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Parenting Guide: Family Fun

With the COVID-19 vaccine more readily accessible, many people have confidently begun to return to their pre-pandemic routines. Now that summer is upon us and several travel restrictions have been lifted, some are wondering if it is truly a good time to start vacationing once again.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has indicated that domestic travel is safe for fully vaccinated individuals. While some families with children under the age of 12 are hesitant to vacation until their children are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, others are eager to resume traveling while (hopefully) being mindful of necessary health and safety measures.


Dr. Frederico Laham, medical director for pediatric infectious diseases at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, says the key to traveling with unvaccinated children is common sense. “Before traveling, you need to think about your own household and whether the benefit outweighs the risk. By taking proper precautions, you can make your overall travel experience safer.”


Those who chose to travel over the past several months mainly opted for open air vacation opportunities void of crowds. “In late 2020 and early 2021, we saw a lot of interest in camping and RV travel,” says AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins. “That type of travel had not necessarily been the No. 1 choice prior to the pandemic but certainly became more of a desirable option over the past year.” Jenkins notes that many people expressed interest in traveling to national parks and beaches, however, “as more people are getting vaccinated, they are feeling more confident about resort stays and being among people again.”

For anyone looking to travel this summer, planning ahead is more important than ever as pandemic restrictions and guidelines are frequently changing. Jenkins suggests calling the hotel shortly ahead of your stay to ensure that the amenities you are looking forward to are still being offered as “many resorts have temporarily suspended certain services.”

Happy family with children enjoy relaxing on a yacht at sea


To help navigate travelers through these unchartered waters, Jenkins recommends using the services of a travel advisor. “This can be a very confusing time for travelers looking to book a trip right now as they may not know exactly what’s available based on the pandemic. It can be a little nerve-wracking if you are booking the trip yourself. Travel advisors are plugged in directly with what is happening in the industry and can provide up-to-date availability, restrictions, COVID-19 test and documentation requirements, and advice related to travel insurance.”


Another great travel option for Central Floridians is a staycation. “Orlando is always one of the top vacation destinations for those booking travel through AAA,” Jenkins says. “The theme parks are obviously the No. 1 reason why but Central Florida has so much more to offer than just the amusement parks, including the world-famous beaches which are just a short drive away.”


No matter what your travel plans may be this summer, medical and travel experts agree that it is best to be as prepared as possible to ensure a safe, healthy and most of all relaxing and fun vacation.



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Dr. Federico Laham, medical director for pediatric infectious diseases at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, shares his tips for families looking to take a vacation this summer.


  • For those eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, aim to be fully vaccinated at least two weeks before you travel.


  • Try to avoid situations where you will be in enclosed spaces with strangers, such as airplanes. However, if this is not possible, Dr. Laham notes that there are ways to mitigate the risks involved. “With public transportation, you are getting into an enclosed space with other people, which makes you more prone to getting a transmissible respiratory agent. For those who are unvaccinated, it is very important to wear a mask while using public transportation or in any enclosed spaces with others who are not part of your household.”


  • Keep hand sanitizer and/or hand wipes close to you at all times, especially if traveling with children. “Washing your hands periodically is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs.”


  • When staying in a hotel, take a few minutes to do a quick cleaning of high-touch areas upon arrival. “It is best to use disinfecting wipes on areas such as light switches, door knobs, nightstands and remotes as we know those areas are potentially infectious.”


  • Pack several masks for kids ages 2 and older. “When masks get wet, they don’t perform as well. Also, kids tend to touch their masks quite a bit so it’s a good idea to have more than one readily available.”


  • If not fully vaccinated, avoid crowded restaurants. “Look for open air tables or more secluded areas and minimize your contact with other people.”


  • Whenever possible, avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes.


  • Drink lots of fluids. “It is important to always stay hydrated,” he says.