Travelling with children is a unique and amazing experience for all the family but requires careful planning and preparation. Precautions must be taken in order for a holiday to be successful and this starts well before you leave, by ensuring they are protected against any potential diseases.
If you are going abroad and your child requires vaccines which are not available at your GP surgery, you will need to visit a travel specialist healthcare clinic before your trip. The specialist will provide you with both vaccine and non-vaccine related healthcare advice specific to you and your trip.
So, what do you need to remember for your little one’s appointment?
Most importantly, double check your child’s routine immunisations are up to date. They may require extra vaccines before travelling and you may also need to take other precautions. If unsure, contact your doctor’s surgery where they can print off a vaccination list for you, or you can check your child’s red book (personal child health record book) if you have one and you’re confident it was kept up to date.
The GP surgery nurse should however check this at your travel clinic appointment which you should book at least 6-8 weeks in advance of your trip, for up to date information on the vaccines your child may need.
What to bring
Each child born in the UK is given a personal child health record (PCHR) at birth, most commonly known as the “red book”. It documents important health records of each child including vaccinations. Please bring the red book with you to the appointment. The red book will assist our nurses in checking your child’s vaccination history and will allow us to maintain an accurate record following your appointment with us.
In addition, if your child has any medical issues, please bring the most up to date information to your appointment along with your red book.
Our travel healthcare nurses have extensive experience when dealing with parents and children, taking time to go through your child’s medical history, answering any questions and putting you and your child at ease. Bravery stickers are also awarded to all children who receive vaccinations.
Additional Child Vaccines
In addition to travel vaccines, we also offer chicken pox, MMR and Meningitis ACWY and B vaccines for children. Please contact your local clinic for more information.
Questions often asked beforehand
Are some children allergic to vaccines?
Although extremely rare, children can have an allergic reaction soon after immunisation. This may be a rash or itching affecting part or all of the body. The doctor or nurse giving the vaccine will know how to treat this. It is not necessarily a reason to withhold further immunisations. Even more rarely, children can have a severe reaction, within a few minutes of the immunisation, which causes breathing difficulties and can cause the child to collapse. This is called an anaphylactic reaction and occurs in only about one in a million immunisations. The people who give immunisations are trained to deal with anaphylactic reactions and children recover completely with prompt treatment.
Are there any reasons why my child should not be immunised?
There are very few children who cannot be immunised. In general, a vaccine should not be given to children who have had a confirmed anaphylactic reaction to a previous dose of the same vaccine. There are a very small number of children who may not be able to have one or more of the routine vaccines for health reasons. The practice nurse or doctor will ask you about the relevant conditions. You can also discuss any concerns with them about a specific vaccine. In some cases, babies and toddlers may be too young for some vaccines but this can be discussed in clinic with the specialist nurse. They will also provide you with detailed information on what additional precautions you can take to keep your child free from infections.
What if my child is ill on the day of the appointment?
If your child has a minor illness and is well in themselves without a fever, such as a cold, it’s ok for them to have their vaccines as normal. If your child is ill with a fever, we can reschedule the appointment for you to allow recovery time. This is to avoid the fever being associated with the vaccine, or the vaccine increasing the fever your child already has. If your child has a bleeding disorder or has had a fit not associated with fever speak to your doctor or practice nurse before your child has any vaccinations.
What if my child is taking antibiotics?
If your child has started antibiotics since the appointment was made, please call and speak to the clinic team to see if your child can proceed with having their scheduled vaccines.
Will my child have any side effects?
Usually children display very few side effects, however children like adults can develop a slight temperature and feel a bit under the weather for a day or two post vaccination. The specialist nurse will advise you on how best to manage a fever. However, if symptoms persist or get worse, we recommend contacting your GP or healthcare professional as soon as possible.
Here at London Travel Clinic, our travel health experts are always on hand to offer advice to parents travelling with children. You can book an appointment at one of our vaccination clinics today to ensure your children are protected against infectious diseases and are safe whilst travelling abroad.
Article last reviewed on 29/03/2019 by:
Denise Chalkley RN, RM, RHV, BSc, AMFTM RCPS (Glas)
Clinical & Operations Director for Travel Medicine
Denise is an associate member of the Faculty of Travel Medicine, and a freelance lecturer at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in Glasgow for the Faculty of Travel Medicine. She also lectures at the University of Hertfordshire teaching immunisations, tuberculosis, sexual health and travel medicine.