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Going abroad is an exciting event for children. They are exposed to a strange new environment and get the opportunity to experience a different climate and/or time zone. These changes can make such an impression on a child that he or she can become quite out of sorts. Research has not yet determined whether these behavioural changes are only temporary or whether they can become permanent or serious. And the same applies to persistent physical symptoms, such as fever or signs of dehydration.

Children are at special risk of becoming ill while abroad because their immune systems are still developing and they frequently come into contact with various pathogens when they are playing.

Travelling with children

While travelling by car, bus or aeroplane you are to a large degree dependent on others for your safety but you can increase the safety of your child by using a child seat and/or a seat belt.


  • Flying is a safe way to travel provided children are healthy. Most accidents happen when a child sits on their parent’s lap. Many airlines therefore recommend that children use a car seat. This does require the purchase of an extra seat. Children under two years of age can sit on their parent’s lap, with a special children's seat belt. If in doubt about what is best please contact the airline.
  • During take-off, children can experience intense earache. Encouraging them to drink or chew reduces this risk. The effects of jetlag can be mitigated by adjusting a child’s sleep pattern to match that of the country of destination before departure. On arrival, encourage children to stay as active as possible.
  • The best way to prevent travel sickness is to use medication. Children with chronic cardiac and/or pulmonary problems can experience oxygen deprivation during a flight. If the child does suffer from such problems, consult a doctor before departure.

Car journeys

  • Car accidents are the most common cause of death for children who are travelling. Always use a child seat and/or a seat belt and if possible children should always sit in the back of the car.