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Travel within the United States with a Medically Complex Child (7666)

Travel within the United States with a Medically Complex Child (7666) - Clinical Hub, Patient Education, Health and Nutrition Facts For You, Pediatrics, Parenting


Travel within the United States with a
Medically Complex Child

When traveling with a child who has
complex medical needs there are many
things to get ready before you go.

Medical Equipment
ξ Be sure to call your Durable
Medical Equipment Company
(DME) to find out their policies
about traveling with your
medical equipment. Make a plan
with your DME about what you
will do if a piece of your
equipment becomes damaged or
stops working while you are on
your trip.
ξ Airlines do not allow oxygen
tanks on board air planes. You
may need an additional piece of
equipment called an oxygen
concentrator if your child uses
supplemental oxygen. Call your
DME to discuss what will be
needed for the trip you are
planning. Contact your provider
and DME as soon as you begin
making travel plans. A prior
authorization may be needed
which can take several weeks to
complete and be approved by
ξ Most airplanes do not offer
electricity in flight. Any medical
devices that are electric will need
to run on batteries. You will need
to check with Airport Security
and the Airline to learn the
restrictions on the type or
number of batteries you bring.

Air Plane Travel
ξ Every Airline has different rules
regarding what is allowed on the
plane. Please call the airline and
ask to speak with someone who
specializes in helping people
travel with medical equipment
and medical needs.
ξ If your child uses supplemental
oxygen or has recently
discontinued using supplemental
oxygen, their oxygen needs
might change when flying
because of the pressurized
atmosphere of the airplane.
ξ Please call your primary care
physician or AFCH
Pulmonologist and ask about a
High Altitude Simulation Study.
ξ Passengers are to be in an upright
position during take-off and
landing. Ahead of time, talk with
the Airline, if your child has
trouble sitting in an upright
ξ The Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA)
recommends that children are
secured in a child safety restraint
system, such as a car seat
approved for car travel. For more
information you can visit the
FAA website:

Air Port Security
The Transportation Security
Administration (TSA) creates the rules
that must be followed in order to pass
Airport Security Checkpoints. This
includes medical equipment, medicines,
liquids, and medical syringes. The TSA
website is www.tsa.gov and has a link
"Disabilities and Medical Conditions".
You can contact TSA Cares toll free at
1-855-787-2227 before traveling with
questions about screening policies,
procedures and what to expect at the
security checkpoint.
Letter of Medical Necessity for
Medicine and Equipment
Please call the clinic as soon as possible
if you will need letters of medical
necessity to bring medicine and
equipment through security and on the
plane in your carry-on luggage. Please
remember, your doctor’s letter does
not mean that the items you bring will
make it through security or on the air
plane. You must call the TSA and
your Airline to find out what will be

Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call
if you have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with
your doctor. This is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical
condition. Because each person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on
your health care team when using this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright ©
10/2017 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the
Department of Nursing. HF#7666