Traveling Internationally With Children

May 9, 2011

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international-travel-childrenWhat are the main risks children face when traveling internationally?

The risks associated with travel vary depending on where one is going, for how long, the age of the person and any other medical issues.

  • For infants and toddlers, sometimes they need their vaccines early to make sure they are fully protected from endemic diseases when they travel.
  • Safety is a large concern for all traveling children — bring your car seat or booster with you as they may not be readily available overseas. No matter what the country's laws are, wear a seat belt!
  • Be mindful of the foods and water you and your child ingest. Avoid raw vegetables and fruits that may have been in contact with local water sources. Drink only bottled water — especially for younger children.
  • For any child, there may be additional vaccines needed to protect them prior to traveling.
  • There are some recommended medications for travel: Malaria prophylaxis, medication for diarrheal illness, etc.

We have a special Travel Medicine Clinic to help the Houston community prepare children who will be traveling overseas. Whether going for a week or a year, travel brings unique risks for children, many of which can be prevented by seeking the services of a specialist prior to the trip.

When should you begin preparing for your international trip?

Ideally, you and your child should seek medical care related to your trip 6 weeks or more prior to traveling. Many of the vaccine series take a month to complete. Then, it takes time for the vaccine to be fully effective. By seeking care and advice early, you can make sure your family receives all the necessary protections prior to travel.

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