Children and travel

Although children including infants are good travellers and adapt well, their resistance, especially to heat and infections, is lower. A child can suffer from acute dehydration very rapidly. 9 Air travel is not recommended for infants of less than 7 days or premature infants.

The change in atmospheric pressure on landing can cause distressing ear pain, so taking a bottle during descent is recommended.

In tropical areas it is important to keep children well hydrated and they should wear loose cotton clothing. A good guide to the health of children is the amount and colour of their urine. If it is scanty and concentrated they are not getting sufficient fluid.

Most vaccines (diphtheria, tetanus, poliomyelitis, BCG) can safely be given in the first few weeks of life. Measles is common overseas and it is worthwhile considering it even under 12 months. Yellow fever vaccine should not be given under 12 months. Hence the importance of protection against mosquito bites. Malaria prophylaxis is important. Chloroquine, proguanil and quinine may be given safely to infants. However, as a rule young children should be discouraged from travel.

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