Tracheostomy: How to prepare for safe travel

Travelling with a child with a tracheostomy tube, even for a short period of time, requires planning and preparation.

You will need to pack a medical travel bag with a range of supplies. The bag should accompany your child on any trips outside the home (no matter how short) in case your child needs to be suctioned​ or needs a tracheostomy tube change.

What to pack in your medical travel bag

Your medical travel bag will need to include:

  • your child’s tracheostomy kit
  • cleaning supplies
  • additional equipment and supplies.

The exact number of supplies you will need will depend on how long you plan on being away from home. In general, keep your medical travel bag stocked with enough supplies for an average day caring for your child. You will need to add more supplies for full-day or multi-day trips.

Tracheostomy kit

  • Tracheostomy outer cannula with ties attached and obturator of the same size
  • Tracheostomy tube one size smaller with ties attached and obturator (store in a small, well-labelled clear bag)
  • Clean tracheostomy gauze (dressing)
  • Manual suction device: 20 mL syringe with feeding tube attached (in case the suction machine does not work)
  • Water soluble lubricant
  • Round-ended scissors
  • Normal saline nebules (small, sealed tubes that are filled with saline)
Images of emergency tracheostomy supplies  

Cleaning supplies

  • Saline-soaked cotton swabs (single use)​
  • Disposable container or clean cup for water
  • Saline nebules
  • Gauze pads​
  • Wet facecloth
  • Dry facecloth​
Images of tracheostomy cleaning supplies listed above  
Additional tracheostomy equipment and supplies
  • Sterile​ water and container
  • Good light source
  • Portable suction machine and adjuncts
  • Suction tubing and suction catheters (as many as you think you will need while out, based on your child’s needs)
  • Manual resuscitation bag with tracheostomy adaptor and the appropriate sized mask
  • Towel, to help your child stay in position
  • Oximeter
  • Oxygen, if needed​
  • Plastic bag for dirty equipment or garbage​
  • Emergency contact list
  • Current list of medications (if you child needs any)
Images of additional tracheostomy equipment listed above  


You will need to replace some items in your medical travel kit after a single use. Before you leave your home, always check that the travel bag contains all the supplies you need and that all machines are working.

Key points

  • Whenever you leave your home with your child, even for a short time, take your child's tracheostomy equipment and supplies in a medical travel bag.
  • Keep the medical travel bag stocked with enough supplies for an average day caring for your child.
  • Before you leave home, check that you have replaced any single-use items and that all equipment and machines are working.

​Michelle Carter, RN

Reshma Amin, MD, FRCPC, MSc

Faiza Syed, BHSc, RRT

Evan Propst, MD, FRCPC, MSc​​

Sara McEwan, RN, MN​​​