Guest Author - Candyce H. Stapen
Travel Products for Allergies and Tots
By Candyce H. Stapen
Planning is the all-important key to a great trip, especially if you have allergies or are traveling with young children. SelectWisely food cards present your special, dietary needs in more than thirty languages. BambinOz PortaChair lightens the gear you need to lug along with your tot.
When researching our family trip to China, the food issue had us stumped. Both my daughter Alissa and I are lactose intolerant and Alissa, at the time, was a strict vegan. Fortunately, Chinese cuisine doen’t use many milk products. That made it less of a problem to negotiate restaurants in Shanghai and Beijing where many people speak English. However, our itinerary also included time in some remote areas. Figuring out how to say "no milk, cheese or cream” in Cantonese or Mandarin as well as "no meat" for Alissa had us stymied until we discovered SelectWisely.
The company produces plastic laminated cards that state your food preferences and problems in a variety of languages as well as picture cards that feature images of shellfish, milk or other culinary nemeses with the international “do not” symbol—a red circle with a diagonal line-- drawn through the forbidden items. Carrying both types of cards, gave us the confidence to sample the local cuisine even in the countryside.
Ecards are also available.
We highly recommend that you order these cards if you have food allergies, dietary restrictions or even strong preferences. The cards range from about $8.50-$10 for standard ones and a bit more for special orders.
Armed with your card, you can sample that tucked away restaurant in Bangkok your friend raved about since you can inform the non-English speaking waiter that you’ll get ill if you eat anything cooked with peanuts or peanut oil. You no longer have to assume that you can tell that the tasty tagine on the buffet table in Aswan, Egypt, contains no cheese. Just whip out your handy lactose intolerant card printed in Arabic.
Forget about memorizing (and later mispronouncing) key words. You don’t want to get the sounds for “cannot” and “like” mixed up in Hindi when telling the polite server that fish will give you a severe case of abdominal cramps. And if on a hike through villages in Cambodia’s countryside, you suddenly feel faint, just whip out the SelectWisely card for “take me to the hospital” in Khmer.
As parents know, the smaller the child, the more gear that’s necessary to take along on trips. PortaChair by BambinOz lightens the load by eliminating the need for a highchair, at least in the short term. That goes for day trips to Aunt Betty’s or a weekend at a vacation house that comes with a fabulous deck but no kid equipment.
Smaller than a rolled-up bath towel, the easy to tote PortaChair looks like a strip of quilted material with seatbelt-like straps. We admit to being skeptical until we tried it on our five month-old nephew Sam. Although the directions are a bit confusing, we figured out how to drape the device around the back of a chair so as to create a seat secured with the 5-point safety harness.
Sam sat perfectly content in the surprisingly sturdy harness. He loved being at the table and we didn’t have to find a highchair. Recommended for tots 5-30 months, PortaChair retails for about $55.