Traveling with a Child Who Has Angelman Syndrome

Emily Malcolm, PhD avatar

by Emily Malcolm, PhD |

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Traveling can be challenging when you have a child with Angelman syndrome. Here are some tips to help you travel safely:

Before traveling

Planning ahead can help minimize the last-minute rush and related stress. While planning, consider factors such as who will be your child’s primary caregiver during travel. Some airlines, including Air Canada and WestJet, have a “one person, one fare” policy that allows for free domestic travel of an attendant, if you have a nurse or other trained medical professional traveling with you. You should confirm your eligibility with the airline company beforehand.

You also should consider whether your child will need a wheelchair or stroller, and how he or she will access needed areas such as restrooms. If your child will be using a wheelchair during travel, notify the airline beforehand to make the ground and on-board crew aware of your family’s needs.

Advance seat selection can help you get seats that are comfortable and convenient for your needs. Although most airlines offer window seats for people with disabilities, it may be possible to secure an aisle seat that allows easier transfer from the seat to a wheelchair, which makes getting to the restroom easier during a flight.

A pre-travel medical assessment may be useful for some patients, as well as discussing with the doctor the challenges of the destination, such as the local weather, altitude, and access to medical care.

Think about where you would go in the event of a medical emergency. Are there clinics specializing in Angelman syndrome near the area where you will be? Is your child taking medications that need to be administered by a health professional?

During travel

You should carry with you essential paperwork such as a health insurance card, travel insurance, and a physician’s letter containing information about any medical equipment or medication needed during travel.

If your child becomes unwell at any time during a flight, alert the cabin crew immediately. The plane may be able to land at the nearest airport to access medical help if the situation is serious.

At the destination

You should make sure that you and your child are prepared to deal with the climate and environment when you reach your destination. Pack appropriate clothing and plan activities that will not be too strenuous for your child.

Knowing the locations of local clinics also would be helpful for timely medical care or access to equipment, such as wheelchairs or motorized scooters.


Last updated: Feb. 5, 2020


Angelman Syndrome News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.