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Travelling with Children – Travel Health

A poorly child or parent could ruin the holiday you’ve looked forward too for so long.

Before you go you should check if you or your children require any vaccinations.

Which Travel Vaccines Will We Require?

It really all depends on your holiday destination. It is always advisable to check with your family GP about vaccinations for you and your child at least 8 weeks prior to leaving.

There’s no Ache Like Toothache!

Make sure that all the family have a dental check before heading off abroad on holiday. Toothache can strike at any time and can ruin a family holiday. We all feel happier visiting our own dentist, searching for and trying to explain a problem to a dentist who doesn’t speak your language can be difficult and causes unnecessary tension.


If you intend travelling to Europe please do remember that during Summer temperatures can rise quickly and the risk of sunburn, especially for young children, increases dramatically, so it is essential to protect both yourself and your children from sunburn and heat exhaustion.

What SPF should I take with me?

The higher the SPF the better, but ensure that your sunscreen has an SPF of at least 15 and higher still for children

Choose a sunscreen which protects against both UVA and UVB rays.

Check the expiry date.


Limit the amount of time you spend in direct sunlight. Try to spend time in the shade, under an umbrella etc when the sun is at its highest – usually between 11am and 3 pm.

Limit the time children spend in direct sunlight. If travelling abroad make sure that children are always well covered with a high SPF sunscreen. Make sure to reapply it regularly.

If possible try to cover them with light clothing to avoid direct contact with the strong sunshine.

Re apply sunscreen to everyone if they have been in the sea or swimming in the pool – the cooling effect of the sea or pool tricks you into thinking you’re not getting burned.

Applying Sunscreen

You and your child’s skin is easily damaged by the sun. Always apply your sunscreen (as high a SPF as possible) before heading out into the sun and don’t forget to put some on your face, ears, feet and the backs of hands. There are sunscreens formulated specially for children and babies which are less likely to irritate their skin.

What should I do if I get sunburn?

Take a painkiller to help ease the pain. Sponge your skin with cool water and then apply after sun or calamine lotion.
If you or your child feels unwell or suffers swelling or blistering then seek medical help.
Stay out of the sun until the redness disappears.

Heat Exhaustion

If you or your child show signs of heat exhaustion – faintness, dizziness, nausea, confusion etc; they should rest in a cool place – preferably a room with air conditioning.

  • Give them lots of water –not alcohol or caffeine as these can increase dehydration.
  • Loosen clothing to ensure they get plenty of ventilation
  • Cool their skin by showering or a cool bath.
  • If neither of these is available wet cloths and apply to the
  • ir skin.

Be Sunsmart

The SunSmart campaign recommends that you:

  • Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or more.
  • Choose a sunscreen labelled “broad spectrum”, which means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays, with a star rating of four or five stars.
  • Apply sunscreen to clean, dry skin.
  • Use around two teaspoons of suncream to cover your head, arms and neck.
  • Use at least two tablespoons of suncream to cover all your exposed skin, if you’re wearing a swimsuit
  • Re-apply sunscreen regularly (at least every two hours) as it can come off through washing, rubbing or sweating.
  • Re-apply sunscreen after going in the water, even if it’s labelled waterproof.
  • Use sunscreen along with clothing and staying in the shade to avoid getting caught out by sunburn.
  • Don’t be tempted to spend longer in the sun than you would without sunscreen.
  • Don’t forget to check the expiry date on your sunscreen, and don’t use it if it has expired.

Don’t forget Sunglasses

Sunglasses can help protect your eyes, but not all are suitable.
When you’re shopping for your families sunglasses choose ones that have either

  •  the ‘CE Mark’ and British Standard (BS EN 1836:1997)
  • a UV 400 label
  • a statement that the sunglasses offer 100% UV protection

More Sun Safety Information

You can get more information about safety in the sun here : http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/travelhealth/Pages/SunsafetyQA.aspx


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