• CTPO Team

Traveling with Orthopedic Conditions

The holidays are a popular time for family trips and traveling with kids can be stressful, even in the best of conditions. When your child has an orthopedic injury or condition that requires an orthopedic support device the thought of traveling, especially by air, can be daunting.


It doesn't have to be! Many of our patients spend the holidays traveling all over Texas and the U.S. and some have even gone overseas. With a few helpful hints you can help alleviate the challenges ahead of time and focus on the fun of a winter vacation!



Get Documentation


Before you travel, stop by our office for a physician's note and to clear your child for travel. This is especially important if your child has had surgery or screws, plates or other devices implanted. Our physicians will provide you with information on how to travel safely. Although most modern orthopedic devices can go through scanners without a problem, it is best to have a physician's note outlining the device, placement and any restrictions you may have.


A note will not exempt your child from screening at the airport, but it will help smooth out the process if you or a screener has any questions. Your child may also need a physician's note for overnight camp, especially if there are limitations to your child's mobility or movement. Feel free to call our office with any medical questions before or after you travel.



Getting Through Airport Screening



Many parents are anxious about going through airport security with children. Remember that crutches and canes have to go through the x-ray scanner at the airport. You can ask your airline or TSA for assistance going through security, even if you have TSA Pre-Check. If your child cannot stand as a result of a medical condition, TSA will not remove your child from a wheelchair for security, but may ask you to do so. In some cases, your child may be subject to modified screening procedures or hand inspection.


TSA rules allow a parent to be present for these screenings. And remember, you can always ask for private screening to protect your child's privacy. Advise TSA personnel of braces or casts that may not be visible as these my need to be inspected as well. Be sure to let TSA staff know if your child has any pain or sensitive areas, especially after surgery. Medical assist personnel at the airport cannot lift you or your child and cannot provide medical services, so if your child is temporarily in a wheelchair, make sure you know how to correctly lift them.


Check out the TSA traveling with Children page for more answers to your questions.

TSA has a lot of information on their website to help families traveling with disabilities or medical conditions. You can contact TSA Cares at 1-855-787-2227 to speak to someone about screening policies and procedures specific to your child's condition or device.



Car Travel


Before you take that holiday road trip talk to your physician about ways to keep your child comfortable and safe in the car. Young children may need to use a special car seat to accommodate a broken bone or cast, especially in children with hip problems. We can help you arrange for a temporary car seat rental depending on your child's condition. If your older child cannot comfortably sit with a seatbelt correctly fastened, ask our office for assistance. We may be able to suggest different ways to reduce pain and discomfort and maintain your child's safety.



Remember that broken bones and medical conditions do not need to prevent your family from traveling this summer! We're here to assist you so ask our helpful staff the next time you are in our office or give us a call at 512-478-8116.


Happy travels!



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Pediatric Orthopedic Physicians + Pediatric Physical Therapists serving Austin, Cedar Park, Westlake, South Austin, Four Points and Central Texas.