Travelling with children – The 5 biggest risks you should be aware of

 

Dr Ravi  Gowda

Children travelling present their own challenges. I guess as parents you can’t love ’em and you can’t leave ’em. So when you have no choice but to take your kids on your exotic travels, follow these top travel tips to ensure they have a great time but also come back safe and well.

Diarrhoea

Diarrhoea is the commonest illness in children who travel. Infants are best protected by breastfeeding where possible. The old adage…’If you can’t cook, peel or wash it then forget it’… still applies. Diarrhoea can be serious in children and result in dehydration so it’s important that you pack oral rehydration therapy such as Dioralyte

Malaria and other diseases spread by bugs

Malaria is serious tropical infection spread by mosquitoes. Children should be given medicines to prevent malaria if they are visiting a country where malaria exists. Your local travel health specialist can advise you on this. No malaria drugs are 100% percent effective so it’s important that they wear long sleeves and insect repellent containing 50% DEET. This is safe in children older than two months. It will also protect your kids from other insect borne infections such as Dengue and Lyme disease. Children should also sleep under the bednets at night.

Rabies

Rabies is more common in children because they are more likely to pet dogs and cats. Rabies is deadly and occurs in many popular holiday destinations. If your child is bitten or scratched by an animal then they should be assured that they won’t get into trouble and should tell you immediately. Bite wounds should be washed with soapy water and urgent medical advice should be sought as post – exposure vaccinations will be required.

Accidents

This is the leading cause of death of children abroad with drowning being the second. It’s therefore paramount that you use age-appropriate car seats and may need to take them with you as they may not be easily available in some countries. Children should always be supervised when playing near water and wear life-vests

 

Routine and travel vaccinations

Where possible you should ensure routine childhood vaccination schedules are completed. You should also discuss with your travel clinic to see what travel vaccinations you require, at least 4 to 6 weeks before you travel. If you are a last minute traveller,  it’s still worthwhile receiving vaccines.

Dr Ravi Gowda is a Consultant in Infectious Diseases and Travel Medicine and is also the Medical Director of Travel Klinix, Coventry. Travel Klinix offers travel health advice, vaccinations and health screening.  If you would like to book a free consultation you can enquire at https://travelklinix.com/booking-enquiries/  Tel:02476 016519, www.travelklinix.com