If you have a beginning swimmer, or an established swimmer you just want to give an added measure of safety during water play, the Speedo Kids Neoprene swim vest is an easy-packing favorite of ours you should seriously consider investing in. Seriously? Yes. Much to my own surprise, I found myself buying a third before our recent trip to Maui, and although my older kids are independent swimmers (and technically older than the 4-6 years the large size claims to fit), there were times all three vests were in use and all of us were happy to have them.
Though not a substitute for a coastguard-approved life jacket where and when that is required, the Speedo swim vests give kids from toddlerhood to early elementary years extra buoyancy without bulk so they can practice their first doggy paddles and, when older, simply last longer enjoying the hotel pool or boogie board with a confidence. One of my daughters, who chills easily, also liked that hers helped keep her warmer.
Better still, where you might hesitate to pack one or two bulky life preservers in your luggage, these vests pack in at only 2″ thick and are very lightweight. And durable? Ours have spent countless hours in swimming pools and several more in salt water, and without any special care I have to say they still look new.
Speedo’s sizing on these can be a bit confusing, so be aware that what they call size Medium is recommended for most children ages 2 – 4 years or 33 to 45 lbs., and size Large is recommended for most kids ages 4 – 6 years or 45 to 60 lbs. Our Larges are still in use by kids older than that, so your mileage may also vary!
Click here to see color options available and read other customer reviews at Amazon.com. For more Pack This! ideas and recommendations, follow this link, and click here for reviews of the best baby and toddler travel gear.
Previous post: Parc de Jeux, Paris
Half of the battle in being able to enjoy traveling with a baby or toddler is figuring out how to keep them safe in completely new surroundings. In addition to my Checking-In Safety Checklist included in both Travels with Baby guides and the “Staying Safe and Sane with Friends and Family” pre-trip advice in Travels with Baby, I recommend some of my favorite safety and temporary childproofing products here to help. Now, here’s one to add to the list.
What I love about the Travel Tot kit is that it combines some of my favorite products for temporary childproofing in one easy to pack and re-pack case (there are enough other things to remember!). What’s more, it even includes one fabulous forehead thermometer I recenty recommended here in the blog. And as a bonus? Your own “SHHHH… baby” door hanger to help remind those folks across the hall why they don’t want to let the door slam shut.
The Travel Tot childproofing kit includes 33 items total, plus ahesives for 2 separate rounds of application. No tools are required to install any of the products. You can click here to read more about it and get your Travel Tot childproofing kit ordered today.
Want more Pack This! recommendations for smart, sanity-saving products to bring on your travels? Browse the quick list of favorites I’ve compiled at Amazon. Need gear that goes the distance? See my recommendations for baby and toddler travel gear.
Related posts and pages:
- The ultimate hotel babyproofing tip
- Important tips to prevent accidental ingestion of medicines during travel
- Safety and childproofing products for travel
If there’s one thing that makes me crazy about thermometers today, it’s discovering that when you suddenly need yours again the battery is dead. Or worse – you realize you can’t completely trust its accuracy because, after months of not using it, you’re not sure if the battery is getting low. A reusable forehead “strip thermometer” not only works without batteries, it also has these perfectly travel-friendly features:
- It packs flat in this thin travel case, fitting easily into your child’s travel kit or your family’s “travel pharmacy.”
- It can be used while your child is strapped into his car seat or stroller–even without waking him during a snooze.
- It requires no washing or sterilization between uses.
- It can be shared by all family members (well, except for the furry ones).
I also like that this forehead thermometer set by Summer Infant shows the temperature in both Farenheit and Celsius, giving you an easy translation if you do end up needing to discuss matters with a local pharmacist or physician when traveling. A second, stick-on forehead thermometer is included in this set as well (not reusable), which is favored by some parents taking temps on squirrely or sleeping young children.
For more tips and advice on traveling with sick children and finding medical help away from home, see chapters 7 – 9 in Travels with Baby, and for help during travel use the “Health and Medical Help” section in Take-Along Travels with Baby.
Worried about the nasty flu bug going around? Watch my tips for protecting your baby or toddler from flu during travel (click here if not displaying in your email).
Previous post: The upside of jetlag in Kauai
Did you know that 80% of our “immune system” actually functions in our intestines? So clearly it’s wise to lend them all the support we can–especially during travel, when our immune systems may be more challenged than usual (if not our intestines, too!).
I’ve been a fan of probiotics for some time, knowing they can help replace lost or suffering “good bacteria” in the gut, and keep our intestines primed for waging war on illness and assisting in digestion.
The problem is that most probiotic capsules and powders have to be kept in the refrigerator to protect their live and active cultures. For travel, it’s important to find a shelf-stable probiotic that can keep its potency without hauling along an ice chest.
Last year, I discovered these Animal Parade children’s chewable probiotics, which require no refrigeration. Unlike the yogurts my kids enjoy, which typically have around 23 grams of sugar per serving, each Acidophikidz chewable has only 1 gram of sugar. And each delivers a whopping 1 billion cells of probiotic complex. Best of all, my kids like them. If you have any questions about whether or not probiotics are suitable for your child, please talk with your pediatrician.
GIVEAWAY IN PROGRESS! Have you entered to win the CARES flight harness I’ll be giving away this Friday (go to the post here for details)? I am SO feeling the love from your comments, and I really appreciate the pins, tweets and shares to help others find the information you’ve found most valuable on this site. Thank you!
I’m kicking off the first Pack This! feature of 2013 with something we first packed along in 2012 and have used many times since. If you’re like me, the first thing you may wonder upon hearing the words “inflatable safety booster” are, is any booster that’s “inflatable” actually safe for road use?
I was surprised to learn that, not only was the Bubble Bum invented by a nationally certified Child Passenger Safety Technician, but the creators have had it tested and certified for BOTH U.S. and European safety standards–something most child safety seat manufacturers don’t bother with. Even more surprising? The Bubble Bum even passed the European safety testing when DEFLATED.
So, I’d say they’ve got safety covered with this one. But how does it play out during travel?
Traveling with our two Bubble Bums
Yes, it can be rolled up to fit in its own travel sack at about 12″ Long x 6″ Diameter, but for our purposes, it was perfect to leave our two Bubble Bums as flat as possible and instead pack them right inside the carrying case of our youngest child’s Safety 1st Go Hybrid folding car seat (see my review here). We checked them all through to Hawaii in one car seat travel bag.
When we reached our rental car, and rain began to fall, the girls were able to sit inside the car and finish inflating their seats as it poured. Like Therm-a-rests and similar products, the Bubble Bum begins inflating as soon as you open the valve, but giving it the final taught breaths and sealing it off with a twist at the same time can be tricky. Likewise, when deflating the Bubble Bum, I found it necessary to use my knee to keep the rolled seat totally deflated while closing the valve to prevent it from re-inflating. This wasn’t a problem, however.
The one draw back we found was that it was very difficult for our girls to route the safety belts through the red clips each time they got back into the car, partly because one had a car seat on that side of her and partly because it just is a little tricky. We got used to helping them with this, though it has been nice to no longer need to do that with their standard boosters! While there is an optional shoulder belt positioning clip that might be helpful with the younger children using this booster, we did not need it.
Other things to consider…
Thanks to the two Bubble Bums provided for our review, we had no problem fitting our three kids across the back seat of our rental car during our vacation. At only 13 inches wide, and weighing less than 2 lbs., it is also ideal for carpooling with extra children, and even sending along with your child to school on days when someone else might pick up.
I would also like to mention, that with a thin layer of memory foam on top of the “bubble,” it’s also surprisingly comfy (yes, I had to try it myself!). I think the Bubble Bum folks should consider making a grown-up version for long-haul drivers and also the elderly who can use a little extra padding, and may no longer be the height considered safe for airbags (what, you weren’t expecting that in the Travels with Baby blog!?).
Bubble Bum vs. the RideSafer travel vest
While the Bubble Bum is a far more affordable option to the RideSafer travel vest for older / larger children at least 4 years and 40 lbs., I would note that it does not work for the 3-year-olds and smaller 4-year-olds, as the size small RideSafer travel vests do (recommended for 3 years and 33 lbs. and up). Like the RideSafer travel vest, it can be used with shoulder-only safety belts, though the RideSafer 2 (deluxe) also includes a safety tether so it may also be used with a lap-only safety belt when a tether anchor is available. In select states with strict “elevated booster seat” requirements, the Bubble Bum meets this criteria for use in private vehicles. Unlike the RideSafer travel vest, which is not a seat and never expires, the Bubble Bum has a 4-year life.
How about you?
Have you used the Bubble Bum? Are you considering purchasing this or any others for travel? Share your thoughts in comments below!
If you started down the road of parenting when products like “Infant’s Triaminic” cold medicine’s were still available, it probably came as a shock when they were suddenly pulled from the shelves and there were no more cold-related medicines available for children under the age of 4 years.
Nevertheless, children under the age of 4 years, mine included, continue to get colds.
At home as well as during travel, I stay prepared with plenty of Vick’s Baby Rub and another Pack This! recommendation you’ll certainly want to have in your suitcase this winter: The mini waterless vaporizer.
I was also happy to discover this homeopathic Nighttime Cold ‘N Cough syrup that is safe for children 2 years and older, and eases coughing, runny nose, chest congestion, sore throat, sneezing and… sleeplessness (which we know affects Mom and Dad as much as the tot when all the other symptoms are present!).
Tip: If you find yourself on the road with sick kids, don’t forget the “Health and Medical Help” section in Take-Along Travels with Baby with on-the-go tips and advice including the Traveler’s Guide to Ear Infections.
Have you tried this remedy for your child? Do you have another helpful tip for easing colds during travel with a baby or toddler?
Related posts, pages, and features:
Pack This! Mini waterless vaporizer for kids
Tips for protecting your baby from flu during travel
What to do in case of illness during travel with your child
Travels with Baby: Chapter 7: Health “Ensurance”
Take-Along Travels with Baby: Health and Medical Help During Travel
Ever have one of those, “Now why didn’t I think of that?” moments? I actually came pretty close to this once, while juggling a baby who constantly wanted to get down and crawl in the volcanic dirt of our camp site and put every pine cone and rock in sight in her mouth. I stared at a camp chair and, just for a moment, wondered if there might be some way to cut leg holes in it and fashion a make-shift exersaucer like the one she had been enjoying so much at home.
Before spoiling a perfectly good camp chair that will be too tall for your baby anyway, pack this: the portable GoPod baby activity center by KidCo. It weighs only 7 lbs, has four seating height positions, five toy loops, a cup holder, and packs into its own travel bag.
If you’ll be traveling to visit the grandparents or other relatives with your baby this season, it could seriously save your sanity during your stay, and possibly a few Christmas ornaments.
- Age range: approximately 4 months to walking
- Folded Dimensions: 6.5”W x 6.5”L x 29.5”H
- Open Dimensions: 24”W x 24”L x 19.5”H (at its lowest seat level)
Related posts and pages:
Of the Top Ten Expressions You Don’t Want to Hear when Traveling with a Car Seat, “Up the back” ranks pretty high on the list for most parents. While you can’t always anticipate a baby blowout, potty training accident, or the inability to get your child to the lavatory in a timely manner owing to turbulence, you can be armed and ready for surprises with the very simple, very smart PiddlePad.
The PiddlePad by Kiddopatomus is a waterproof seat liner that works with all car seat harness systems, and can be used in your child’s infant car seat and later on in his toddler car seat. Better still, it can absorb up to 1 cup of liquid in case that next Rest Area doesn’t reveal itself in time on your family road trip.
For better odds, consider the PiddlePad two-pack to keep you covered (or rather your car seat) during travel.
Want more car seat travel tips? Check out the road trip and car seat travel tips index, and don’t miss Part 4 of Travels with Baby: Travels by Automobile. Want sanity-saving tips and ideas you can use during your family road trip? Keep that Take-Along Travels with Baby pocket guide handy.
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