Richmond Practice - Travelling with children

Travelling with children
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What is important to remember when travelling with children?

Children and young people are generally more at risk when travelling than adults. It is essential that you prepare carefully for a trip abroad.

The most common illnesses experienced include ear and eye infections, common colds, skin rashes, sun burn, diarrhoea, chest infections and a fall or other injury.

We recommend the following precautions/treatment:

Sunburn - Bathe the affected area with cool water or use a cold compress. Apply calamine lotion and administer an analgesic such as Paracetamol. If the area is blistered keep it dry and cover any burned areas since they can easily become infected. If you travel with a baby, be aware of any possible direct sun exposure. Make sure you also have adequate (and safe) food and drinks available.

Prickly heat - Hot humid climates can cause the sweat glands to become congested as the skin sweats more in an attempt to get cool. This leads to a distressing, prickly sensation under the skin usually on the neck, back and chest and may show as a fine red rash with tiny blisters. The treatment is to bathe in cool water, pat dry, and powder with talc or apply calamine lotion.

Cuts, sores and insect bites – Keep the cut, sore or bite clean and dry at all times. Take special care where the climate is hot and moist. Always give malaria prevention tablets to children of all ages when in areas that pose a risk of infection. The doses for children are different from those for adults, so always check with your doctor or pharmacist before leaving home.

Animal bites – Encourage children to be careful around dogs and/or other mammals because of the risk of diseases such as rabies. Immediately, and thoroughly, clean any bite, scratch or lick.

Diarrhoea – Your child must quickly replace any lost fluids and salts if they are vomiting or have diarrhoea. Children become dehydrated more quickly than adults.

If your child suffers from a chronic illness you should make sure that you have enough medication with you. You should also enquire about local emergency treatment possibilities at your destination. Please ask your paediatrician for a certificate that describes the precise nature of your child’s illness. This will make any necessary treatment abroad both quicker and easier. In case of an acute illness, such as measles or chickenpox, you should postpone your holiday. At least, do not travel without having consulted your doctor or paediatrician. They can also issue you a certificate for your travel insurance.

Consult your doctor if:

  • you are uncertain whether a sick child is fit enough to travel
  • your child has sun burn and looses too much body heat and is shivering
  • there is a possibility that your child was bitten by an animal infected with rabies
  • a young child feels ill and especially when they are vomiting.
Our doctors and our paediatrician run a travel clinic and can assess your family’s health needs before you go away. We also advise on the most suitable vaccines and will administer most vaccinations and/or prescribe malaria tablets, for example. If a concern should arise while you are away or on your return home, our team can assist. We can also assess whether a sick child is fit to travel and if so, we will advise on making your journey as comfortable as possible.