What To Do If Your Child Gets Sick On Holiday


The Law Of… Keeping Your Children Safe Abroad

Family holidays are a great way to build some fantastic memories and the last thing that you want to happen is for your child to suffer from a gastric illness.

Claire Rabbetts, Holiday Accident and Claims Specialist, provides some simple tips to reduce the risk that your child will get sick abroad, as well as some advice on what to do if they do.

How To Reduce The Risk Of Your Child Getting Sick On Holiday

Most children are naturally inquisitive and while you might be used to keeping an eye on them at home, while you're abroad, there are a few extra things to keep in mind:

Try To Stop Your Child From Consuming Swimming Pool Water

Aside from the fact it's likely that the chemicals will leave your little one with an upset stomach, if your child swallows swimming pool water they could be at risk of contracting a gastric illness. From the enquiries that our travel law team receive, we often find that children are more susceptible to waterborne diseases such as Cryptosporidium and Campylobacter, which can be found in swimming pools.

These pathogens can result in distressing symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting and nausea. Whilst it may be difficult to prevent your child from consuming the water from a hotel swimming pool while they're playing in it, by warning them against doing so or staying with them while they're in the pool if they're very young, you could reduce the risk that they'll become unwell.

Wash Your Child's Hands Regularly

As a general rule, young children like to touch everything. While this tactile approach to exploration is an important step in learning about their surroundings, it does present a health concern, particularly abroad where hygiene standards might not be the same as they are in the UK.

You might already take antibacterial gel on trips out in the UK with your family. Even if you don't, taking one with you on holiday and making sure to use it frequently could reduce the risk that your children will get sick.

Visit your local pharmacist or supermarket and take a look at what they have to offer. Many companies now offer child-friendly scented antibacterial gels that smell like fruits or sweets which are often preferable to younger noses, although we would recommend deterring smaller members of your holiday party from tasting them, as we doubt that they taste as good as they smell.

Check That Your Child's Food Has Been Cooked Properly

It's important to remember that in some countries, food safety standards can be different to what we expect in the UK. Although you might not need to check every meal they receive, for higher risk food such as cooked chicken and burgers, it's advisable to cut into them to make sure that they've been cooked all the way through (no pink bits), before your child takes a bite.

What To Do If Your Child Gets Sick Abroad

Even with the above steps, you might not be able to prevent your children from getting sick on holiday, but if they do suffer the symptoms of a gastric illness, there are things that you can do to help them:

Let The Hotel And Your Holiday Rep Know

It might not feel like a priority at the time, but by informing your holiday company representative and a member of staff at your hotel you're in a better position to receive help. Your holiday rep and/or hotelier might be able to arrange for a medical practitioner to visit your hotel room.  Alternatively, you could be provided with the details for the nearest medical centre and help with arranging transport.

The other reason that it's important to notify your hotelier, is that it might enable them to act upon an unaddressed hygiene issue. By doing so, you may help to prevent other hotel guests from becoming unwell.

Receive A Medical Diagnosis And Treatment

If a younger member of your family suffers from persistent diarrhoea, vomiting or fever, it's advisable that they see a medical practitioner and ask for a stool sample test. Most stool sample tests are designed to identify harmful strains of bacteria and parasites that could be causing your child to become unwell.

By identifying the pathogen that is making them sick, they should be provided with the most effective treatment.

Keep Your Family Hydrated

If a member of your family has lost fluids due to a bout of sickness and diarrhoea, it's important to ensure that you keep them hydrated. Stick to water, but if you're in a country where you're not sure if the tap water is safe to drink, only use sealed bottles of water.

This should help with the symptoms of dehydration, such as headaches and dizziness, however, drinking plenty of water shouldn't be seen as a substitute for seeking out advice from a medical professional.

Can Children Claim Holiday Illness Compensation?

Children are as entitled to claim holiday illness compensation as adults are, but they'll need someone to act as their litigation friend. This person will essentially represent them when talking to a travel law specialist and potentially other legal professionals if their case progresses.

How Can Simpson Millar Help If Your Child Is Ill Abroad?

If you would like to find out more about claiming for an illness abroad, get in touch with a member of our travel law team. We can provide you with a free no-obligation consultation, during which we can advise you if you're able to make a 'no win no fee' compensation claim, or if there are other options available to you.

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