Traveling with Children

Traveling with children can be a challenging experience. The novelty of new circumstances and places may lead to major disruptions in their usual sleeping and eating patterns and behaviors. Here are some suggestions to make the trip a little easier and safer for both you and your child. 

Air Travel:

The change in air pressure during takeoff and landing can lead to discomfort in the ears of small children. Older children should be instructed to swallow, yawn or chew gum. THey can also pinch their nostrils together and try to push air out through the nostrils. Feeding an infant during takeoff and landing may help. If your child has had a recent ear infection, it is probably safe for them to fly when they are under treatment, no longer have ear pain and no longer have frontal headaches or sinus discomfort.

Road Travel:

Driving in many developing countries can be very dangerous as a result of poor road and automobile conditions, a lack of travel regulations and unsafe driving practices of local drivers. If you plan to drive, learn the local rules of the road. Automobile rental agencies in many foreign countries do not have car seats so be sure to take along a car seat for any infants and toddlers. Have your children ride in the back seat and speak up if your driver is driving too fast.

Food and Water Safety:

Precautions for children are essentially the same as for adults. View the Food and Water Precautions page for more information.

Traveler's Diarrhea:

If your child develops diarrhea, the most important thing is to prevent dehydration. Consider bringing along pedialyte or oral rehydration salts. These should be available at most pharmacies. Ask your pediatrician for additional recommendations.


You should apply sunscreen with SPF 30 or greater to your child's skin. It should be reapplied frequently especially after swimming or sweating. 


Neither you nor your child should swim in any fresh water bodies such as rivers, ponds or lakes, particularly in Asia and Africa. The water may harbor parasites. Swimming in well treated pools and the ocean is safe.