Make sure that you take out travel insurance for each member of your family. Also bring a good first aid kit, sun protection, insect repellent, bite cream/ antihistamine suitable for babies or toddlers, a mosquito net, sterilizer tablets or bags and antibacterial spray or wipes.
Malaria is widespread in many countries in Africa and it is not advisable to take babies to these places. Other diseases which can be found in parts of the continent include yellow fever, encephalitis and dengue. Check NHS Fit for Travel or the WHO website in advance of booking to establish which diseases are at your destination and then visit your GP to seek his or her advice on whether or not travel there with a baby or toddler is viable. Make sure that vaccinations are up to date and take some basic preventive measures.
The World Health Organization recommends that all travellers be covered for diphtheria, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella and polio, as well as for hepatitis B, regardless of their destination. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the following vaccinations are recommended for all parts of Africa: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, meningococcal meningitis, rabies and typhoid, and boosters for tetanus, diphtheria and measles. A yellow-fever vaccination is not necessarily recommended for all parts of Africa, although the certificate is an entry requirement for a number of countries. It is likely that your child would need a number of these vaccinations and your Gp will be able to tell you if these are appropriate for your child’s age group. Some vaccinations can make you feel ill for a day or two and you will also need to consider the effect of this on your child.
The most likely ailment you or your little ones are likely to get is diarrhea and it is important to always use bottled water when preparing baby’s bottles and to only allow little ones to eat fruit that you can peel yourself. All food consumed outside of good hotels should also be cooked well. When it comes to injuries (as opposed to illness), the most likely reason for needing medical help in Africa is as a result of road accidents – vehicles are rarely well maintained, and the road quality is poor. Bring a car seat with you and avoid travelling in vehicles where you do not trust the driver to slow down where requested.