Should I take my sprained ankle and little kid to Boston next week?
March 2, 2015 9:29 AM   Subscribe

Plans were made long ago for my almost-four year old child and myself to follow my husband to Boston while he presents a paper at a meeting. We intended to stay at the hotel with him and sightsee while he attends meetings all day for several days. Unfortunately, I sprained my ankle three weeks ago and am still on crutches with a CAM/ walking boot.

I am trying to think of how to make this work, if it will even be worthwhile, or whether I should eat the cost of round trip airfare for myself and the kid and stay home. The original plan was to visit some museums, check out a city we haven't been to before, and most importantly look at the park where "Make Way for Ducklings" was set. That was before the ankle injury and the big snows in Boston.

On crutches, I can't hold the kid's hand in traffic, nor can I get him to do anything he disagrees with. I also can't go long distances. I don't know how much longer I will need the crutches -- MRI and Xrays say that I haven't broken bones but that I have a bone marrow bruise.

If I still can't walk I can imagine that we either stay in the hotel room all day eating room service and watching TV (ugh), or we hire a babysitter to go with us on outings each day who would control him and help with logistics. What would it cost to hire such a person and how would I find him or her?

If I can walk a little, maybe we could take cabs to museums and the like. Do cab companies in Boston have carseats for children? Are there indoor places where I could sit and allow the kid to play without me walking around much?

Is everything still buried in absurd amounts of snow? How well should I expect sidewalks to be cleared in the theater district? Is outdoor play in the commons possible? If I'm walking well would it be reasonable to think I could push the kid around in a stroller around town or would I run into a lot of street crossings filled with deep slushy water and sidewalks narrowed to single file paths?
posted by SandiBeech to Travel & Transportation around Boston, MA (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Would I go on this trip? Honestly, no. In trying to do too much on a dodgy ankle you risk the chance of severely exacerbating your current injury or extending the duration of your recovery time. And it just won't be any fun to be cooped up in a hotel room with a kid.

Avoid the impulse to throw good money after bad by running up babysitting and room service bills. You might not have to eat the cost of the airline tickets entirely if you get a sympathetic customer service rep -- especially since you are unable to travel due to injury.
posted by kate blank at 9:38 AM on March 2, 2015 [3 favorites]

I would not go. Yes, there is still a lot of snow everywhere, as well as ice. It's rough out there for people who are nimble and able-bodied - it would be very difficult getting around in your state.
posted by sutel at 9:43 AM on March 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

I would probably advise a non-injured person with a little one to not visit Boston right now, because there just isn't that much available to do outside, and getting places is very difficult right now. The snow has been relentless, and it's piled everywhere.
posted by xingcat at 9:45 AM on March 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

The city is starting to get a bit better about removing snow, but there are still an awful lot of icy, and especially slushy sidewalks. I'm not sure I'd be able to navigate on crutches even without a child in tow.

As far as cabs, I believe Uber provides the option to request a car with a carseat. However, they've been on surge quite a bit recently because of the bad weather. So, I wouldn't count on this as the inexpensive option that it often is. Not sure about regular cabs, but they are notoriously terrible here (I've had some bad experiences and no longer take them) -- I wouldn't count on this as my main source of transport as the wait times can be bad, again, especially in bad weather.

My first step would be to call the airline and see if they will let you cancel your ticket in exchange for a credit with them...I think this is more likely than an actual refund, and even if there's a service charge attached, you don't totally lose the money and can put it toward a different trip when you are feeling better. I think this trip would be tricky even in good weather, but with the condition of the sidewalks right now, I think it would be pretty miserable.

Also - I haven't been to Boston Commons in a few weeks, but it's entirely possible that the ducks are covered in snow. If this is really your main "thing" that you want to see, I would confirm with someone who's been by lately.
posted by rainbowbrite at 9:45 AM on March 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

> would I run into a lot of street crossings filled with deep slushy water and sidewalks narrowed to single file paths

This. Everywhere. Still.
posted by grog at 9:46 AM on March 2, 2015 [6 favorites]

It is just really bad here right now. Things are melting, but not fast enough, and we keep getting more precip. The sidewalks are really bad and I don't see them getting better any time soon.

Honestly, right now being in Boston is something you survive, not something you enjoy. Trying to do it with an injured ankle and a small child sounds like a terrible time!

I second calling your airline and asking them what they can do for you. Also, depending on what day you're traveling, there may be more storms headed in next week -- right now the forecast is for a smaller one Sunday overnight into Monday. If you get lucky and a storm comes in when you're supposed to be traveling, you may be able to get your tickets refunded or the cost transferred if you call once the airlines start rebooking for storms.
posted by pie ninja at 9:49 AM on March 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

+1 on this as a bad idea. I'm a healthy, able-bodied person and I STILL took a major fall on an icy patch last weekend. I would really, really not want to try to get around with a kid and crutches.
posted by athenasbanquet at 9:55 AM on March 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

I was at the Public Garden a week ago and the paths were shoveled out. But you can't even see where the pond is because it's totally iced over and snow covered and just looks like solid ground (or at least, as of last week). But really, it's just awful for pedestrians right now. I would recommend cancelling and coming back in the summer. Then you could ride the Swan Boats! Much better.
posted by chocotaco at 9:55 AM on March 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Bostonian here - I have lived here for years and I've never seen it this bad. I've even been on crutches here in the winter before and this is three times as much snow as there was then.
Walking up and down my block is nigh impossible right now. The piles of snow are actually taller than I am (5'5"). You never know whether you'll run into slush, snow, puddles, or ice, or all four at once. The T doesn't really exist. Cabs here are not the best (to say the least) and traffic is a nightmare. And it snowed again today.
Stay away, save yourself. Maybe the airline will be able to help you out ... but foot injury? Child? Do not engage.
(... People around here are also testier, as you can probably tell from my comment.)
posted by bookgirl18 at 9:56 AM on March 2, 2015 [5 favorites]

Another Boston resident here. Perfectly able-bodied people are staying inside now unless leaving the house is absolutely necessary. Just walking from the back door to the driveway is treacherous - and we are religious shovelers/salters/sanders of our walkways. I feel terrible asking food delivery people to come up our front walk. Every time we think we may get a break, there's more snow and slush and ice.

We have stopped looking at the weather to see what's coming. We know what's coming. More of what's already here.

The bad news is, there is so much snow now that even when it does stop, and the snowbanks begin to melt, we will be fighting through cold mud for at least another month just to get in and out of our homes and businesses.

This is a terrible, terrible, terrible time to visit Boston, period. I wouldn't come into the state of Massachusetts right now with crutches and a boot. If I could get out until May without getting fired, I'd be on a plane right now.

Don't come.

Oh, and PS, don't think all the snow will be fun for your kid, either. The snow is all frozen solid now. We're talking about a city covered in giant muddy gross glaciers, not a fun trip to a winter wonderland.
posted by kythuen at 10:29 AM on March 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Everything is still exceptionally hard in Boston. I live in Salem and work in Boston, and it's just so HARD. I have two small children, and it is awful going anywhere with them, and they walk and I walk. And none of us are injured. And it is so hard. Everything takes so long right now.

Nothing about Boston is fun right now. If I didn't have to leave my house for things, I wouldn't.

You really don't want to be here right now. It'll make you miserable. And your son won't have any fun.
posted by zizzle at 10:34 AM on March 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

It is hard to get around on foot as an able-bodied adult without a child. I would not want to attempt it with a bad ankle and a small child. It is cold and miserable here and it won't change significantly by next week.
posted by shw at 10:41 AM on March 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Nthing that Boston right now is a survival trial.

There is black ice everywhere, and ankle-deep puddles where there isn't ice; I fell every single day on my commute last week and I'm a relatively healthy able-bodied person *not* on crutches. There are so many places where the crosswalks aren't dug out and you're invisible to cars until you're in the street, or where the sidewalks themselves are impassable and you have no choice but to walk *in* the street. And even basic things like *public trash cans* are inaccessible and haven't been able to have the trash removed for weeks. And this is before you add in navigating this with a kid.

If you do come and go the assistance-with-babysitter route, most of my local parent friends say that they expect to pay $20-$25/hr; up to $40/hr on weekends. On crutches, you're not going to want to be dragging a car seat around just so you can take cabs, but your other alternatives are walking and the T. Most T stations are either underground or elevated, especially in the sightseeing areas, so that's flights of stairs you'll need to navigate, or elevators/escalators you'll need to find.

I'd stay home.
posted by Pandora Kouti at 11:06 AM on March 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

This is a terrible time to visit as a tourist, let alone with a 4 year old, let alone on crutches. All of my friends with kids are going insane....they've been going insane for weeks.

And that's people who have taken them snowshoeing, sledding, ice skating, and on and on. This city is drowning under the snowbanks and soon the roads will be half-flooded with slushy goop.

You can't trust the cabs to show up on time right now, the buses are running late (or not at all) the subway is starting to get back to normal (where normal means delayed, but the trains are running), the sidewalks are still NOT entirely cleared, especially at intersections, and massive drifts mean crossing any street requires leaping over giant slushy puddles of doom and HOPING that oncoming cars will see your head poking out from behind, AND that they'll slow down and not spray you with disgusting slushy salty sandy grossness. I saw someone trying to push a baby carriage and hold a toddler's hand, and it was a disaster. I ended up crossing the road just to help her get down to the T station because I was seriously worried it would end in a terrible situation, and she wasn't on crutches.

The Boston Children's Museum is great for those who have a membership because they can go an hour before it opens to the general public, when it has been turning into complete mayhem.

If you really wanted to go ice skating, play in the snow on the Common, maybe sledding, see museums, and had plans with an adventurous 7 or 8 year old kid.....maybe. Maybe. But a 4 year old and you on crutches? You're going to be miserable.

Don't do it!!!!!!

Call the airline now and try to reschedule for later in the spring or early summer. Tell them you're temporarily disabled due to injury, plead your case, try to talk to a supervisor, whatever you need to do.

So sorry :-( It's been a really difficult winter for everyone here. Come back when folks are a little less out of their minds, and the city is more pleasant to navigate.
posted by barnone at 11:07 AM on March 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

Just want to add to the no chorus. Sidewalks are terrible, there is ice under the snow, puddles of slush, poor visibility at every intersection, crosswalks that aren't cleared out--just walking is hard, walking with an injury extra-hard, walking with an injury and a toddler practically impossible.

You will love your Boston visit. But not right now.
posted by epanalepsis at 12:48 PM on March 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

oh honey. no.
posted by Hypatia at 5:44 PM on March 2, 2015 [4 favorites]

I was feeling encouraging - one of my family members managed a windjammer cruise with a boot on, and tend to cheer on hardy folks - until I got the part about handholding, etc. No, I don't think you'd have the trip you want. It's not as snowy, but it's still a mess, sightlines are bad, it's icy, and even if it warms up that just means it's going to be more slushy and wet. It's still hard to get around, and there are a lot of sidewalks that aren't completely clear but are a crust of ice and packed hard snow. Not great for crutches or little ones. I have neither and, like a lot of people, have just dramatically reduced my interest in going anywhere for the time being.

I hate being out airfare, myself, so one thing I might consider in your shoes is going, planning on 1 thing a day (like the MFA or Children's Museum) and taking a cab to it, and hanging out in the hotel watching TV and snacking the rest of the time. But I don't have a little kid in tow, and I don't think a kid would really enjoy that pace of experience or being stuck in the room.

This one just seems like bad timing.
posted by Miko at 6:27 PM on March 2, 2015

I live and work in Boston and commute with a 14 month old. It's too much. Don't come. We aren't at our best. It takes me twice as long as usual to get to the bus with my kid, there are huge slush puddles, 8-inch-wide sidewalks and enormous snowbanks everywhere and public transit is just barely recovering. Come back when the apple trees are blooming in a few months.
posted by Cygnet at 7:35 PM on March 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

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