Kohl, Barnett (2019) What do we know about travel for children with special health care needs? A review of the literature Travel medicine and infectious disease ()
Children travel with their families, including children with chronic illness. We know that adults with chronic illness who travel are more likely than their healthy peers to become sick while traveling. A review of the literature was undertaken to identify what is known about traveling with children with special health care needs and to identify gaps in our knowledge. An Online search of the PubMed, CINAHL and Google databases of English language literature was conducted June 2016, October 2017, June 2018 and April 2019 using the terms children and travel, air travel, travel health, disabled child, children with special healthcare needs, parents of disabled children, vacations, recreation, international, wheelchairs, planning techniques, asthma, diabetes, altitude, cystic fibrosis, inflammatory bowel disease, sickle cell disease, depression, food allergies, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and seizures. The search was limited to years 2000-2019. A secondary search of relevant articles was conducted using the reference sections of articles identified in the primary search. 185 papers were examined for travel health related outcomes for children and adults with chronic diseases. Articles were excluded if they addressed the educational needs of students with disabilities traveling abroad, did not directly address travel health (e.g travel skills, travel itineraries), contained outdated policy statements, or were case reports of a single patient. The remaining 84 papers were organized and reviewed by organ systems. The articles were primarily descriptive and did not lend themselves to a systematic review. Children traveling with chronic and complex health conditions are a heterogeneous group of vulnerable travelers. Closing the knowledge gap about how to best help these travelers requires a multipronged approach. Research is urgently needed to identify best practices for five of the most common chronic childhood diseases: asthma, depression, ADHD, food allergies and autism. For less common illnesses, ones typically cared for in specialty clinics, expert consensus opinion and multi-center studies are needed. Families and disease advocacy societies should be included in the research as they may have already identified the most pressing travel-related health concerns and solutions for these problems. Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier Ltd.