Long-distance travel with small children

By Christina Rinkl

In parental leave with the baby to Thailand? On a summer vacation with dad and two-year-olds to Vietnam? More and more parents are opting for a long-distance trip with a small child. But does that really make sense? And how should families prepare medically? We have put together the most important facts.

They had planned their dream trip well in advance. Michèle Lohr and her husband flew to the Seychelles in autumn 2018: together with their daughters Charlotte (3 years) and Toni (1 year). So far away with two toddlers? "Yes, because it was just great and we would do it again and again," says the mother of two in retrospect. The family had previously obtained extensive information from the pediatrician and visited the website of the Federal Foreign Office. The doctor had recommended the children in addition against hepatitis To have A vaccinated, the family already had all other usual vaccinations. When the suitcases were packed, it could start.

Flying with a child – that can be relaxed?

11 hours flight with two small children – the idea of ​​sweating pearls drives many parents on their foreheads. “We find long flying more relaxed than long car trips. Because both parents have their hands free and can take care of the children. ”In addition, the plane offers more space and comfort than the back seat of a car. Three-year-old Charlotte ate her children’s menu on board, watched a Maya the Bee film and slept through the rest of the flight. “Our two children are very relaxed. So the trip was not a problem for us. ”

We have everything with us?

And on site, the sea at 29 degrees Celsius felt like a large, warm bathtub. The people of the Seychelles are very child-friendly and the hot, humid climate made the two girls less so than their parents. "They really enjoyed it and had a lot of fun." The only question the family had worried about in advance was: Did we think of everything and everything with us? The holiday showed that they had everything with them.

Consultation with the pediatrician is essential

So everything very straightforward, such a long-distance trip with a child? Not always and not necessarily. The main difference to a vacation in a neighboring country is the extensive preparation that parents have to take. A travel medical consultation with the pediatrician in advance is a definite must. The Center for Travel Medicine (http://www.crm.de) and the consultation hours of the tropical institutes also offer a lot of information. Vaccination protection must be checked and, if necessary, refreshed and important medication must not be missing in the travel bag. Also not in hand luggage if the suitcase is lost on the way. Important emergency and long-term medication should therefore always be half in hand luggage.

The suppositories are allowed to stay at home

Families should avoid suppositories when traveling to southern countries, as these can soften from 30 degrees Celsius. Juices or drops are more suitable. Incidentally, not only the passport is very important, but also the vaccination and blood group passport of every family member should be packed. Unmarried or single parents need a power of attorney from the other parent and a copy of the child’s birth certificate. This saves you a lot of trouble and stress in the event of an accident at the airport or with the authorities. Good foreign health insurance is essential. Envivas also offers this. (More information at https://www.envivas.de/tarife/reisekrankenversicherung#/beratung/reise)

Important: medication for nausea and pain

Those who travel far need good means for mosquito and sun protection. "Just like medication for nausea and pain as well as nasal spray," says pediatrician Dr. Martin Beck from Meckenheim. Nasal spray can already serve children well on the plane, just like chewing gum or gummy bears for pressure equalization in the ears Tips for you can find the first aid kit in the box). Medical doctor Dr. holds two more tips Martin Beck said it was indispensable: "Please do not drink tap water during the trip and do without adventure tourism." Because children have nothing of that.

You travel differently with children

Michèle Lohr and her family also took this recommendation to heart. “With children, you do other things on a long-distance trip. For example, we didn’t do a canoe tour or go on long hikes in the Seychelles, which we would have done together. ”And what was also clear for the family: no trip with a child to a malaria area.

The Center for Travel Medicine also strongly advises against this, since the disease can often be severe and atypical in young children, for example without a fever. High-risk malaria areas such as the Indonesian Sunda Islands as well as East, West and Central Africa should be taboo for families. Even altitudes above 2500 meters, such as the Himalayas, are not suitable for children up to school age. Because the altitude sickness can also run differently and atypically.

These travel destinations are ideal

Many destinations in Asia are well suited for long-distance family trips. Thailand, for example, is an ideal destination – also for families who are venturing on a long-distance trip for the first time. Infrastructure and medical care are good, and yet there are countless dream beaches and exotic nature. Children are very welcome here. Vietnam and the Seychelles are also good. Dubai is also ideal for a family vacation. The flight is comparatively short at five hours. And children of all ages and adults can experience many adventures in the desert state: For example, on a tour by jeep through the dunes. Mauritius with its flat sandy beaches is also a worthwhile destination.

With the baby to Africa

Eileen Lipphaus was in Namibia with her son – when he was a baby. “On the plane we sat in a row with a baby bed, leg room and children’s menu – it was completely unproblematic. Otto slept most of the time. ”And the family vacation this year in the Maldives was also a complete success. The family had deliberately booked a hotel on an island that can be reached by speedboat, and not just by seaplane. So that there are no transport problems in an emergency. "We had a wonderful time there and our son would like to go back immediately."

"Do you really want to do this to the children?"

Not all outsiders can understand that. "Such a long journey – do you really want to do this to the children? Better go to the Baltic Sea or Holland! There the little ones can also play in the sand. “Families who have booked a trip abroad must expect these or similar comments. There may be real concern in the concerns, but maybe a little bit of envy. Michèle Lohr also heard some of these sentences: “Have you thought about it well? Isn’t the sun there too strong for the children? ”It is good if parents stay calm and assure their surroundings that they know what they are doing and have prepared themselves in the best possible way.

Suits a long-distance trip to us?

Admittedly, a long-distance trip is actually different from a tour of the Black Forest or a trip to the Mecklenburg Lake District. Parents should consider before booking that most toddlers are generally less adaptable to heat and more sensitive to UV radiation than adults. And abroad they are more often affected by serious diarrhea.

Ultimately, therefore, only each family can decide for themselves whether a long-distance trip is right for them. If the pediatrician has no objections, the first-aid kit is complete, the destination is well chosen and the child is generally relaxed, such a vacation can be an unforgettable time for the whole family.

Kasten: It belongs in the first aid kit

  • Long-term medication of all family members – clinical thermometer – sun protection with high UV-A and UV-B sun protection factor (20 and higher) – insect protection (agents with Icaridin are suitable for children from two years. The active ingredient DEET is particularly effective in a concentration from 50 percent. However, this is only recommended from the age of 9.)

As well as medication for:

  • Diarrhea – electrolyte mixtures
  • Vomiting / nausea / motion sickness / cold / pain – with the active ingredient paracetamol
  • Sore throat cough
  • earache
  • Constipation / bloating
  • Stomach / intestinal cramps
  • eye inflammation

For first aid for injuries:

  • Plasters and bandages
  • Wound disinfection (a non-flammable solution such as Octenisept)
  • Anti-burn ointment
  • Ointment against sprains / sports injuries
  • Splinter tweezers (also suitable for removing ticks)


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