Travelling with children
Children can become very ill from diarrhoea or respiratory infections. Diarrhoea can cause dehydration, which could become life-threatening for infants and toddlers. In non-Western countries, there is generally a greater risk of contracting infectious diseases. For most of these diseases, there is no vaccine. In remote places, it may also be difficult to contact health care professionals.
Subtropical and tropical countries
When deciding whether or not to bring young children to subtropical or tropical areas, you should always consider what is best for the child.
They should have been vaccinated with the first doses of vaccine against diphtheria/tetanus/ pertussis/poliomyelitis/Haemophilus influenzae infection/hepatitis B (DTP-IPV-Hib-HepB vaccine). Children should also have been vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR vaccine), so they should normally be 15 months old at departure to subtropical and tropical countries.
In special situations where younger children will have a longer stay in tropical or subtropical areas, such as with a relocation, it may be necessary to bring forward routine vaccinations. The first dose of diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, poliomyelitis and Haemophilus influenzae infection can be given as early as 6-8 weeks of age. The first dose of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine can only be given after 9 months of age. The BCG-vaccine is normally given at 6 weeks of age, but can be bring forward in special circumstances.
Thailand and other tourist destinations in Asia
For popular destinations in Asia, such as Thailand, there is no reason to discourage travel with children as long as you take the following precautions:
- Be extra careful with general hygiene, particularly hand hygiene.
- Delay travel until your child has begun to follow the childhood immunisation programme.
- Protect your child against mosquito bites during their stay.
- Children can be given the same travel vaccines and malaria tablets (see below) as adults, if approved for their age group.
Children under 5 years of age are generally more prone to severe malaria than adults. Small children should be well protected using mosquito nets, clothing and repellents. Children of all ages can use preventive malaria medication Consult your doctor for advice.
Children who are not yet mobile should be protected with an impregnated mosquito net over the bed, pram or playpen etc. Use insect repellents with care. Children absorb a relatively large amount of what is applied to the skin because they have a large body surface relative to body mass. According to the Norwegian Environment Agency, diethyltoluamide (DEET) is not recommended for use in children under 2 years. Use it with caution in children over 2 years and only on small areas of the skin and in lower concentrations than those recommended for adults.