How to Travel with a Child on Tube Feeding

Amy Long Carrera, MS, RD, CNSC, CWCMS
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
08/02/16  1:39 PM PST
child on tube feeding

Traveling with a child on tube feeding? Going anywhere, let alone to the store with your child can be a challenge, but traveling to further destinations with a child with special needs can be stressful. Lots of planning ahead and thoughtful packing can make your family vacation memorable and more relaxed.


How to Travel with a Child on Tube Feeding


What to do beforehand:

  • Talk to your health care team about your travel plans. They may have some helpful suggestions.
  • Ask your medical supply company:
    • Do they have other locations near your travel destination where you could pick up emergency supplies in a pinch?
    • Can they ship your supplies to your destination?
    • Do they have an after-hours hotline for feeding pump issues?
    • Are they able to provide extra supplies for travel?
  • Contact the airline/train company.
  • Call the TSA Cares helpline, a service that provides extra assistance to travelers with special needs
  • Call your hotel/destination spot.
    • Make sure you will have a place to safely store opened formula, such as a refrigerator or cooler and a sanitary space to feed your child.


Don’t forget!

  • Pump (and charger!)
  • Pump feeding bags
  • Gravity bags (if your child can tolerate) in case you have pump trouble
  • Extension sets (if your child has a low profile button)
  • Syringes
  • Formula (take a little more than you think you need, just in case)
  • Bottle of water (for flushing on-the-go)
  • Enteral pump backpack
  • Accessories (tape, gauze, lubricant)
  • All of your child’s medications
  • First aid kit
  • Emergency Information Form



Extra supplies to have on hand:

  • Feeding bags
  • Low profile button
  • Extension set
  • Syringes
  • Bottle of water (for flushing on-the-go)
  • Small (3.4 oz) containers of formula and water to carry on the plane



To take on the plane:

  • Small (3.4 oz) containers of formula and water
  • Ice packs/insulated cooler to keep formula cool
  • Syringes
  • Low profile button
  • Extension set


Bring contact info for:

  • Your doctor/nurse/dietitian
  • Local children’s hospital/urgent care in your travel destination
  • Your medical supply company


And these might come in handy:

  • A large carabineer/clip for attaching the enteral pump backpack to carts and chairs

child on tube feeding

  • An Oley Ambassador:
    • Oley Foundation volunteers located  all over the country, who have experienced being on tube feeding at home and on the go



Some special needs-friendly travel destinations:

39 Theme Parks With Special Needs Access Passes

32 Vacation Destinations for Individuals with Special Needs



More resources on traveling with a child on tube feeding:

Feeding Tube Awareness Foundation

Oley Foundation

Complex Child

The Center for Children with Special Needs 


Special thanks to Meghann L, mommy to George and Miles, for your helpful insight and experience!

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