13 Things Parents Rely on to Keep Kids Safe and Healthy While Traveling

The masks, sanitizer, and other accessories that give parents peace of mind on the go.

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Travel accessories to keeps kids safe
Photo: Amazon, Evolve, Pipette

Pandemic travel with children has been such a huge question mark for so long, and it seems like no two parents have the same answer. Even now that some of us are lucky enough to have fully vaccinated kids, we aren't exactly sure about the safety of flying to a different city or country, or taking an extended road trip though places where cases are surging. According to an informal, very unscientific poll on Parents' Instagram Stories, 60 percent of parents have yet to fly with their kids since early 2020. But now that many of us feel ready, we want to arm ourselves with everything that could possibly help keep ourselves and our children safe from COVID-19, not to mention all the other bugs we're normally exposed to when we travel.

The two most obvious must-haves for safe travel are ones you know well by now: high-quality face masks and vaccinations. If your children are too young for masks and vaccines, get vaccinated and mask up yourself, because experts say COVID transmission is more common within households than during travel, so preventing your own infection definitely helps protect young children.

Beyond those, however, there are a few more items traveling families have learned to keep on-hand. They include ways to sanitize your surroundings, ways to entertain kids so they stay calm (and keep those masks on), and ways for parents to keep it all together. Will these accessories collectively prevent our kids from contracting COVID? That's hard to say, but doctors have given us some peace of mind when it comes to traveling by plane.

"[It is] interesting that planes have not been large sources of transmission because of the ventilation systems," Karen Acker, M.D., a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at New York-Presbyterian Komansky Children's Hospital, previously told Parents.com. The riskiest part of air travel is actually in the airport, so do what you can to avoid lines and crowded eating areas.

COVID-19 also isn't the only threat to our children's health and safety when we travel. Some of the suggestions below will help protect kids from other illnesses and accidents as well.

KF94 or KN95 Masks for Kids

Travel accessories to keeps kids safe
Evolvetogether

While cloth masks were a decent stopgap measure to slow transmission of COVID, a non-woven disposable mask that fits snugly without gaps does a lot more to protect the wearer from nasty viruses. Evolvetogether masks are all labeled with coordinates of an exciting travel destination (like Santorini, Greece), making them seem even more appropriate for your journey. A five-pack also comes with a biodegradable pouch, which comes in handy for storing extras.

To buy: Evolvetogether KN95 Masks (5-pack), $14.95; evolvetogether.com.

KF94, KN95, or N95 Masks for Adults

Travel accessories to keeps kids safe
Armbrust USA

Kids are much more likely to adhere to mask rules if they see the grown-ups around them doing the same. Now that authentic N95 masks are easier to acquire, you may want to invest in the extra protection for your journey. For long journeys the around-the-head straps of an N95 can give your ears a break, too.

To buy: Indiana Face Mask N95 Respirator (Fold-Style) (25-Pack), $39.95; armbrustusa.com.

Mask Straps

Travel accessories to keeps kids safe
Amazon

These straps serve two important purposes: They can tighten masks to prevent leaks, and they give ears a break from those loops. Both of these are important ways to make sure you can wear masks comfortably and effectively during travel. My son uses one with his mask at school all day, and it's so comfortable he sometimes forgets to take it off when we're home. Plus, when you take your mask off to eat, you don't have to worry about losing or dropping it.

To buy: Agelvren Mask Extender Strap (12-pack), $9.99; amazon.com.

Pouches for Masks and More

Travel accessories to keeps kids safe
Amazon

Kids find ways to make their face masks super gross, and they're actually less effective when soiled. Keep a few extra masks in their bag and protect them from further destruction by using one of these sealable silicone pouches. Buy a bundle of four and use them for toiletries, art supplies, and toys, too.

To buy: Stasher Platinum Silicone Food-Grade Reusable Storage Bags (Bundle of 4); $35.99 (originally $54.99); amazon.com.

Hand Sanitizer You Can Reach Anytime

Travel accessories to keeps kids safe
Amazon

TSA rules currently allow you to carry up to 12 ounces of hand sanitizer (more than the typical 3.4 ounces) outside of the usual clear plastic bag with the rest of your liquids. That means every member of your family can have one of these classic Purell bottles attached to their bags, and you won't have to rummage for it every time they touch something new.

To buy: Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer Variety Pack (8-pack); $15.63; amazon.com.

Gentle Hand Sanitizer

Travel accessories to keeps kids safe
Pipette

The alcohol of typical hand sanitizers can be harsh on skin, especially the skin of your littles. Pipette's hand sanitizer uses 65 percent plant-derived ethyl alcohol (more than the 60 percent the CDC says is effective against the coronavirus), but it also has moisturizing squalene and glycerin. Plus, it has no irritating fragrances.

To buy: Pipette Hand Sanitizer, $3 (originally $4.99); pipettebaby.com.

Mind-Soothing Hand Sanitizer

Travel accessories to keeps kids safe
Amazon

Even before the pandemic, I've been using this French-lavender-scented hand sanitizer spray every time I get on a plane. I find the aroma extra soothing to my nerves, even as I'm also calming my fears of airplane germs with its 62 percent alcohol content.

To buy: EO Organic Hand Sanitizer Spray (6-pack), $23.94; amazon.com.

Hand Wipes

Travel accessories to keeps kids safe
Amazon

Hand sanitizer is great for killing germs, and hand-washing is even better for getting rid of germs and cleaning off messes. But when your kid is strapped into a car or plane seat, you're going to want a way of cleaning messes and sanitizing right away. These wipes from Honest are fragrance-free, but they have 65 percent alcohol and a bit of aloe for moisturizing, so they're a step up from the old baby wipes trick.

To buy: Honest Company Keepin' It Clean Unscented Alcohol Wipes (3-pack), $7.99 with coupon (originally $19.99); amazon.com.

Disinfecting Wipes

Travel accessories to keeps kids safe
Amazon

When we asked parents on Instagram for their tips on traveling safely, user @alaae85 wasn't alone in their response: "Wipe everything on that plane. Snacks. iPad. Coloring materials." Even though airlines have assured passengers that they sanitize planes a whole lot more than they used to, we feel a lot more comfortable wiping things down ourselves. Clorox Disinfecting Wipes are on the EPA's list of products recommended for killing the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, and unlike some other wipes, it doesn't require an extra rinse if you're using it on a surface for food. (Not that you usually eat directly off such surfaces, but you know your kids will find a way to put their mouths on everything and anything.)

To buy: Clorox Disinfecting Wipes 75-Wipes (3-pack), $13.47; amazon.com.

UV-Sanitizing Wand

Travel accessories to keeps kids safe
Amazon

Oprah named this UV wand as one of her Favorite Things of 2021, for the convenient way it kills pathogens with just a swipe. It's pricier than a Clorox wipe, but if you have the means, this is one way to clean off electronic gadgets, seats, and any other surfaces you don't want to get wet.

To buy: SurfaceSoap UV Sanitizer Wand, $139.97 with coupon (originally $199.95); amazon.com.

A Water Bottle With a Cover

Travel accessories to keeps kids safe
Amazon

Not enough people talk about the fact that the spouts and straws on many kids' water bottles are just out there, exposed to the air, grimy hands, and everyone's droplets. For traveling, add an extra layer of protection to the thing they're actually supposed to be putting in their mouths. Parents editors love that this Thermos bottle has an easy-to-open lid over its straw, and it's all dishwasher safe, so you can wash it when you get home.

To buy: Thermos Funtainer 12 Oz. Stainless Steel Vacuum-Insulated Kids' Straw Bottle, $15.50 (originally $16.99); amazon.com.

A Portable Activity Tray

Travel accessories to keeps kids safe
Amazon

This tray is Amazon's No. 1 best-seller in the category of "Car Seat Attachable Storage and Organizers." We think it makes an excellent tool for entertaining little ones on the airplane, too. Prop up a tablet, store their crayons, markers, and paper, and let them go to town on the dry erase board. You don't have to worry about dirty tray tables or the likelihood of them dropping all their supplies into those gross cracks between the seats.

To buy: Lusso Gear Kids Travel Tray, $24.99 with coupon (originally $29.99); amazon.com.

A Travel Booster Seat

Travel accessories to keeps kids safe
Amazon

Despite our virus fears, we can't ignore the other risks we take when traveling with kids, namely, those that come with riding in a car. Most car-seat safety experts agree that a travel booster is never going to be as good as a regular booster or car seat. At the same time, it's better to have something that repositions seat belts to a safe position for children than nothing at all. One Parents editor told us she has relied on the Mifold Grab-and-Go booster every time she's traveled solo with her son. It folds up small enough to fit into your purse or backpack, so you have no excuses not to take it with you.

To buy: Mifold Original Grab-and-Go Car Booster Seat, $29.09 (originally $34.99); amazon.com.

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