock or face lotion, tap the bottle to get as much product away from the mouth as possible, then squeeze out as much air as possible.
Put the sealed container inside an airtight baggy.
Tip: we like to package our fluids with no more than two travel products per bag to minimize a risk of mess
These same methods can be applied to fluid medications, such as children’s suspensions or cough medicine. When it comes to the more potent or sticky fluids, we always have them in their own bag and then be sure, at home or while traveling, to store medications OUT OF SIGHT to minimize the potential hazard.
Rule of Thumb: all of these fluids in their sealed, airtight bags should then be packed in an adult’s luggage, NOT IN A CHILD’S LUGGAGE. Just like how you’d want to be in control of access to lotions and medications at home, the same goes when you’re talking about safe storage of travel products.
How to pack razors and self-care tools
Our kids are smart and curious little guys. They also cannot wait to grow up and think that shaving is the coolest thing. Yeah, no. We’re not at that point in life and want to be sure that they know that razors are NOT for children’s use.
Safe storage for razors, nail clippers, tweezers, mending kits (with sewing needles) means putting them all in one clearly different smaller luggage piece. Again, this toiletry bag is packed into an adult’s luggage and not easily accessible to kids.
Tip: when traveling with a razor, we are sure that there isn’t a blade on the razor handle. We keep any blades in a safe storage cartridge that’s kept in our toiletry bag.
Rule of Thumb: pack anything particularly dangerous in a way that it’ll take several steps and minutes for a child to access. A blade within a cartridge within a zippered case within a toiletry bag packed in the middle of clothes in a compartment in a piece of luggage…
So, now that you’ve gotten our insight on how we pack and what to watch for in your own safe storage of travel products, it’s a great idea to actually take a look around, either in your home or your current hotel room, and double check to be sure that you’re storing things properly. If you peek in your bathroom is your cold medicine accessible to a little person? Is the carry-on bag you’re packing something your kids can get into and you know they’ll be safe?
If you want to hear more about safety and how to store medications and such properly, join us and some other parents and representatives of Know Your OTCs for a Facebook Live event where we’ll be discussing and sharing tips for keeping kids safe at home and on the road: via Know Your OTCs Facebook page, Wednesday March 21 @ 1pm EST / 10am PST.
Do you feel pretty confident in packing for your next trip and safe storage of your travel products? I hope so. If you have and questions or any other suggestions, please let us know. We’re all about sharing and doing what’s best for all of our kids, so if you have good info, share it!
And want to pin this for later when it’s time for pack for the next family vacay? Go for it!
Rob Taylor is the founder of 2TravelDads, the original LGBT Family Travel blog. Focusing on ecotourism and education, 2TravelDads inspires LGBT families (and traditional families also) to go beyond their usual getaways and use travel to learn about and be part of a bigger world. “Traveling the globe and giving the kids a broad worldview.”