Travelling with Children: Vaccinations Guide | Kids Clinic Singapore

Travel Advice for Travelling with Children

Before travelling with young children, get an all-clear from your child’s doctor about 4 to 6 weeks before departure.

What should I prepare for when travelling with my child?

 

Travelling 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

  1. Make an appointment with the pediatrician about 4 – 6 weeks before your departure to determine if vaccination is required for your destination. The pediatrician would also be able to determine your child’s fitness level for travel.
  2. Travel Vaccinations can help prevent the following diseases:
    • Typhoid
    • Meningococcal Infection (caused by bacteria: Neisseria meningitidis)
    • Influenza
    • Hepatitis A and B
    • Japanese B Encephalitis
    • Yellow Fever
    • Rabies
    • Poliomyelitis
    • Diphtheria
    • Tetanus
    • H. influenzae Type B
    • Pneumococcal Infection (caused by bacteria: Streptococcus pneumoniae)
    • Pertussis (whooping cough)
    • Varicella (chicken pox)
  3. Obtain a letter from the pediatrician if your child has a medical condition and/or requires you to bring along medications when abroad.
  4. 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 diarrhea). Purchase medical/travel insurance.

Motion Sickness

 

Motion sickness is a general term that includes car/sea/air sickness. It is a normal reaction to certain types of motion when you are travelling. Symptoms of motion sickness include nausea, vomiting, giddiness, turning pale and cold sweats. Children are the most prone to motion sickness, which occurs more often on cars and buses than on planes/trains/ships. Motion sickness tends to occur more commonly in children above 2 years old but improves when the child reaches 10 years old.

To avoid motion sickness:

 

  • Avoid full meals up to two hours before travelling.
  • If possible, do not offer food to your child while in transit. If you must, choose easily digestible foods such as bread, juices or canned fruit.
  • Discourage reading and colouring during the travel. Looking out of the window, engaging in travel games, playing with action figures or dolls are better diversions.
  • Face forward when travelling and look up to the horizon. Sit on the front seat of the vehicle. For the child’s safety, infants in rear-facing infant seats should not sit in the front passenger seat if the car has air-bags.
  • If your child is prone to severe motion sickness, approach your doctor who may prescribe medication to prevent such symptoms.

Jet Lag

 

Jet lag is the feeling of being maladjusted in your biological clock with the new time zone. It comes from travelling by plane across time zones. Symptoms of jet lag include daytime fatigue, disturbed sleep patterns and gastrointestinal problems. Travelling westward causes less jet lag than travelling eastward. Jet lag is usually less of a problem in children because they tend to adjust their nap and bedtime schedules more readily.

 

To reduce jet lag:

 

  • Rest well before long haul flight.
  • Try to sleep on the plane especially if you are eastbound.
  • Upon arrival at your travel destination, try to sleep at the night time of your new time zone and avoid day-time napping.
  • Do not plan a hectic schedule or a long drive on the first day of your arrival atyour travel destination.

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:

1. 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 when it is hot.
  • Avoid salads, mayonnaise, uncooked vegetables, under cooked meat and shellfish, unpasteurized milk and milk products.
  • For infants below six months old, sterilize milk bottles either by boiling them or using sterilization 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 beforeeating.

2. Mosquito Protection

 

  • Consult your doctor regarding medication for malaria prevention.
  • Wear long-sleeves and long pants where possible and apply repellents toclothing.
  • Apply repellent sparingly only to exposed skin or clothing.
  • Purchase repellents containing 7 – 20% DEET for children and 20 – 35% foradults.
  • 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 repellent-treated skin with soap and water after coming indoors.
  • Sleep in air-conditioned rooms/rooms under mosquito nets or with fine wire-netting fitted onto windows.
  • Use mosquito coils or insect repellents heated by electrical devices whenindoors.

3. Swimming

 

  • Swim only in chlorinated pools.
  • Avoid swimming/wading in freshwater streams, canals, lakes and beaches, which might be contaminated with human sewage or dog feces.
  • 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.

4. Sun Protection

 

  • Use sunscreen 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.

5. Animal Bites

 

  • Rabies is a serious viral infection which affects the brain and nervous system for which there is no cure. It is transmitted through animal bites/lick or scratches of dogs, cats, squirrels, foxes, raccoons, skunks, monkeys, wolves and bats. Pre-travel rabies prevention may be done through a series of 3 anti-rabies vaccinations.
  • Do not approach strange and wild animals.
  • If bitten by animals, wash the injured area with soap and running water, apply antiseptic to the wound and go to the nearest health centre for disinfection and anti-rabies vaccinations.
  • Avoid petting stray cats or dogs as once bitten, other bacterial infections can also be transmitted and antibiotics would be required.
  • If bitten by a snake, apply a pressure bandage and ice (if available), immobilize the affected limb and send the child to the near medical facility as soon as possible.

Post-travel

 

Should your child feel unwell after returning from travel or experience symptoms such as fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, rashes, yellow eyes, please bring him/her to the pediatrician for further evaluation and treatment.

 

Your child may also need to return to the pediatrician to complete the series of vaccinations given prior to travelling. If your child is taking anti-malarial medication, please complete the course which usually lasts until 4 weeks after return from travel.

Read other health topics related to travelling with young children:

About Kids Clinic

Because we believe that healthy children make happy parents. From newborns to toddlers, our experienced paediatricians are trained to meet a child’s health needs as they grow.

Our Kids Clinic branches are conveniently located in the heartlands for a fast and fuss-free visit.

A Singapore Medical Group Clinic

Incorporated in 2005, Singapore Medical Group (SMG) is a private specialist and primary healthcare provider with a network of more than 20 medical specialties. The Group is committed to its promise of providing patient centred medical care and experience to every individual. SMG has 35 clinics and a growing network of SMG Associates all across the island.

For same-day consults/ appointments, kindly walk in to our clinics directly.


For same-day consults/appointments, kindly walk in to our clinics directly.


For same-day consults/appointments, kindly walk in to our clinics directly.

For same-day consults/appointments, kindly walk in to our clinics directly.


For same-day consults/appointments, kindly walk in to our clinics directly.

For same-day consults/appointments, kindly walk in to our clinics directly.

Pin It on Pinterest

Search for:

Hello