Flying with Kids After ACL Surgery ~oh my!
What were we thinking taking three children cross-country while in a knee brace post ACL, MCL and Meniscus surgery?
As busy working moms, we gotta do what we gotta do right? What doesn’t kill you sure makes your stronger! So here are some helpful hints for flying with kids while recovering from a skiing sports injury when you can barely walk, carry luggage or move quickly:
- Book your flight early and request special seating so that you can make sure your family is seated together. Why is it that airlines always choose to separate families at least five rows apart?
- Be sure to ask your surgeon for handicapped sticker paperwork so you have easy access when parking and pulling into drop off zones
- Make sure the airline seating allows you to prop up your leg at a comfortable position. Be sure to consider whether you need the right or left aisle if you have to keep your knee brace locked straight
- Request a wheel chair if you need assistance walking because most airport concourses are very long. The wheel chair assistant can meet you curbside or at the check-in counter. We found that United provides wonderful services for those who need assistance
- Schedule to arrive at least 2 hours in advance of your flight so you can take your time with your injury if security lines are long and kiddie bathroom emergencies are common
- Pack light with pull suitcases so your children can manage their own luggage. If the children are in elementary school or older, have them pack their own bags including a book and their favorite DVD player, iPad or iPod
- Find a chic backpack to carry your basic essentials so you have your arms free to manage the children
- Buy a box of instant cold packs from Amazon Prime for $10 (have to love the free shipping). They are also great for family boo-boos during your trip
- Pack Tylenol, Advil and gum (to relieve the children’s ears from the pressure) in both your backpack and your suitcase
- While it seems easier to have your boarding passes on email or texted to your smart phone, good old paper works best when taking four people and a wheel chair through security. Luckily, they only need mom’s drivers license when the kids are under 18, however it never hurts to bring passports as a backup
- Although the wheel chair assistants may ask to prop your suitcase on the foot stands balanced precariously between your legs, avoid at all cost because you may end up a back or neck injury since the travel can be a bit bumpy. Most assistants can easily pull a small suitcase behind them
- Wear easy slip on shoes so you don’t have bend down when going through security
- On the way to the airport, ask your children to be the captains or cruise directors of the trip and tell them specifically how they can help you. Pull mom’s bag, carry mom’s computer, hold their little sister’s hand etc… Once you get to the airport, they will love the responsibility of navigating the airport while being shielded by your wheelchair
- Purchase snacks after security, but before you get on the plane to avoid grumpiness. The airlines have snacks for purchase but they are expensive, very salty and often messy. Spilling bruschetta from the tapas snack pack in your lap is not fun especially when it runs down the leg brace
- Make sure you have plenty of small bills handy so you can thank helpful attendants along the way
- When renting a car, splurge on one of the major companies like Avis since you can be wheeled right up to your car and take off vs. waiting in the long line in a wheel chair surrounded by restless angels
- Most important of all, make sure you bring your spouse or a traveling partner to keep your sanity especially if traveling with little ones.
Any hints on flying with kids after ACL Surgery?
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