Tropical Climates Demand Medical Precautions - My Family Travels

Tips on prevention and simple remedies if anyone in your family succumbs to common ailments while traveling in tropical climates with kids.

When traveling with young children to any tropical climate — the Caribbean, Mexico or farther afield — it pays to follow a few common sense tips to keep your crew shipshape: 

• Avoid the local tap water. Even in countries where the water is potable, little tummies may have trouble digesting some of the new minerals it contains. This goes for brushing teeth, as well as ordering drinks with ice, too. 

• Monitor toddlers carefully during bath time, so they don’t splash their eyes or try to swallow any bath tub water. Bring your own soap and shampoo to cleanse infants’ delicate skin. 

• Examine swimming pools carefully before allowing children in for a swim. If in doubt, ask your hotel about their pool maintenance routine. In very hot climates, it’s difficult to keep pool water bacteria under control and hard to detect its presence. 

• Allow children to eat only fruits and vegetables you’ve washed or peeled yourself. Tempting salads shouldn’t cause any problems in the best restaurants and hotel dining rooms, but better safe than sorry. 

• Never allow children to eat ice cream, frozen ices or chilled fruit drinks made on the street.  Unpasteurized dairy products are a real health hazard, and other cold street foods are probably made with tap water. 

• If you want to try foreign ‘street foods’ or dine in the colorful outdoor markets seen in many countries, order only items which have been fully cooked in your presence. 

•  Keep moist towelettes or a travel size bottle of antibacterial cleansing gel with you to “wash up” before a meal, after playground time, or after a stop at a farm or petting zoo. 

• Try to emulate the snacktimes and rest times your children are used to at home so they get plenty of rest. The excitement or anxiety of a new place can be very stressful for preschoolers. 

• Pack an extra coverup for each child so you can cope with too much sun or sudden chills when you’re away from your hotel. 

• Make up a Kids’ First Aid Kit with: any pediatric prescriptions, sunblock, children’s aspirin, thermometer, antibiotic cream, peroxide, colorful Bandaids, cold medication or antihistamine, and a soothing topical ointment for diaper rash, sun burn or heat rash.


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