Cruisin with kids: Caring for smallest crew members
Just like adults, children love cruising.
Todays cruise ships cater for the entire family like never before, with activities bow to stern to keep kids and their parents entertained.
But, cruising is not without its health issues even for kids.
The main concerns are:
SUNBURN Dont forget the sunscreen!
Use sun protection, wear a hat and drink plenty of water to avoid sunburn and heat-related illness.
Perhaps surprisingly, sunburn not seasickness is the most common health problem for kids on the high seas. In popular tropical cruise destinations like the Pacific islands, Asia, or the Caribbean the summer sun is directly overhead, its rays reflected off the oceans surface.
In addition, there is almost no haze to filter out rays, further increasing exposure. Even in temperate climates, the sun can still deliver a nasty dose of sunburn.
Use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or above and reapply every 2-3 hours. If kids are swimming, use a sunscreen that is water resistant and apply as per manufacturers instructions.
SEASICKNESS It can happen to kids, too
Kids get seasick, too. Queasiness, dizziness, stomach ache, sweating, headaches, yawning, and rapid breathing
its no fun.
Is your child likely to get seasick? If they can read or draw in a moving car without getting the symptoms, chances are they wont succumb on the high seas. If any of the symptoms of seasickness occur get your child to focus on the horizon, or have them lie down in an air-conditioned cabin with eyes closed and head still.
As a last resort, oral medications and injections are generally available from the ships infirmary.
ACCIDENTS Mind your step, matey
Most accidents actually occur on embarking and disembarking, although steep stairs, wet decks and unfamiliar surrounds can cause problems for passengers of any age. Explain the risks to older children early on and try to make cabins as child-friendly as possible.
Statistics show accidents are more likely to happen ashore: Riding motorbikes, parasailing, unpatrolled beaches, and uneven road surfaces and footpaths are just some of the hazards in ports of call, where medical services may be basic.
ILLNESS Take some basic precautions
Fellow passengers come from many countries, while crew members are often from developing countries with lower standards of sanitation and hygiene, and low immunisation rates.
The gastro disease, norovirus has become synonymous with cruising. Regular outbreaks plagued the cruise industry in recent years. Like norovirus, influenza and childhood diseases such as measles and whooping cough are difficult to avoid once introduced into the crowded, confined space of a cruise ship.
Teach kids the importance of washing their hands using warm water and soap before eating, as well as after using the toilet and using games, toys etc in public areas.
Travelvax Australia recommends seasonal flu shots for kids 6 months and older, as well as their parents. If required, boosters of childhood vaccinations are also advisable 6 weeks before you set sail.
Shore excursions, even short ones, may require vaccines and preventative medications. Check with Travelvax Australias travel health advisory service (1300 360 164) to discuss your itinerary.
More tips for cruisin with kids
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Travelvax Australia compiles this weekly bulletin of global travel health alerts, risk assessments and advice for the information
of Austrlaian travellers and the travel industry. Please contact our travel health advisory service on 1300 360 164 for broad
destination-specific advice and vaccination recommendations. Recommended vaccines, travel medicine, trip-specific
advice and accessories are available during a medical consultation with a travel health professional at any of
Travelvax Australians 32 clinics. Visit our website or call 1300 360 164 for details.
Source = Travelvax