Travelling With Your Child
Traveling with a child presents unique challenges to every parent. You can make your next trip a more positive and enjoyable experience for the entire family if you adopt certain precautionary measures before and when you travel.
Pre - Travel Advice
- Make an appointment with a doctor about 4 - 6 weeks before your departure to determine if vaccination is required for your destination. The doctor would also be able to determine your child's fitness level for travel.
- Vaccinations can help prevent the following diseases:
- Meningococcal Infection (caused by bacteria: Neisseria meningitidis)
- Hepatitis A and B
- Japanese B Encephalitis
- Yellow Fever
- H. influenzae Type B
- Pneumococcal Infection (caused by bacteria: Streptococcus pneumoniae)
- Pertussis (whooping cough)
- Varicella (chicken pox)
- Obtain a letter from the doctor if your child has a medical condition and/or requires you to bring along medications when abroad.
- Pack a travel kit, which contains some first aid items such as antiseptics, dressing/bandages, sunscreen lotion, insect repellent, thermometer, fever medicine, oral re-hydration salts (for diarrhoea).
- Purchase medical/travel insurance.
Tips for staying healthy when abroad
When you have arrived at your destination, it is advisable to adopt safe measures so as to prevent diseases such as Traveller's Diarrhoea and Malaria. Some of these measures include:
- Food and Water Hygiene: General rule: Cook it, boil it, peel it or leave it
- Drink water that has been boiled or bottled.
- Avoid consuming ice, ice-creams and tap water.
- Canned or bottled beverages can be consumed. The mouth of the can/bottle should be wiped and dried before drinking.
- Eat food that has been thoroughly cooked and consume it while it is hot.
- Avoid salads, mayonnaise, uncooked vegetables, undercooked meat and shellfish, unpasteurised milk and milk products.
- For infants below six months old, sterilise milk bottles either by boiling them or using sterilisation tablets.
- Wash hands before and after meals, when preparing milk for infant and after going to the toilet.
- Avoid street vendor food.
- Train your children to wash their hands after going to the toilet and before eating.
- Mosquito Protection
- Consult your doctor regarding medication for malaria prevention.
- Wear light-coloured long sleeves and long pants where possible and apply repellents to clothing.
- Apply repellent sparingly only to exposed skin or clothing and repeat application every four to six hours if there is ongoing exposure.
- Purchase repellents containing 7 - 20% DEET for children and 20 - 35% for adults.
- Do not allow children to handle the repellent and avoid applying repellents to parts of children's hands which are likely to come into contact with their eyes or mouth.
- Wash the repellent off with soap and water when you return from outdoors.
- Sleep in closed, screened or air-conditioned rooms. Use mosquito nets that are free of tears. When indoors, use mosquito coils or electrical insect repellent.
- Swim only in chlorinated pools.
- Avoid swimming/wading in freshwater streams, canals, lakes and beaches which might be contaminated with human sewage or dog faeces.
- Avoid jellyfish, biting/stinging fish and corals.
- Never swim alone nor dive head first into an unfamiliar body of water.
- Always supervise your child when he is swimming or playing in water.
- Sun Protection
- Use sun screen with SPF (Sun Protective Factor) of more than 15, reapply after a swim or heavy exercise.
- NEVER place babies in direct sunlight
- Avoid midday sun.
- Travel kit
- Bring along your child's biodata, medical conditions, blood type, allergies, copy of immunisation record and emergency contacts
Services available at the children's travel clinic
The services listed are available for both children and parents.
- Vaccination / immunisation
Ensure vaccinations are appropriate and up-to-date
- Evaluation of traveller's fitness:
Patients will be asked questions about their medical health history so as to determine suitability of travel.
- Malaria prevention and chemoprophylaxis:
For travel to countries with endemic malaria, prevention of malaria is advised
- Food and water hygiene advice
Upon return from travel, booster vaccinations that are required will be given. Patients who develop symptoms such as fever, diarrhoea, vomiting, rashes or jaundice should return to Clinic M at Children's Tower Level 1 to be evaluated and treated for travel-related infectious diseases.
Parents who wish to adopt overseas children can bring their adopted children for routine childhood vaccination, screening for medical illnesses and infectious diseases as well as developmental assessment.