TRAVELING WITH CHILDREN : THE PRECAUTIONS TO TAKE FOR UNFORGETTABLE HOLIDAYS
Your plane tickets are booked and you can not wait to spend memorable holidays with your family ! To fully enjoy your vacations with your children, plan your trip ahead and follow some simple advice to avoid bad surprises.
BEFORE YOUR DEPARTURE
Everybody dreams of holidays on the beach or in a paradise location. However, when traveling with your children, you must choose your destination carefully. You must notably avoid the countries where the sanitation infrastructure is bad and where the level of hygiene is limited, as well as areas where dangerous endemic diseases are present, like malaria, yellow fever and meningococcal disease.
To make sure all will go well, you need to plan and prepare your holidays a few months in advance. Be aware that your children will have to get some vaccines before your departure, as they are at high risk of contagious diseases. They will need to see a doctor and get fully vaccinated against measles, rubella, tuberculosis, hepatitis B and flu notably. However, note that some vaccines can not be administered below a certain age. For more information, consult your national vaccination schedule.
Don’t forget to pack a complete medical kit, containing all the essential drugs and medical supplies (like oral re-hydration salts for example) necessary to face minor wounds and health problems. It is also safe to bring some food which can easily be kept for a while (like biscuits and small jars of baby food), as well as a few bottles of water. Pack clothes which are adapted to the season and the climate of your destination. Prefer cotton clothing, and avoid synthetic fabrics. To make things easier, put in your hand luggage everything you may need before and during your flight or train ride, like a bottle of water, diapers, baby wipes, baby bottles and a change of clothes.
FLYING WITH YOUNG CHILDREN
Traveling by plane is exhausting and annoying for infants and young children, especially if it is a long-haul flight. During take-off and landing, give infants a baby bottle or a feed, to ease ear ache and discomfort. Young children will be distracted by toys and books. You can also give them something to chew or to swallow.
DURING YOUR HOLIDAYS
During the first days of your vacations, your children will be affected by jet lag. They may have trouble to sleep, and will tend to wake up very early or very late. Be aware that they will need some time to adapt to their new time zone. To help them overcome this situation, take them for a walk outside and don’t let them taking long naps during the first days of your stay.
During car or boat rides, your children may suffer from motion sickness. Don’t panic ! Tell them to look straight at the horizon, and don’t let them read a book or do any other activity while moving. As soon as you go back to your hotel, put them in bed so they can have a rest.
Be especially careful about the food you give to your children. To avoid turista and other food-related diseases, they must never consume raw or under cooked food, water from the tape and unpasteurized dairy products. Be careful of raw fruits and vegetables : these must be washed with safe water and peeled before your children can eat them. It is safer to bring some of their usual food, like biscuits, cereals, milk and small jars of baby food. It is very important to frequently wash their hands with clean water and soap, especially before they eat.
If your children spend time swimming in the sea or in any other body of water, make sure the water is safe. This is very important to avoid nasty surprises like ear infections, skin infections and diarrhea-like diseases.
Always protect your children against mosquito bites during your holidays. They should always wear protective clothes and sleep under a mosquito net. They can wear Permethrin-treated clothing. If you apply mosquito repellent on their skin, make sure it is adequate for children. Be very careful if dogs and cats are around, and don’t let your children play with them, to avoid bites and scratches, which could lead to rabies.