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  Travelling with young children

Before you travel

For all the information you need to know about your child and his/her particular situation, consult with your physician two months before leaving. It goes without saying that some destinations are completely inappropriate for young children.

Prepare a “child specific” medical kit in addition to your own that contains anti-pyretics (in liquid or powder form), rehydration packs, sterilization tablets (for baby bottles), anti-vomiting medication, single-dose antiseptics, an unbreakable thermometer and saline solution. However, beware that any self-administered medication, without the advice of your doctor, can be very dangerous. It is essential to verify with your doctor the recommended amounts, instructions for use and compatibility.

Remember to pack everything that your child might require in your own luggage, as well as water for the trip, children’s sun block, a sunhat, authorized inflatable arm and body buoys, mosquito repellent (be sure to ask your pharmacist as some repellents are not recommended for children) and a repellent-impregnated mosquito netting.

Video tips

Malaria Prevention

It is strongly advised against travelling to a malaria endemic zone. If you cannot put off your journey, it is of primary importance that you protect yourself and your children from mosquito bites, notably by using a repellent-impregnated mosquito netting around your beds at night. Your children should wear long clothing when they sleep and use mosquito repellents on all exposed parts of their body. Ask your doctor or paediatrician for advice, as some repellents are not recommended for children. Your doctor will even be able to prescribe a preventive treatment adapted for your child that should be kept out of their reach.

If you have any problems whilst travelling, don’t wait until you get home to consult a doctor. Allianz Global Assistance’s emergency medical team is available to discuss any questions or doubts you may have about your health. We can provide useful advice and organize a consultation wherever you are.

Vaccinations

Consult your child’s vaccination booklet before leaving and have your family doctor make sure that your child’s vaccinations are up to date. Vaccination requirements might vary according to the country in which you live. Many national health authorities require shots for diphtheria, tetanus, polio and whooping-cough. Often, shots for the measles, tuberculosis and meningitis are not required. However, be sure to check with your doctor. It’s always preferable to have your child tested for tuberculosis before leaving, particularly if you will be travelling for a long period of time.

Specific vaccinations:

  • In some countries, it’s obligatory to have a vaccination against yellow fever; this vaccine, administered in authorized centres, can be given to infants at 6 months, but it is only obligatory for children 1 year and older. Beware! This vaccine is not recommended for children with allergies to eggs. 
  • There have been some cases of typhoid fever found in children returning from North and Central Africa, even after only a short stay. An anti-typhoid vaccination is strongly recommended and very efficient for children 5 years and older. 
  • Discuss with your doctor about a Hepatitis B vaccination. This will depend on where you are going. 
  • The Hepatitis A vaccine can be given as of 1 years old. It is particularly recommended for children going to North Africa. 
  • An anti-cholera vaccination is unnecessary.
  • An anti-meningitis vaccine can be recommended for children 18 months and older travelling to high-risk regions during the high-risk dry season. In case of an epidemic, this vaccine can be administered to infants 3 months and older. Discuss this with your family doctor.

In case of an early or rushed departure, certain vaccine associations or combinations are possible. Vaccines can be injected the same day in different places.

During the trip

Here are a few precautionary measures to follow: 

  • While in the airplane, have your child drink from its bottle during take-off and landing. Avoid long excursions in cars or buses, particularly in very hot climates. 
  • Absolutely protect your child from the sun: keep him/her in a shady, well-ventilated place. Give him/her plenty of water to drink and have them wear a sun hat, sun block and appropriate clothing. You should not expose a child less than six months of age to the sun.
  • Dress your child appropriately for the temperature. In hot climates they should wear lightweight, easy-to-wash, permeable clothing (cotton, linen etc.). In cooler climates dress your child in layers: It will help keep them warm and dry and they can easily remove layers if they get too hot.
  • Never allow your child to walk barefoot, particularly on sand or humid ground, as these surfaces can contain animal droppings, larva, insects, waste or rubbish. Be sure your child wears appropriate “beach” shoes. 
  • Remain alert at all times, notably when your child is swimming or near the water: pools and other swimming areas always present dangerous risks for children. A young child can drown in only a few inches of water. 
  • Due to the risk of parasites, do not allow your child to swim or play in ponds or rivers.
  • Never let your child play with animals he/she may meet along the way. They may bite your child and be infected with rabies.



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