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Children and Travel

Children are likely to face most of the same health issues during international travel as adults.  Caregivers should be acutely aware of signs of distress or illness of infants and children in their care. If the little travelers have chronic conditions or are immunocompromised, special consideration must be given to their needs. Children can quickly become dehydrated, fussy and febrile. A few important tips come to mind, for example, only serve pasteurized dairy products and thoroughly cooked foods. Infant formula must be mixed with bottled water. Bring: your own car seat for safe travel, quick snacks to satisfy a hunger emergency, oral re-hydration solution packets(check out www.ceraproductsinc.com), childrens’ medicines appropriate to treat a fever or pain. Antimalaria medication prescribed by the child’s doctor will be based on weight and destination.  www.cdc.gov/travel has detailed information on malaria  including avoidance measures for mosquitoes and other pesky vectors. Repellents containing at least 25% DEET  is appropriate and safe for exposed skin on children over 2 months of age according to the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics.  Sunblock with SPF >15 is a must along with appropriate clothing to prevent sunburn. Keeping little hands clean is a near insurmountable task, yet exposure to disease from sand, soil and solid surfaces is common. Teach children  to keep away from animals that can potentially carry rabies. www.arlingtonpediatrics.com has some wonderful tips for a variety of common concerns. My hands-down favorite guide for parents traveling with children is found at www.kidsTravelDoc.com