View Full Version : Driving alone?

01-31-2010, 10:45 PM
Do you always drive with someone in the back seat trained in trach care sitting with your child? The hospital has told us we need to do this.

Peyton's Parents
02-01-2010, 12:04 AM
It depends. If we have a nurse she will ride in the back with Peyton. If it is my husband and I, we don't ride in back unless it is a long ride. Most often, I travel with Peyton by myself.

02-01-2010, 01:08 AM
We are probably in the minority, but we don't have anyone in the back with Addisyn other than her brother and sister. At first, I had her hooked up to her pulse-ox or apnea monitor, but now we just ride in the car just as if she didn't have the trach. She is 15 months and still rear facing. If she starts pulling on the trach, we will turn her around.

02-01-2010, 06:10 AM
we always have either the nurse or my husband or I sitting back there. Our daughter tends to need a lot of suctioning while in the car seat so we can't really leave her back there alone. It depends on your child though I think and what kind of roads you drive on. If you can pull over easily its one thing, but we live in the suburbs of DC so most of our driving is highway driving which doesn't make stopping to suction very easy.

02-01-2010, 06:32 AM
My Livi has been trached for 4 yrs now and except for maybe the first 2-3 appts when we were still getting used to everything (she came home quickly after getting her trach) I've been the one going places with her alone since. Our hospital is about an hr away in traffic and we've never had any issues.

It totally depends on your comfort level as well as the stability of the child.

02-01-2010, 07:26 AM
I think it depends on how stable your child is. When Mitchell was a baby-I did most of the time-but, he had a tendency to stop breathing in his car seat-so, rarely did I go somewhere without a 2nd pair of hands.

As he started getting stable-then no. And now....never. Well, unless we're going somewhere as a family-but my husband is working and I take the boys places all the time by myself. But, he is very stable right now.

If sleeping I always have a sat monitor on him. Again-it depends on how stable she is....what type of roads you have. I live in a fairly "slow moving" city-meaning-I could stop on a dime pretty much anywhere-so if he were having problems-I could help him. I'd be stuck by myself on the side of the road w/him, but at least I could help him out.

It really is comfort level too.

02-01-2010, 07:35 AM
In the beginning, always had someone in the back seat. But Natalie also came home on a vent. Now, not really, unless she is sick and needs lots of suctioning. Our life is more "normal" now, meaning I have to run out alot for things with our older daughter and Natalie has to come. If its a bit of a drive and I am alone and I know Natalie will fall to sleep I do hook her up to the pulse ox. Just my comfort level if she is sleeping and I am alone.

The hospital tells you how to do things in a "perfect" world. In reality, once life gets going at home, it is not always feasible

02-01-2010, 07:49 AM
So nice to see your faces!

Stability of the child is key. And where you live and what roads you need to travel on. For us, it was virtually impossible for me to have someone else in the car all the time.

So, I gave myself plenty of extra time. Planned routes that had easy places for me to pull over or pull off to suction.

Parker was pretty stable and could generally wait a few seconds or even minutes to be suctioned. But there were trips to the doctor that took 25 minutes instead of 10.

For as much planning as I did. I also had a deal with myself that if I needed to stop and suction I would do it, even if that stopped traffic!

At the time, my oldest was 4 and he knew how to tip suction so he could do it in the car too for just clearing sneezed out trach snot.

02-01-2010, 08:44 AM
In the beginning, always.

Because we have extensive nursing coverage, we almost always have a nurse if we're going to appointments, and they sit in back with Alexander.

We usually only do short trips (his pediatrician is 10 miles, which is the farthest we've gone), on surface streets where we can stop if need be. He's still rear-facing in his car seat, so we have one of those mirrors so you can see the child in the vehicle's rear view mirror.

Quite honestly....I was more comfortable doing it when he was on the vent. We suction so much more often now that he's using a trach nose 24/7

That being said, I did bring Alexander home from his most recent PICU stay by myself. We stopped once - still in the hospital parking lot - and other than a delay because an intersection was closed due to an accident, we made it home (5 miles) without further incident. That traffic accident bothered me though, because with Alexander having some sort of respiratory virus, I was super worried about suctioning.

02-01-2010, 10:30 AM
We always have two people in the car when we are on long drives. Around town though we just go on our own. We have practised pulling over and suctioning to make sure we are not freaked out by it. Go with what you are comfortable though, you know your child and your comfort level.

02-01-2010, 11:09 AM
I never have anyone in back (except my other kids when they are with me ).. when we first came home we had nursing ~ but it seemed like everytime we had an appointment...that was the day the nurse was a no show... After cancelling the first couple of times because I was always told not to drive alone.. I decided I couldnt let the unreliability of the nurses stop me from making it to his appointments (they were not easy to reschedule)
Joseph still fits in his rear facing carseat~ I have a mirror set up so I can see him in my rearview mirror, and I leave the radio off so I can hear if he is coughing or needs suctioned.. I do alot of neighbood driving, and some highway; and have only had to ever pull over a couple of times in the last 3 years (I always felt more comfortable when he was on the vent~because I could hear the breaths alot easier.. and knew he was breathing , and he didnt need suctioned as much)

02-01-2010, 11:14 AM
In the beginning we did, but now Eric's stable enough that I feel fine taking him most places by myself. The closest decent shopping area is about 1/2 an hour away and I go there all the time with him, or to pedi appointments and things like that. Our children's hospital is about 3 hours away though so I try to take DH or maybe my MIL. I probably could do it alone but I'd rather not, espescially once we get to the interstate.

02-01-2010, 06:41 PM
I agree with everyone. Your comfort level and ability to assess your child improve and you start taking steps alone. :hug: Karen

02-01-2010, 09:51 PM
My daughter was vent dependent for the first 3 yrs too.

I still try to allow for a few extra minutes for loading up then unloading when we reach our destination.

I think we'll be doing that for life.


02-01-2010, 10:21 PM
If I have a nurse for an appointment, great, if not, I don't worry too much about it. But, I will say that in our situation, Harlie has gotten a lot better in that she doesn't need suctioning as often as she used to. I still have to pull over on occasion, but I don't go out of my way to have someone else in the car. My, how a few years of growth changes things!

I think it's just like anything else - the more you do it, the more you get used to it. Just do what feels comfortable for you.

Good luck!

02-01-2010, 10:22 PM
YES! Austin is very stable, but unpredictable. That means he likes to pull out his trach. He has removed it four times in the past year...so without a doubt some one MUST ride with him in the back seat. It is a major PITA, but the only way we can roll. He is two and was rear facing until his 2nd birthday in Nov...so there was no way I could travel alone. He also has a Nissen and frequently retches a feeding and needs immediate attention in the back seat. Prior to the removal episodes I was totally ok with traveling short distances alone...it just depends on the kid. Once he realized he could remove it, we were in a different category. That said we DID ride alone in the car the other day for 5 whole minutes alone..that is a BIG deal!!!

Ainsley's Mom
02-01-2010, 10:53 PM
I don't know if we've "met" so welcome to the trach forum.

It really is best if you can have someone there. It's safest and is the least stressful. Unless you live in a rural area pulling over on the side of the road to suction can be dangerous (I've almost been hit several times because I live in the city where you can't avoid congested streets). And then there is always the chance of the trach coming out while driving. That happened to me once when I was driving alone. VERY SCARY! Luckily I was in an area where I could make a free right on a red light and pull over. Even then it really freaked me out. This is less of a concern if your child can go a few minutes without their trach. Of course you can stop traffic, but that isn't exactly safe, depending on the situation. So I always avoid the freeway unless there is a shoulder.

Initially Ainsley needed a LOT of suctioning and would vomit (right down into the trach) if she was left to cough it out. So in the beginning I avoided driving Ainsley (without an adult) unless I had to. Sometimes I did. But it was frequently nerve wracking. There were many days I drove to the doctor or preschool less than 2 miles away and had to pull over twice to suction and she still vomited. But if you get lucky enough to have a kid that seldom needs suctioning (and doesn't vomit) then it might be no problem (other than keeping an eye on the rear-view mirror to make sure the trach is in place.) And generally I think it does get better with time. After Ainsley's fundoplication at age 2 things were much easier as far as driving and now we do it fairly regularly (although if there is an available adult we always ride in back, and I do still plan as much driving as I can without Ainsley in the car).

***I do have a tip. Don't put anything on the trach if you are driving alone. Kids like to pull on HME's and PMVs and it's best to avoid any chance of them pulling on the attachment to get it off and accidentally pulling out the trach (that's what Ainsley did.) Also I suggest you try it out first by driving somewhere with a trained adult in the back seat and pull over as needed to suction (as if they aren't there) to see how it goes. You'll know when you are ready to drive alone. Good luck!

02-02-2010, 08:30 AM
We always drove alone with Nathan. We just made sure that when we drove him by ourselves that we allowed for plenty of time--in case we had to stop to replace and hme or to suction. Neither my husband or I ever had a big issue with it. It was scary at first, but we got used to it!:)

Jae's Mom
02-02-2010, 01:19 PM
Like many of the other parents, DH and I also drive alone with Jaelyn. We didn't initially but over time became comfortable enough to do so. Haven't had a problem so far, she coughs up secretions into her HME and we suction her whenever we stop the car.

02-02-2010, 05:09 PM
If it is a long trip one of us rides in the back...if not we just ride as normal...Logan is in a front facing car seat so even if we are both up front we can see what is going on.

02-04-2010, 04:04 PM
At first, ALWAYS had someone with me. She was really unstable and needed suctioned ALL the time. I think it was almost a year before I EVER ventured out alone with Hannah.

But, if she was sick, I made sure I had someone with me. Even now, decannulated, there are circumstances that I STILL have a 2nd person with me (after surgery or if she's really sick).

I remember my first trip alone with Hannah...I felt so FREE!

02-05-2010, 03:22 PM
I didn't see this post before and excuse the redundancy of the saying... but it depends on your child's stability.

For us, we prefer to have someone in the back seat. My fiance has never done a solo drive with Mackenzie and I doubt he will while she's trached. I have done a few solo drives, although only to spots within a 30min driving distance. I allow(ed) lots of time for pulling over for suctioning and that sort of thing. Since Mackenzie is rear facing and will be for quite some time (I'm an avid RF mama), we placed an infant mirror - the kind you can buy at Walmart or Babies R Us - and attach it to the headrest. That way I can see Mackenzie at all times. I also bring her pulse ox depending on whether or not I think she'll nap, but we always have her on a pulse ox while sleeping anyway.

02-05-2010, 03:38 PM
I think everyone's said what we have felt/done at some poit in time.

Since my husband works, and we don't always have a nurse, there are plenty of times I have to drive Tommy places by myself. Now I feel very comfortable doing so, but not at first!!!:o

BTW...I love the family photo!!!:inlove:

(Tommy's mom)

02-06-2010, 03:20 AM
I agree with most of the others. Mitch was 2 when he came home and the first year I ALWAYS had someone with me in the car if I was driving. But this was because he could desat or need a suction just like that. Even as a family I have had to sit in the back for a LONG time.

Now, I take him anywhere and everywhere by myself. Motorways (Freeways) you need to be confident on your own, because you can't just pull over to suction. Like others, initially, I allowed more time and drove along the secondary roads if one my own. Now I go on the motorway or wherever as long as Mitch is not needing much day suctioning. Initially on my own I had the pulse ox on and the monitor beside me in the front. Now, he is more stable I don't even do this unless he was having pneumonia or something..

The sense of freedom is quite exciting once your child reaches this stage.
Cheers Cherie

02-08-2010, 08:33 AM
Agree with the other posts on child-specific conditions.

Until about 2 weeks ago, we always drove with a trained adult in the back with Sahana. A couple months ago Sahana "proved" at home that she could go a bit without her trache, so we could have started then but just couldn't bring ourselves leave her alone in the back.