The Special Traveller: Kids
Some would argue that if a child is too young to remember a trip years down the road, then leave her at home. But if you are reading this chapter, you probably don’t agree! Traveling with children presents its challenges, but with a bit of extra planning and patience, it can be the best experience.
Why are they different?
- They are usually smaller than their parents.
- They may not understand all of the rules like “don’t eat that”, “stay away from the electrical outlet” and “leave the dog alone”.
- Their endurance, desires and culinary preferences will be different than yours.
- In the case of VFRs (see Chapter ), they are often high risk travelers.
- They may be too young for certain vaccinations.
- They tend to get sick more often, more quickly and sicker than adults.
How can you minimize the risks and your stress?!
- Plan ahead. What supplies will I need? Do I need to take a car seat? Diapers? Baby foods?
- Take along plenty of things to keep the kids happy ...books, dolls, games, batteries ...
- Ensure that his or her identification papers are in order. If you are traveling as a single parent, a legal document signed by the non-traveling parent should be obtained.
- If you will be traveling far from good medical care, learn how to recognize and treat common medical conditions that may arise in your children, and carry adequate medications and supplies.
- Consider MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children between 6-12 months of age if you will be taking the baby to a lesser-developed country.
- If you will be spending a longer time in Africa, India or Southeast Asia, consider pre-exposure vaccination against rabies for your children. Teach them to stay away from dogs!
- Try the Emla® patch to minimize the pain of the injections. Keep your teenage kids well fed and not too warmly dressed before their shots!
- Keep your kids from getting insect bites.
- With respect to antimalarials, mefloquine (Lariam®) is usually well tolerated in kids as long as it is taken with lots of food and water. Malarone® may cause mouth ulcers, especially in children with braces! Doxycycline is probably best reserved for adults.
- Kids get sicker with Traveller’s Diarrhea. The choice of antibiotic for more serious diarrhea in those 16 and under is Zithromax® (azythromycin). See Chapter .
- Kids are more prone to motion sickness. See Chapter .
- They may also get altitude sickness, though they may be less likely to complain about it.
- Make sure the environment where you are living is safe. Take a night light for small children, and outlet covers to use in hotel rooms. And don’t forget the sunscreen!