Travelling with Children

Travelling with Children

Travelling with children can be a very rewarding experience. To maximize the adventure of international travel, be informed of vulnerabilities, be vigilant for potential risks, and be safety conscious.

Vulnerabilities and Preventive Measures


Children are more susceptible to diarrhoea and vomiting, and may exhibit more severe symptoms.

  • Keep a supply of oral rehydration solution packets and antibiotics on hand (for more information on treating diarrhoea, see article Traveller’s Diarrhoea)

Seek medical attention if you child develops

  • Signs of moderate to severe dehydration
  • Bloody diarrhoea
  • Fever higher than 38.5OC (101.5OF)
  • Persistent vomiting


Children are attracted to animals and are at higher risk for bites and rabies:

  • Train children to avoid contact with strange animals.

Insect Bites

Most insect repellents, including DEET-based formulas, are safe for children > 2 months of age.

Sun Safety

A blistering sunburn during childhood is a strong risk factor for malignant melanoma later in life. Be sure to follow appropriate sun safety guidance. Visit our sun safety article for more information

  • Apply sunscreen with at least SPF30 and UVA and UVB protection (“broad-spectrum”) 30 minutes before exposure. Re-apply every 2 hours.

General Advice

  • Have a medical kit on hand at all times
  • Pack snacks from home for when children are hungry and safe food is not available.
  • Have portable games for entertainment on long flights
  • Use an appropriate car/booster seat for children < 36 kg.
  • Always buckle-up.
  • Always supervise children around water.
  • When going out, place identifying and contact information in the child’s pocket just in case they become separated from family members.
  • Air travel is safe for healthy infants and children.
    • To minimize ear pain, infants should nurse or suck on a bottle, and older children can chew sugar-free gum.
    • Most experts do not recommend sedation.

For more information:

Government of Canada (Page 16)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Foreign Affairs Canada

World Health Organization (Page 5)

UpToDate (Vaccines for children 0-6 yrs)

UpToDate (Vaccines for children 7-18 yrs)

About Us

Since 1936, International Medical Services (IMS) has strategically promoted safety and travel illness prevention. We have extensive experience sending short and long term expatriates to every continent and major travel destination (including Antarctica).

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