Risks for 2 year old girl
My son wants to come down the west coast of Africa with his wife, 2 year old daughter and his dad in 2 oldish Toyota 4x4 Land Cruisers.
What are the risks for my 2 year old grand daughter and where?
With your knowledge, would you do it?
Nope - would not do this.
Malaria in kids that age is really bad news.
It's obviously a very personal decision.
I haven't traveled the west coast but I have the east. We met several people traveling with kids. Most were older than two but one we met was only one year old. He was doing just fine and in many ways benefiting I think from all the new people, things etc. He was a very confident little guy!
BUT the difficulty with a child that age is they can't easily articulate when something is wrong. That "wrong" could be malaria which can become very dangerous very quickly in a young child. It could be heat stroke (again they don't regulate external temperatures so well).
And of course the west coast has several hot spots at the moment. Aid workers have been kidnapped in Niger in the past few days, Mali is also a problem. I do wonder if having a young child in such situations makes you more vulnerable, I guess it would almost certainly make you more stressed.
I'm sure they'll be doing their research but below are a couple of blogs from people I know have finished the trip in the last few months. If they read these (almost day to day) reports and still feel comfortable with what they're taking on then all's good.
March | 2012 | Rutters on Tour – African Episode
As a compromise they could consider traveling down the east coast. It is a softer option I think.
If they do decide to go for it they should ensure they have good insurance (medical evacuation etc) and that it isn't invalidated by traveling through the areas they plan to travel through and they should be fanatical about covering up the baby against mosquitos.
I'd be unhappy with that and wouldn't do it as a leisure trip. Just before his second birthday my son went from perfectly healthy and happy to an emergency hospital admission on a 90 min ferry crossing - and that was in Europe. They can't tell you they're not feeling well at that age, you have to work it out from their behavior and with all the other stuff that would be going on it's easy to take your eye off the ball and be grateful they're quiet for a while. I've seen young children with malaria in Mali and it's not a risk I'd have taken with either of mine.
"I did it and it was fine"
"I read a blog about a family who did it and they were fine".
Children under five especially DIE quickly and easily if they get malaria which is endemic - ENDEMIC - in sub-Saharan Africa.
You would be a prize ****in' idiot to voluntarily expose your child to that risk.
I can't say it any clearer than that.
No need to take my opinion on it - google the advice from WHO or anyone who knows what they are talking about and see what they say.
Risk for 2 year old girl
Many thanks for your replies.
I will forward them on to my son who is planning the trip
I question the risk of child snatching in some countries.
Traveling with Little ones
2 weeks after returning home she was taken ill, very ill! Off to hospital, I explained where we had been so a malaria was checked for. Also an idiot parent in her school didn't have their child vaccinated against measles, and was infectious so that was then checked for. Then phone calls to family and they contacted their local hospitals, and there had been an outbreak of dengue fever, so this was also checked for.
In the end it was found to be meningitis! Picked up after we returned!
This was very frightening, and I was prepared. Thankfully she made a full recovery!
If I am going away with my little one really off the beaten track I would carry a means of contacting help anywhere like a satellite phone. and a proper survival kit, with meds in it!
The correct treatment and advice were everything.
Oh and yes I will be traveling with her again. How else can she see and understand about the world other than the western bubble she normally lives in!
Overseas with the Little Ones
I'm not saying there are any rights and wrongs here, because as with any travel it is all personal decisions and I've gone to places on my own where I've been told I will be killed or die along the way- here I am to write about them.
I know and have met on my travels quite a few people who choose to spend time in sub-saharan Africa, with their kids, (and some who have given birth there!)
why are they there? well it's quite wide ranging...
not only through travelling, some through being missionaries, diplomats, oil workers, and NGO workers, naturalists and the many other jobs that take people overseas.
I'm sure there are also other places to get info about this subject, from people who LIVE rather than travel in these areas - it would probably b a good idea for your son to talk to people who are there or have been there.
My Dad was in the army and we travelled a lot, one of my brothers was born in a malarial prone area.
But as I said, it is personal choice what people do, we can only look at the information and then make a choice.
The Zapp Family
Here is the story of a very inspirational family who have travelled a lot and all four children born in different countries.
Tres Americas: We are
An interesting read.
I decided to put my slippers on for while when my daughter was born and took the opportunity to get my truck rebuilt!
Now she is three we are starting to think of travelling again.
They need to be old enough to understand why things need to be done, like taking malaria tablets, or drinking to survive, rather than because your thirsty.
The view of 'well, kids live there' is flawed, they also often die there in much larger numbers than we are used to. They also have a degree of immunity from their mothers and their parents are used to managing children in such an environment.
It also helps if they are old enough to have some appreciation of what is going on!!!
not black and white
I'm going to be unpopular and say ... it depends.
We travelled a lot when our kids were in the "under-2" category (though on a number of shorter trips rather than one extended one). Between the two kids, they hit Russia, Indonesia (northern Sulawesi), Morocco, Fiji, Madagascar (north and south), Egypt, Turkey, Jordan, Singapore, Iceland and a bunch of Europe before they (respectively) were 2. Madagascar and Indonesia were definite malaria and health risks when we went - but we went prepared.
There is a pediatric form of Malarone that can be given to kids under 2 to deal with the malaria risk. It tastes nasty (the coating on the tablet dissolves before the kid - or at least mine - manages to swallow it) but if you bury the tablet in a piece of soft candy, it goes down ok. (crushing it in applesauce, which is what the peds will recommend, does NOT work - just results in the kid hating applesauce for at least 6 months!).
You DO need to be very very cautious about dehydration - but some rehydration solution and a cautious approach handle most situations. Remember that germs in moderation are a GOOD thing and will make the kid more reslient in later life.
The under-2s are actually EASIER to travel with than the 4-5 year olds - because you can keep them more confined and closer to you. Normally they're just starting to explore things, and everything is exciting and new on a trip.
We were always in a vehicle and not on a bike - I'd think a bike would make the dangers worse.
If they DO decide to travel, make sure they know that:
- diapers can be hard to find in all but the larger towns. Bring your own!
- it can be difficult to find sunscreen in much of africa, and young kids (particularly but not only white-skinned) burn easily. Bring lots of sunscreen. And if you hire local babysitters, make SURE they understand how to use it. We had a problem in Madagascar where the babysitter claimed to speak french and claimed to understand, but really didn't - so our kids got a bit sunburned (we went scuba diving for the morning).
- they make hiking boots for kids - take advantage of them! Scorpions and spiders are a concern.
- make sure they have int'l medical insurance that includes an evacuation option - hopefully it will be like an umbrella, and bringing it means you never need it.
I tremendously value the experience of travelling to remote places with small kids - even though the kids don't now remember where they were when they were pre-2, I'm convinced it made them more adaptable and more open-minded as they've grown. At the very least, when they were 3-4 and we were reading children's books about rain forests, deserts, jungles and oceans, they had a real sense of what that meant ... And the memories that we have, and have been able to share with them as they've gotten older, are invaluable. I'll never forget my younger daughter, then about 18 months, in a small village in Madagascar staring down the crowd of local kids, and them staring back ... made for a wonderful introduction to their parents!
It's always a personal decision, but I don't think it should be dismissed out of hand. Preparation can take care of a lot.
If by "public school" you mean the local catholic school in Salford. You are spot on, and yes I have a strong opinion about this! I think not getting your child vaccinated is bad parenting! -> for heard immunity you should ideally all be vaccinated! in the USA you can not attend a state school without your vacinations!
"No federal vaccination laws exist, but all 50 states require certain vaccinations for children entering public schools. Depending on the state, children must be vaccinated against some or all of the following diseases: mumps, measles, rubella, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, and polio."
If I were to drive my car down a residential road at say 60mph /100 kph and children were playing out, parents would be upset with me for taking unnecessary risks with their child's safety...
well isn't not getting your child vaccinated the same... roll the dice and see if you can infect someone......
some of these diseases are life changing for the rest of your life, some kill too!
Back on the original subject... re-hydration salts / tabs are essential packing too.
Also malaria risk and would you want a young 2 year old to take that anti malaria sh@t
There is no credible evidence vaccination is damaging (and I mean proper, medical evidence, not internet hubris) and any notional risk you may wish to come up with is vastly outweighed by the dangers of the illness they guard against.
There is considerable evidence as to the risks of catching the diseases vaccinations guard against. Be under no illusions, they kill and they maim, and in sizeable proportions.
There is also considerable evidence that the incidence of these diseases is increasing in the UK now because we have fallen below the critical levels of vaccination, so not only do these idiot negligent parents put their children at risk, they also put others at risk.
failing to vaccinate your children is negligent, irresponsible and downright dangerous if you intend to never travel beyond our shores. To travel without doing so is beyond description or comprehension.
Those who fail in their parental responsibility in this way should spend less time reading the daily mail and more time looking at their responsibilities as a parent.
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