No matter your personal travel checks, it’s a completely new ballgame when you’re travelling with children. There are so many health considerations to take into account, which is why it’s important that you consult with a health professional to discuss your travel plans. They will be able to give you the necessary tips for travelling with young children. Take a look at some of the important ones:
- Health risks for children
Many diseases are more severe in children, making it a higher risk to travel with a child who hasn’t been vaccinated. If you are considering a destination in Africa, there are a collective of vaccination schedules that you will need to take your child for, weeks in advance, to ensure that they are fully protected beforehand. Two of the more common vaccines are the flu and the malaria vaccinations. While many people might not catch malaria, you should never take the risk. If you’re wondering why malaria is found in Africa and not in other Mediterranean-climate areas, it’s a mosquito-borne parasitic infection. Anopheles mosquitoes thrive in regions with warm temperatures, humid conditions and high rainfall. This disease can be fatal, so take the right precaution to prevent anything from happening. And, if you plan on travelling with an infant, speak to a doctor as some vaccines have age limits.
- Transportation risks for children
Air travel: If you are planning on travelling on an aeroplane with your child, plan ahead to ensure that you have the right medicine to lessen ear pain, blocked ears or nausea. Depending on the age of your child, consult with a doctor beforehand as the pressure during landing can really affect their ears. Take plenty of chewing gum for them to chew on during the takeoff and the landing. It will help with their ears. If your child feels nauseous, it’s often caused by motion sickness. To avoid them from feeling ill, don’t let them sleep or read in the aeroplane because it will make it worse. Take nausea pills in case.
Jet lag: When you’re travelling through different time zones, jet lag may affect your child’s sleeping pattern. This may cause them to be irritable and tired, but do not let them take long sleeps during the day because it will worsen the jet lag feeling. Also, ensure that your child gets enough sunlight to acclimatise.
Road transportation: Depending on the age of your child, you might need to bring a baby seat along with you as road and child safety rules may differ across the country. It might also be useful because the appropriate seating for your child might be limited. If your child experiences motion sickness on an aeroplane, the chances are they’ll experience the same in a vehicle. Keep some nausea medication with you at all times to avoid an unhappy child and an upset journey.
- Environmental risks
Water safety: Especially if you’re travelling to Africa, be prepared for poor water conditions in areas experiencing drought. The water situation is on high alert at the moment, so do your research about the area before travelling. Apart from health, follow the correct safety precautions in unfamiliar areas where you will be taking part in water activities. Make sure your child wears an age-appropriate life jacket, and keep a close eye on their movements to avoid any accidents.
Animals illness: Wherever you go, be careful of animals. Your child might be an animal lover, but stray animals carry many diseases like rabies, which is transmitted from animals to humans and is incredibly dangerous for young children. Make sure you warn your child about the dangers of animals in other countries to help them be cautious about their affection for them. If your child is bitten or scratched, clean the area immediately with soap and water, and then seek professional help for further treatment.
If you’ve never travelled with children before, take the time to speak to a travel consultant and a medical professional. They will be able to put you at ease about the necessary precautions and travel tips to consider. Especially when you are entering unfamiliar environments, make sure you’ve consulted with someone who can guide you. Pack a travel kit with medicine and other items to assist with minor injuries such as a cut, sting, burn or bite. Keep emergency numbers on your phone the minute you enter a new town, in case something happens and you need to visit the local hospital.
Apart from the serious concerns, remember to enjoy yourself. It’s not every day that you get to travel and bond with your child, so be prepared and make the most of your holiday. If your child feels stressed or anxious in a new environment, keep some of their favourite sweets or food in your bag, with their favourite toy to calm them down. It’s just a matter of time until they get used to it. Soon you’ll be travelling like pros!