Airplane Travel

  • When traveling with young infants on the plane, if possible you may want to use a car seat.  You should check with the airline if this is feasible.  There is the possibility that you may have to pay for an extra ticket.
  • Many parents inquire about sedation or “help with sleeping” for long trips.  While parents often use Benadryl to make their children sleepy for long plane rides, we do not advise this and would suggest that children be allowed to fall asleep on their own.
  • Finally, on take-off and landing, try to breast feed/bottle feed children or allow them to chew on gum.  This helps to equilibrate the middle ear pressure and prevents unwanted earache.

Mosquito Repellent

In 2001, the Environmental Protection Agency made the following recommendations regarding the safe use of insect repellant with DEET for children:

  • Do not apply to infants under two months of age.  (Skin permeability becomes similar to adult by the second month of life.)
  • Read and follow all directions and precautions on the product label.
  • Do not apply over cuts, wounds or irritated skin.
  • Do not apply to young children’s hands or near eyes or mouth.
  • Do not allow young children to apply products themselves.
  • Use just enough to cover the exposed skin and/or clothing.
  • Do not use under clothing.
  • Avoid over-application.
  • After returning indoors, wash treated skin with soap and water.
  • Wash treated clothing before wearing again.
  • Do not use spray solutions in enclosed areas or near food.
  • For use on face, apply to adult hands and then rub on face.  Do not spray face.  Avoid areas around eyes and mouth.

Experts agree that insect repellents containing DEET are the most effective.  Years of DEET use have resulted in relatively few reports of adverse reactions.  Most reported incidents have not been serious.

The American Academy of Pediatrics states that a 30 percent concentration is safe for both children and adults, but that 10 percent can be used for children if parents are concerned about the potential risks of deet or if the threat of disease-carrying mosquitoes is small.

Even when the insect repellent you select does not contain DEET, citronella and other more “natural” repellents could cause problems in a young child if used liberally on the skin.  Look into clothing that is both light for summer weather but also long to cover the skin, and use insect repellent sparingly.  Mosquito nets over strollers and car seats can also protect young children.


Choose a sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.  Babies under 6 months of age should be kept out of the sun as much as possible, and try to use a wide brimmed hat and loose fitting clothing to shield them.  For six months and older, we recommend at least SPF 30 strength sunscreen. Sunscreen loses its potency with age, so make sure your child’s sunscreen is not expired or over two years old.

Anthelios SX sunscreen (SPF 15) has been approved by the FDA as a safe and effective sunscreen against UVA and UVB rays.

How to Prevent Drowning (Source:

Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in children ages 1-4.  No child is ever “drown proof.”  However, you can significantly reduce the risk by using the following layers of protection:

  • Effective Supervision – Get in the pool with your child, even if they have a flotation device. If a child is ever missing, look in the water first.
  • Segmented Supervision – Designate a ‘Water Watcher’ who is responsible for keeping their eyes on all children who are in the water. Make sure everyone knows who is on duty.
  • Pool Fence – Ensure your pool has a four-sided fence at least five feet tall with a self-locking gate. Make sure the fence is at least 3-5 feet from the pool deck.  Remove all furniture that could be used to climb over the fence.
  • Window & Door Alarms – Make sure all windows and doors leading to the pool are locked and alarmed at all times. Remember, doggie doors can lead to unintended access to your pool.
  • Pool Alarm – Make sure you have a warning system installed to alert you if anyone goes into the water.
  • Survival Swimming Lessons – This training is crucial for children to have in the event of an aquatic emergency.
  • CPR Certification – Become CPR certified and update these skills annually.


Here are some general tips to keep you healthy during your travels.  For more extensive information, please visit the Centers for Disease Control website at

  • If you’re unsure of whether the drinking water or ice is safe, drink beverages that have been prepared with boiled water or are canned or bottled.
  • All raw foods are susceptible to contamination.  Be careful when eating salads, uncooked fruits and vegetables, and raw meat.
  • Do not eat food from street vendors.
  • Bring long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and a hat to wear whenever possible while outside, to prevent illnesses carried by insects.
  • Use bed nets treated with permethrin or deltamethrin.
  • Make sure you bring enough of your prescription medication to last you during your trip.  Also, you may want to bring a copy of your prescription.
  • To prevent fungal and parasitic infections, keep feet clean and dry, and do not go barefoot, even on beaches.
  • Do not handle animals.


Visit your doctor 8-12 weeks before your trip to receive necessary vaccinations.

  • These vaccinations (Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Tetanus-Diphtheria, and Measles) are recommended but are routinely given and will likely be up to date in all of our patients.
  • Risk of malaria may be high in some of the countries in this region. Antimalarial pills can be prescribed from your doctor or obtained from the clinics listed below.  Please call us or set up an appointment to receive medical consultation regarding this matter.
  • If you’re traveling to an underdeveloped region and especially if your trip is longer than one month, it may be recommended that you receive certain vaccinations.
  • Rabies vaccination is generally not recommended but may be necessary depending on if you will have extensive unprotected outdoor exposure in rural areas.

International vaccinations are available at these clinics:

International Medicine Center

Memorial Hermann Memorial City

920 Frostwood, Suite 670

Houston, TX 77024

713 – 550 – 2000

US Health Works

1414 S. Loop West, Suite 200

Houston, TX 77054

713 – 797 – 6106

US Health Works

17420 N.W. Freeway

Houston, TX 77040

713 – 466 – 0044

For more locations, please check:

Source: Infectious Diseases in Children June 2005



  • Increasing concentration relates to duration of effect, not effectiveness
  • Product choice (DEET concentration) is guided in part by expected time outdoors
  • 10% DEET –> two hours of protection
  • 30% DEET –> five to six hours of protection
  • 10% – 30% concentrations are safe to use on infants and children
  • May be used on infants and children > 2 months of age
  • Do not apply to hands of infants and young children, they may place the medication in the mouth by hands
  • Apply once, although an additional application can be used for extended time outdoors


  • Synthetic insect repellent alternative to DEET
  • Provides protection comparable to lower concentrations of DEET –> 1.5 – 2 hours
  • Not as damaging to synthetic clothing fibers as DEET
Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus
  • Plant-based insect repellent
  • Duration of effect of approximately 90 minutes
  • May not yet be available in the United States



16 active ingredients

  • SPF relates primarily to duration of protection, not degree of protection
  • Use products with broad UVR (UVB and UVA) protection
  • Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide provide the broadest UVR protection
  • Apply an appropriate amount of sunscreen and reapply it often (at least every two hours)
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