hintsandthings.co.uk »Nursery

Information on how to deal with environmental hazards when travelling with young children


I am always on the look out for interesting
and informative content to feature in Hints and Things and, as I am solely responsible for
maintaining and developing the site, I am always grateful for
co-operation from other sites.  This is no exception as the following
material was originally provided by
www.travellingwithchildren.co.uk but this site appears to have changed
ownership as is no longer relevant to this subject.

This Section deals with a
selection of exotic and rare environmental hazards, but it is important to keep in mind
that the biggest hazard to the whole family is

an accident.

Some of the circumstances we experience while away from home bring particular hazards
to our family. We are not only going to eat food which may have been prepared in less than
hygienic conditions no matter what star rating the restaurant has, and share toilet
facilities with complete strangers, but expose ourselves to unusual weather conditions and
come into contact with native insects. Most of us have experienced trips made gruesome
because of motion sickness, or have spent hours in the local clinic waiting to be seen.

When we travel to foreign lands we come into contact with bacteria and viruses against
which we have no genetic immunological defence. Not only that, but we sleep and wash where
strangers slept and washed the night before, and when some of the bacteria and viruses
people carry with them are so dangerous, why take any chances picking them up.

Bathroom Bugs

Even if your toilet facilities look clean, that doesn’t mean they have been
disinfected. It doesn’t take a minute to wipe the toilet seat- under as well as on top –
with a tissue that has a neat drop of essential oil of thyme on it. Remember too the
toilet chain and doorknob. Also it never hurts to wipe around the taps, basin and bath
with an essential oil tissue. Do it every day it’s worth the little bit of effort.

Bedroom life-forms

Every bed in the world is teeming with minute life forms that live off the dead skin we
are constantly shedding, and mattresses soak up whatever fluids are put on them. This
makes them a particularly hazardous area. As a precautionary measure, especially for your
children, pull the bedclothes back and wipe the mattress with a tissue on which you have
put a few drops of thyme, lavender and lemongrass essential oils.

Cuts and Grazes

Children are always grazing their knees and elbows but in hot steamy climates you must
take special care to avoid wounds getting infected. If your child is going through a phase
of falling over all the time, consider clothes that will protect the knees and elbows. Any
wound or break in the skin surface needs to be cleaned and then kept clean and dry. During
the cleaning process, check and remove any muck or gravel. If you have antiseptic,

dab this on.

If you are in an area with lots of flies or if the child is likely to investigate the
wound with his fingers, cover with a sticking-plaster. Plasters and dressings are not
necessary in the vast majority of cases; sometimes, of course, they help the child feel
brave, although removal can be uncomfortable too.

If the child has not received the course of three DPT injections (usually given in the
first six months of life) tetanus is a risk. An unimmunised child with a deep dirty wound
should have an injection of tetanus immonoglobulin as soon as possible, but anyway
within four days of the injury. Tetanus immonoglobulin is different from the
childhood tetanus immunisation.

If the wound becomes infected it will look red and angry, and will throb and become
more uncomfortable. Scrupulous cleaning followed by dabbing with a drying antiseptic
solution (dilute iodine or potassium permanganate) each time you change the plaster or
dressing will stop the infection before it gets hold. These measures work best if the
graze is small and the infection limited to a minor area of redness around the actual

An infected wound will probably require a course of antibiotics by mouth so you should
consult a doctor unless you feel confident you can deal with the situation yourself. If
the infection does not start to improve dramatically within 36 hours the wound needs to be
reassessed by a doctor

Remember the main
objective isn’t to get someplace it’s to have fun times together.