Friday, September 27, 2013

Traveling with a food allergic toddler

A couple of weeks ago we traveled to see my family for an early birthday celebration for Cody. 

The thought of traveling with a toddler can make even the most calm parents want to shudder in terror. So many questions, so much planning, and SO MUCH STUFF! Why so much stuff?

What if our usually very good little boy suddenly decides he's going to be a screaming maniac on the airplane? What if our iphones with the apps that keep him occupied and calm after he's bored with all the other books and toys we bring lose battery power? Why do we have 20 more bags to bring for someone so tiny? Would he sleep during his naptime on the plane as planned? The answer to that question in our case was that Cody had a nice, leisurely five minute nap. Yay. 

Traveling with a food allergic toddler? Well I just had to try not to think too much about it and throw myself into the planning and preparation for transporting a small child across the country and back.

I had a shopping list of foods for my parents to buy and have ready for when we arrived, we ordered and shipped some other items to them and went shopping for remaining items when we got there. Luckily there's a Whole Foods where they live, so we could easily find what we needed. And we packed 
our own cooking pan, utensils and blender to avoid cross contamination. 

We also had to make sure we had enough for Cody to eat during the long trip because we can't just pick something up for him to eat along the way. And our little guy likes to eat.

I have to say I was really happy with the security process and with Southwest Airlines and their policies for peanut allergic travelers. 

I was really worried about getting Cody's food and oat milk through security, but it was surprisingly easy. They just had us open his bottles to test the contents (they don't have to put anything in them to test) and everyone was very nice and helpful. 

We received a special boarding pass from Southwest that allowed us to board early so we could wipe down the area around where Cody was sitting and get his car seat in place which, for me, was his peanut barrier from stray peanuts/crumbs that may have been on or between the seats. We gave the boarding pass, which noted Cody's peanut allergy, to the flight attendants and they didn't serve any peanuts on the flight. One announced that there was a peanut allergy passenger, so no peanuts would be served.

I am surprised that airlines still serve peanuts at all given the increase in people with severe peanut allergies and the confined space, but I was very happy with how Southwest handled the situation.

It was much easier than I thought it would be and we had a great vacation and visit with my family. The preparation was well worth it! Oh yeah, and Cody did not turn into a screaming maniac on the plane. Whew!

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