Traveling with children adds a whole new exciting dimension to your adventure. Children find wonder in everything and inspire us adults to do the same. But they do come with a unique set of risks to consider and prepare for! Here are up our top 10 tips to help with travel health for kids to keep your family travel adventure fun and healthy.
1. SAFE DRINKING WATER
Water-borne diseases are very common and tap water will be unsafe to drink in many popular destinations. So, think about how you will get the kids to drink safe water, and avoid contaminated sources. The easiest option would be to take a purification device, such as the AquaPure Bottle. Bottles like these filters out viruses, bacteria and parasites. The special filter is built into a convenient bottle that you can fill up from any freshwater source and drink immediately. Using an AquaPure bottle also means you are reducing your single use plastic waste. Buy your AquaPure Bottle here https://travelshop.ie/product/aqua-pure-traveller-water-filter-bottle.
2. MESS MANAGEMENT
Kids inevitably come with spillages and grime so always pack quick-drying clothing! Consider taking some biodegradable clothing wash or all-purpose travel cleanser, so you can wash as you go. Buy your all purpose biodegradable wash here https://travelshop.ie/product/lifeventure-purpose-soap
3. TEACH ANIMAL SAFETY
Kids are much more likely to get have run-ins with animals than adults. Children can be curious, provocative and unaware of the dangers. Rabies is endemic in many parts of the world, and it may not always be obvious that an animal is carrying the disease. Keep them well away from animals and talk to them about the consequences before and during the trip. Kids will not always say if they have been bitten especially if the wound is small and they are worried they might be in big trouble. Check them over regularly for any potential bites & scratches. Always treat an animal bite abroad as an emergency and consider pre-exposure vaccinations for rabies which could be life- saving. Don’t forget the other vaccines too which greatly increase the chances of a stress-free healthy trip! You can book a travel consultation here https://www.tmb.ie/clinics
4. WOUND CARE AND ILLNESS ABROAD
Younger children are prone to cuts and bruises, especially due to exploring on holiday! They can put random things in their mouths/nose/ears, can pick up a bout of diarrhoea, and on average kids have 8 colds a year. Take a good medical kit that includes plenty of wound care, antiseptics, rehydration treatment (children get dehydrated VERY quickly), child friendly medications. You should always take a thermometer, so you can keep track of any fevers and know if/when to seek medical help. Buy your medical kit here https://travelshop.ie/first-aid-kits
5. PRACTICE HAND HYGIENE
Most bugs are spread via contaminated hands. Unfortunately, many kids deeply dislike washing their hands and the younger they are the harder it can be to get them to do it! SafeFood.Eu have some fantastic tools with character cut outs, videos, and stories to help make this fun. Hand washing with soap and water should always be step one but hand sanitisers are very helpful too, just be careful of ingestion! Take plenty along including mini versions that are easy to slip into hand luggage & day bags.
6. PREPARE FOR BREAKAGES
Kids break stuff all the time. Duct tape solves a lot of problems when it comes to children and the trail of destruction that they can leave behind: broken toys, rips in clothing, bags or mosquito nets…. bring a big roll, you’ll be surprised how useful it can be!
7. ENTERTAINMENT ON THE GO
Take easy-to-pack toys that spark creativity and maintain attention rather than ones that will quickly lead to a loss of interest. Good (and recyclable) options are sticker books, activity note pads, and colouring books. Also be creative – not all toys are toys. Use the things you find along the way. Do not take the most special prized toy – it WILL get lost and if it doesn’t you will spend the whole trip worrying that it will!
8. KEEP UP A SLEEP ROUTINE
Kids of all ages tend to fall asleep at strange times in new places. Try and get a good rhythm going as soon as you can, everyone will have a better time when they’ve had enough sleep. Save yourself from being trapped in uncomfortable positions – invest in inflatable travel pillows. This little bit of luxury might just free up your shoulders and prevent a few aches & pains. Small travel towels are compact to carry and can double up as a convenient cosy blanket for those long plane or coach rides. This fabulous giraffe pillow is on sale for €6! https://travelshop.ie/product/giraffe-neck-pillow. We have lots of adult options too!
9. SKIN CARE IN THE SUN
Kids’ delicate skin can be damaged easily in the sun. Take a high factor sunscreen and soothing aftersun. Keep them in the shade as much as possible and encourage use of hats and sunglasses. Don’t forget it doesn’t have to be super sunny for there to be high UV radiation and little ones should be covered up as much as possible.
10. PREVENT INSECT BITES
It’s safest to avoid malaria areas when traveling with children, but if it can’t be avoided make sure you are prepared with the correct malaria tablets for your children. Children of all ages can take them.
Even if malaria is not present at your destination, mosquitoes & insects can carry a number of other diseases and be very uncomfortable, so it’s best to avoid bites. DEET is safe to use from the age of two months (and ultimately much safer than getting malaria or dengue fever for instance, which can be devastating for children). There are a range of other effective insect repellents, too, which may be strong enough in non-malaria areas or that are safe for even younger children. Other insect bite avoidance measures to take include; using treated mosquito nets, using plug in room repellents before bed, and using insecticides on clothing. Just avoid any chemicals being ingested or getting in the eyes. We stock a wide range of repellents, plug ins and nets on Travelshop.ie and in our Base Centres: Grafton Street, Dun Laoghaire, Dundrum and Galway.
Book a travel health consultation with a Tropical Medical Bureau expert to discuss all the malaria tablet & bite avoidance measures recommended for your family.
Children are always welcome at the Tropical Medical Bureau and our travel health Doctors & Nurses will tailor their advice to your family. We’ll go through your individual trip and circumstances, making recommendations on how to keep everyone in the family safe & healthy. We are a friendly bunch and love to see families going away to enjoy themselves & broaden their experience of the world. Let’s make it the best experience possible!