A medical flight, or air ambulance as it is sometimes referred to, is a private plane equipped to provide special care for special-needs patients. If it is unfeasible for your toddler to fly on a commercial aircraft, this option may be most suitable. Air ambulances are equipped with medical equipment, and in most cases, medical staff as well. While you know to bring your child's medications or personal medical devices, there are less obvious details that should not be overlooked. Consider the following measures to ensure a hassle-free and comfortable transport.
1. Inquire About On-Board Medical Staff and Other Details
The meaning of "medical staff on board" may differ among companies. Gain knowledge beforehand as to what type of medical professionals will be accompanying your child during the flight. At the very least, you'll want to be sure there will be a critical-care nurse and a licensed paramedic along. Also, depending upon your child's needs, you might want to have a respiratory therapist on board as well.
Don't hesitate to ask questions pertaining to the medical staff or inquire about special requests. For instance, you may prefer to have a flight physician accompany you and your child for the ride. It may also be reassuring to know the on-board medical staff works for the company full-time, rather than occasionally, so ask about this as well. You'll also rest easy knowing the company carries liability and medical-malpractice insurance, so inquire about this detail, too.
2. Have Your Transport Orders on Hand
These documents signed by your child's physician will be needed before boarding the medical flight. You should also have a copy of your child's medical records with you, including any lab results or hospital-discharge information. Photo identification will most likely be needed for any passenger accompanying the child on flight. To be prepared, ask the medical-flight transport agency for a list of guidelines beforehand.
3. Bring a Regulated Toddler-Appropriate Car Seat
It could be unsafe and possibly prohibited to place your toddler on your lap during the flight. If so, you must be sure to bring an appropriate car seat for your toddler. If you've never used a car seat for plane travel, you might want to purchase one specifically designed for this purpose.
Look for one that is approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for airplane use. To be sure the seat is narrow enough to fit on the aircraft, consult with the medical flight company for guidelines. A front-facing car seat may be most suitable to minimize the effects of motion sickness.
4. Consider Hearing Protection for Your Toddler
It's easy to overlook this detail, but hearing protection is a must when traveling on a private medical flight. Not only are engine noises and other sounds frightening and distracting for young children, it can pose a threat to their hearing. The medical flight pilot may have a headset on hand, or you might want to purchase one for this purpose. Be sure the headphones are specifically designed for hearing protection. Alternatively, earplugs may be used, although they might be easily removed by a toddler during the flight.
5. Prevent or Eliminate the Effects of Air Pressure
While an adult may chew gum to alleviate the air pressure felt during a plane ride, this is not a feasible solution for a toddler. To prevent discomfort from air pressure, be sure your little one is well hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids before and during the trip. This may prevent thick mucus from accumulating and becoming clogged in the eustachian tubes of the ear. If your child is able to chew gummy candies, the swallowing motion may help eliminate the effects of air pressure as well. You might also offer your child a pacifier to suck on.
Don't leave for the flight unprepared. Once you have all the bases covered for the medical flight, you can concentrate on your objective, the transport of your child to and from the destination in a safe and comfortable manner.
Talk to a company such as Angel-Flights for more information.