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Travel with a baby......

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Manchester
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Travel with a baby......

Hi,

We are looking to book a long haul holiday around Christmas and New Year, the first one with our (by then) 18 month old son.

We'd like to something like Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Malaysia, South America etc. Thailand, although we've been before, would be good as we loved it.

We were advised against all these destinations by Trailfinders because of infrastructure/potential problems if our lad was to become ill.

Does anyone have any experience of these destinations with babies or should I just stick to USA/South Africa etc?

Any advice much appreciated.

Charlotte, North...
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1. Re: Travel with a baby......

We have been taking our soon to be 4 year old to Thailand since he was 6 months old. Particularly in tourist areas, access to medical care is readily available. Even in out of the way areas, the fact is Thai kids get sick and hurt also, and there are doctors available that are able to deal with the matter. Even in the rural USA, there is not a pediatrician in every small town, so if something happened you would have to go to a larger town, but you would be faced with that problem in the USA, or anywhere else. Assuming you went to the popular tourist areas, Thai doctors are good, easily located, and almost all of them speak English.

The only down side of an 18 month old in Thailand is that the sidewalks are absolutely atrocious to try to push a stroller, and our son was too big to carry all day at that age, and too small to walk. The other problem (not unique to Thailand) is that you may have a hard time finding the baby care brands your child is used to. Good quality brand name products are easily found, but if the child is a picky eater, you may not find the specific product you are used to.

I see no reason to avoid Thailand with a young child. The small problems you will have to deal with are the same problems you would be faced with at any foreign destination.

Manchester
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2. Re: Travel with a baby......

I like your reasoning, makes sense. The advice is appreciated.

Thanks

bangkok
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3. Re: Travel with a baby......

Gooders1969

i'm afraid the other poster has probably taken a far too simplistic view of potential problems that may arise during your travels.

first of all i would like to say i have been here a number of years living/working/travelling in thailand. i have 2 children aged 4 and 8. we have travelled during school holiday times quite extensively thru thailand, Burma, cambodia, laos and Vietnam.

the secret is to plan thoroughly and do your research before making any decisions.

MAKE SURE YOU TAKE OUT FULL TRAVEL INSURANCE that gives you unlimited medical expenses!!!!!!!

First of all let's start with any potential medical problems that may arise. Before you leave make sure you are up to date with any vaccinations you may require. e.g. typhoid, japanese enchephalitis, hepatitis, tetanus etc. also you may wish to consider taking anti-malarials depending on which parts of the various countries you are visiting. visit a good reputable tropical medicine disease doctor for advice.

in regards to hospitals in thailand. like most countries there are private and public hospitals. most private hospitals are located in BANGKOK and other provincial cities (Phuket, chiang Mai), but not all. in those cases you are relying on thai government hospitals which are not as well equipped as private hospitals and have many doctors that are poorly trained and/or incompetent.

Even in BKK there are major issues even getting to the hospitals here if you need immediate life saving treatment. Why? the answer is traffic jams. the average response for an ambulance to reach you is 35 mins and then you have to get back to the hospital. even with sirens blazing trafiic will not move, drivers do not pull over and the police do nothing to help.

these traffic problems are much less in phuket, chiang mai, pattaya, so they may not be an issue.

the rule of thumb here is the more rural you go the more basic the services are and the less standard of treatment you will receive.

however having said all that there are many thousands of people who visit thailand every year with small children and the majority enjoy themselves with no real problems. and of course i am here as well. but no matter where we travel here or in the region i always find out where the closest hospital is, phone numbers here etc. it's not a case of dialling 911 or 000. some hospitals have their own ambulances, some contract out.

in summary

get vaccinated

do your research, gather info

come to thailand again

infrastructure is okay for the most part

be patient, it won't be plain sailing all the time

bkk3

i would perhaps suggest to reduce the number of countries you wish to visit. so why not just do Vietnam, cambodia, thailand and malaysia.

Manchester
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4. Re: Travel with a baby......

Thankyou for your advice. While I agree the other view may be simplistic, it is logical. Travel with children is always going to be a bit of a risk but it is about managing that risk - essentially what you are saying in your post.

At what point are the potential problems reduced? when he's 5? Older?

I think we will probably stick to Thailand as we've been before and probably not go too far off the beaten track. We'll probably do one other large city on route where I am more comfortable with the health service.

You have been very helpful though. Appreciated.

bangkok
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5. Re: Travel with a baby......

Gooders

i think turning 5 won't make much of a difference. but i do recommend to get all the necessary vaccinations and of course full travel insurance with unlinited medical expenses.

i'm afraid the other poster is being too simplistic, sorry to push the point. my spouse works for the UN here and i work (part time) for an NGO. between the 2 of us some of our health projects involve working with hospitals and health professionals in rural areas. most of mine are with refugees at the burmese border at Mae Sot, but a couple are in central thailand. i've seen the standard of medical care here and how health professionals work here. it's third world, pure and simple. but with time and more resources, better training etc etc hopefully things will change for the future.

i could go into all sorts of detail including my own experiences and observations but there is no convincing some people.. there are many many published reports about the standard of medical care in various regions of thailand. if you read them, you wouldn't come.

bkk3

Charlotte, North...
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6. Re: Travel with a baby......

BKK3

You insist on calling me "simplistic" and quite frankly I find that annoying. Does Thailand have problems? Certainly. Is Thailand a safe destination to take a child on vacation? Yes it is. Could that child or those parents be faced with a health care issue? Absolutely. Is decent medical care available in the tourist areas and major cities? It certainly is.

If you go to the rural areas of any large country, including the USA, medical care is likely to be far away. The vast majority of readers on this board will not visit the Burmese border areas. Whether that is right or wrong is beyond the scope of this thread. The simple fact of the matter is that in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and the beach resorts, decent medical care is easiily available. Even in Issan, good medical care is available within a 90 minute drive. If you are involved in a car crash in rural Thailand and seriously hurt, you have a serious problem. The other side of that coin is if you are involved in a serious car crash in the rural USA (or Australia, South Africa, Canada, or most other countries) you also have a serious problem.

7. Re: Travel with a baby......

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