Posted on: 3 January 2018Share
Sending a child on their first school trip abroad can be a stressful experience for any parent, but when your child is on prescription medication, it can be even more worrying. Thankfully, if you prepare adequately in advance, there's no need to be concerned. Here are 3 medication tips to put your mind at ease when your child heads abroad without you.
Check the Rules
One of the first and most important things you need to do is check the rules and laws regarding medication on your child's trip.
Some countries have restrictions on what medications travellers are allowed to bring into the country. These restrictions commonly apply to psychoactive medications, so be extra vigilant if your child has a neurodevelopmental or mental health condition like ADHD or anxiety. If your child's medication is banned in the country they're travelling to, you'll need to talk to their primary care doctor about whether there are any possible alternatives.
You also need to find out which documents the destination country and the airline need to see to approve the medications. Often, these documents include a prescription and a doctor's note. If you're unsure where to find this information, the destination country's Australian embassy is a good place to start.
Alongside the rules set by governments, don't forget about the rules set by your child's school. Find out in advance which forms you need to fill in, and ask whether you need to prepare a medication guide for the accompanying teachers on the trip.
Think About Packing
Another important consideration is packing. You need to think about how you're going to get your child's medication from Australia to the destination country, and how it's going to be stored during the trip.
First of all, you should keep the medication in its original pharmacy packaging, as airport security will often want to see it before letting your child leave or enter a country. If the original packaging is made from glass, this may mean you need to account for protective outer packaging to prevent breakages during transit.
Secondly, contact the airline to find out whether the medication can be kept in your child's carry-on bag on the flight. It's best to keep medication in hand luggage where possible because hold luggage can get damaged or lost. If you must store it in the hold, make an emergency plan that details where your child can go to get a prescription filled abroad if necessary.
Finally, don't forget about climate differences between countries. Some medications can deteriorate in hot or cold temperatures, so you may need to pack a thermal bag for your child or find out whether the hotel can provide a mini-fridge for medication storage.
Get It Compounded
Does your child have to take more than one medication or multiple doses of the same drug every day? Do they often forget to take a dose if you don't remind them? If you answered 'yes' to those questions, consider getting the medications compounded.
Pharmaceutical compounding services make customised medications that fit your child's needs exactly. They can compile multiple medications into one dose, create smaller or larger doses of a specific medication, or minimise the required daily dosages by producing the drug in a slow-release format.
Unsurprisingly, compounding can take a load off a parent's mind by making it easier for children to remember to take all their medication without parental intervention. It can also be useful if there's a restriction on how many different pills your child can bring into their destination country, or if they need a liquid medication bottled in smaller quantities to comply with hand luggage rules.