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Travelling with children

Will you be going away this summer? Taking the kids with you? There are a number of things you may or may not know that you should be aware of when holidaying with children.

Sun protection

Childhood sunburn can double the chance of developing skin cancer later in life. Be aware that the sun is at its most intense between 11am and 3pm and keep babies out of the sun altogether.

Use waterproof sunscreen with a factor of 30+ for children over six months. Apply it 30 minutes before they go outdoors, and reapply it every two hours and directly after swimming. Also be aware that water reflects the suns light and can multiply its effects and will penetrate water down up to 10 feet. Other reflective surfaces include cement and sand. Children should also wear light, cool clothing, a hat and sunglasses. A t-shirt will provide an SPF protection of 6-8 so applying sunscreen even with t-shirts on is essential.
 Importantly always make sure that your children stay hydrated throughout the day.

Pool safety

Children need to be watched constantly. Don't depend on a lifeguard who may not be trained to UK standards.

Inflatable's such as arm bands are great for playing in the water but should not be used as a substitute for watching a child's safety, as they can easily slip off especially when sunscreen is applied.

Teach children not to jump or dive onto shallow water, run by the pool or push others in.

The water can be unclean, so try to let children swallow it and avoid swimming after eating, especially following a big meal.


Children may need to be vaccinated against diseases in certain countries. Make an appointment with a travel doctor or your GP at least eight weeks before travelling so that you have time to fit in all the vaccines as they can't be given together.

Discuss with your GP taking a child’s medicine kit containing children's painkillers, such as Calpol, which contains paracetomal. Children Should NOT be given aspirin. The concern is that they could develop Reye's syndrome, a disease that affects all the organs in the body but is most lethal to the liver and brain. It is believed that aspirin does not cause Reye's syndrome but there is an association between taking aspirin during certain types of illness (flu, colds, chicken pox, ect.) and those who then develop Reye's syndrome. It is not only children who can get Reye's syndrome. It can affect teens and adults as well. You should never take any medication regularly without discussing it with a medical professional first. This includes aspirin or other pain relievers and even herbal or vitamin supplements. It is recommended that aspirin not be given to anyone under 19 years of age while they have any fever-causing illnesses. Aspirin may be listed in combination products as acetylsalicylate, acetylsalicylic acid, salicylic acid or salicylate, so be sure to check labels or ask your pharmacist. Other items to consider are sticky plasters, gauze, antiseptic spray, an insect repellent for children, calamine lotion and aftersun ointment.

Top tip

Take out travel health insurance - it's vital when travelling with children. If your child is taking prescription medicine, remember to stock up in advance of your trip.
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Editor: Ryan Cranston

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All content within this article is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Health Matters is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content of the Health Matters website. Health Matters is not liable for the contents of any external internet sites listed. Always consult your own GP if you're in any way concerned about your health. 

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