• Reference Material
  • February 5, 2020

Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Day Travel Tips

If the family accompanying your hospital is traveling with a child with special health care needs, it's important to remember that this might be the first time they've traveled with their child. Before departing on the trip, discuss the details of the travel plans to determine any challenges that might arise.

Determine Needs

The need for a wheelchair or specialized medical equipment may be obvious, but other elements of traveling—like loud noises and large crowds—may also require special planning. How might the child react during the security screening process at the airport? Does the child have any special dietary needs, and how will these be met in transit? Determine and plan for anticipated needs ahead of time.

Travel Regulations

Be sure the family is aware of what can and cannot be carried on board a plane or train. Documentation may be required to bring certain medications/equipment with you in the airplane cabin. We recommend you review TSA regulations for children with disabilities or Amtrak's accessibility recommendations prior to traveling with children who have special needs.

  • Be sure to allow ample time for check-in.
  • Contact your airline in advance if you anticipate needing extra assistance at check-in or airport security.
  • Make sure all medical equipment is properly labeled with name, address and phone number.

Getting Around Washington

Car seats – D.C. law requires that children under 8 years of age must be properly seated in an installed infant, convertible (toddler) or booster child seat. CHA does not provide car/booster seats.

Taxi cabs – Cab companies are exempt from equipping their vehicles with child safety seats. However, many local cab companies do offer wheelchair accessible cabs. Consider making a reservation with Red Top Cab, (703) 522-3333.

Uber and Lyft – You can request an Uber with a car seat by tapping the 'car seat' option after selecting the UberX vehicle type. A $10 surcharge is added to UberX pricing for Uber Car Seat trips.

Note: If you are traveling with a car seat to install in taxis or Ubers, you will most likely have to carry the car seat around Capitol Hill during your meetings. 

Metro – You can enter the metro system directly from Reagan National Airport. The closest stop to the JW Marriott Hotel is Metro Center on the Blue line—just one block away. The metro is wheelchair accessible and does not require car seats.

Private car service – If you prefer, you could hire a private driver for the day. You can request a car seat or bring your own, and you can keep the car seat installed in the car for the entire day.

Hospitals are responsible for arranging transportation to and from the airport. This transportation is not arranged by CHA.

CHA Wheelchair Transportation Provided for Hill Appointments

If your family has a child who requires wheelchair transport, CHA will provide transportation to and from the JW Marriott for appointments on Capitol Hill. Be advised the cab can accommodate the child patient and three other passengers. Any additional hospital staff or family may have to follow in a separate vehicle.

If you would like to reserve wheelchair transportation for Hill visits, please indicate this on the family registration form. Someone from CHA will confirm your transportation needs. Our vehicle dispatcher will be on-site at the hotel and coordinate all pick-ups and drop-offs for the child patient.

Checking Out a Wheelchair on Capitol Hill

For children that do not require a wheelchair full-time, but sometimes experience fatigue, you can check out a wheelchair on Capitol Hill by contacting your lawmaker's offices ahead of time.

Visiting the U.S. Capitol and Congressional Offices

Wheelchair Accessible Entrances on Capitol Hill (reference map)

  • Capitol Building – the south entrance for House business and north entrance for Senate business.
  • Capitol Visitor Center – main entrance at First Street SE and East Capitol NE street. Wheelchairs are also available at the Visitor Center.
  • Cannon House Office Building – C Street SE and New Jersey Avenue SE
  • Longworth House Office Building – Independence Avenue SE and South Capitol Street SE entrances
  • Rayburn House Office Building – horseshoe drive on Independence Avenue SE and South Capitol Street SE
  • Russell Senate Office Building – Delaware Avenue NE and Constitution Avenue NE
  • Dirksen Senate Office Building – C Street NE and Constitution Avenue NE entrance
  • Hart Senate Office Building – Constitution Avenue NE entrance

Due to security issues and traffic safety, the Capitol Hill police have asked wheelchair accessible vans to drop off at the following sites:

  • House side – Independence Avenue cab horseshoe in front of Rayburn House Office Building
  • Senate side – Constitution Avenue, in front of Dirksen/Hart Senate Office Buildings

Medical Units on Capitol Hill

If you need minor medical attention while on Capitol Hill, you can visit one of the Congressional Health Units located in the following buildings:

  • Cannon House Office Building – Room 110 – (202) 225-3470
  • Longworth House Office Building – Room 1204 – (202) 225-2500
  • Rayburn House Office Building – Room 2050 – (202) 225-7131
  • Hart Senate Office Building – Room 124 – (202) 224-6580
  • Capitol Visitor Center – Room HVC-100 – (202) 225-5442
  • U.S. Capitol Building – Room H166 – (202) 225-5421

Food and Beverage on Capitol Hill

Outside food and beverages may not be brought into the Capitol. Cafeterias or food courts can be found in the basements of the Rayburn and Longworth House Office Buildings, the Dirksen Senate Office Building and the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center.

Our goal is to ensure that your trip to Washington provides a positive experience for both your hospital and your patient family. Please contact Vikki Sara at (202) 753-5357, if you have any questions or if we can further assist you in your travel plans.