It’s a Jungle Out There: International Travel Safety for Young Children


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International travel can be an adventure for parents with young children. Although young children may not remember every aspect of their experience, parents can fill in the memory blanks with plenty of pictures to remind young ones of their travel abroad. Families traveling internationally with young children need to take precautions so their children are safe at all times. Following a few simple tips will help parents prepare properly for their children's overseas experience.


Depending on your destination, international travel can require several immunizations. Check with your child's pediatrician to make sure all of your child's regular immunizations are up to date as well as to find out which shots are required for where you are going. Understand that some shots might make your children have flu-like symptoms for a few days following the injection. Your pediatrician will tell you how to treat these side effects as well as what to look for in case of any serious reaction. Children who are properly immunized before travel greatly reduce their risk of contracting a serious illness while traveling abroad.

Foreign Road Travel

Road trips in foreign countries can be especially hazardous for young children who are not properly buckled into a car seat. Make sure to check your child's car seat or booster seat with your baggage if you plan on renting a vehicle or spending any time riding in a car while abroad. If you use a taxi or car service, allow plenty of time to reach your destination and let your driver know you are not in a hurry. Also let him or her know you will reward slow and safe driving with a nice tip.

Safe Food and Drink

Great smelling food cooked in an open market might seem like a good idea while traveling internationally, but eating food that is not properly cleaned or thoroughly cooked can lead to intestinal problems. This can be especially dangerous for young children. Make sure to eat in restaurants that are clean and if at all possible, watch your food being cooked. Do not eat anything that is red or seems undercooked in any way, and never eat anything that is raw while overseas. Do not brush your teeth with water from a tap,  use only bottled water for teeth brushing, drinking and making infant formula as diarrhea-causing parasites from tap water can be numerous. Ask your child's pediatrician for a prescription for traveler's diarrhea medication that is safe for your children.


Hotel accommodations may not be up to the same standards as those in the United States. Pay special attention to outlets, exposed wires, balcony railings, pesticides and paint chips. Thoroughly inspect any cribs or child sleeping areas that are provided by the hotel for potential hazards. Never leave your child with anyone you do not know while traveling internationally, and never leave your children alone in a hotel room.


Make sure your child wears an identification bracelet with your contact information, and keep your child's passport with you at all times. Keep a copy of every family members' passport in another location, like your luggage, in case a passport gets lost or stolen.

Traveling safely with young children can be fun, but it requires being prepared and aware at all times.

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