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Traveling with Children

Before you leave, make sure you have the names and contact information for physicians, clinics, and hospitals where you can obtain emergency medical care if needed. All children should be up-to-date on routine childhood immunizations.

The recommendations for malaria prophylaxis are the same for young children as for adults, except that (1) dosages are lower; (2) Malarone is not recommended for children weighing less than 25 pounds; and (3) doxycycline should be avoided. DEET-containing insect repellents are not advised for children under age 2, so it's especially important to keep children in this age group well-covered to protect them from mosquito bites.

When traveling with young children, be particularly careful about what you allow them to eat and drink, because diarrhea can be especially dangerous in this age group and because the vaccines for hepatitis A and typhoid, which are transmitted by contaminated food and water, are not approved for children under age 2. Baby foods and cows' milk may not be available in developing nations. Only commercially bottled milk with a printed expiration date should be used. Young children should be kept well-hydrated and protected from the sun at all times.

Be sure to pack a medical kit when traveling with children. In addition to the items listed for adults, bring along plenty of disposable diapers, cream for diaper rash, oral replacement salts, and appropriate antibiotics for common childhood infections, such as middle ear infections.