June school holidays are officially here. After adhering to tight COVID-19 restrictions for so long, you and your kids deserve a break. But before you get that much-needed vacation, we’ll show you how to keep your kids safe during your travels, so you can truly enjoy your family holiday.
Travelling with kids is a whole different ball game versus travelling with your spouse or other adults. As the caregiver, you must book child-friendly activities and accommodations while being on the lookout for your kids’ wellbeing.
Protecting your kids from COVID-19, among other diseases and injuries, should be top priority as you venture overseas. Likewise, it’s imperative to be wary of theft, dengue, food poisoning, and such when travelling.
What’s the worst that could happen?
Right now, catching COVID-19 is one of the most-feared situations while travelling with kids. What do you do when your kid tests positive in a foreign country?
While there may be variations from place to place, this is a rough guideline on what to do next.
- If your kid tests positive for COVID-19, keep them isolated from other family members
- Get in touch with the country’s local health department
- Visit a local doctor and get the necessary medication and treatment
- Get the necessary medical records or doctors’ certificate to prove that your child has recovered from COVID-19
- Check your airlines’ guidelines/requirements for returning to Singapore
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), diarrhoea is a top illness children contract while travelling overseas in areas such as Asia (excluding Japan and South Korea), the Middle East, and Africa.
As a parent, you may do these precautions to prevent your kid from having diarrhoea:
- Consume fruits you washed and cut yourself
- Drink beverages that are sealed or boiled
- Food must be hot and fully cooked; avoid raw food
- Wash your hands with soap and water or use a hand sanitiser
Even if you’re hitting the travel route throughout the rest of Asia, Europe, Africa or South America, you’ve got to be careful of mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes threaten a host of diseases across many regions. These pesky bugs not only cause dengue, but also malaria, Zika, yellow fever, and chikungunya.
If you’re travelling to a country with prevalent cases of mosquito-related diseases, here’s how you can prevent your child from getting bitten by mosquitoes:
- Insect repellents
- Proper clothing
- If your baby is less than two months old, use a mosquito netting to cover their stroller or car seat
- Your child should be sleeping under a bed net, or in a room with window screens and air-conditioning
It’s not uncommon to hear cases of robbery in foreign countries. In some areas, even around Europe, your child may be a victim of pickpocketing.
Here’s what to do when you experience a robbery:
- Visit the nearest local police station and file a report of the crime
- Get a copy of the report
- Get in touch with your travel insurance right away to report the loss
- Submit the police report to your travel insurance provider and other necessary documents
Your child’s passport may get lost or stolen during your travels. For Singaporean passports, you must report this loss as soon as possible (within 14 days).
Here are steps to take if you or your child lose a passport:
- File a police report and keep a copy as supporting document
- Visit the nearest Singaporean overseas mission to get a Document of Identity. This will enable you to fly back to Singapore.
- Apply for a replacement passport once you’re back home.
Animal bites or scratches can cause your kid to be infected with rabies. If not treated immediately, it will be fatal.
How to prevent it:
- Don’t allow your child to play with stray dogs or cats
- When visiting petting zoos, keep a safe distance from the animals
- Inform your child that they must tell you if they ever get bitten or scratched
- Should your child be bitten or scratched, wash the affected area under running water, and seek immediate medical attention
Drowning and other waterborne illnesses
Drowning is the second-leading cause of childrens’ deaths while travelling. Kids and adults alike can suffer infections from freshwater areas, such as:
- Leptospirosis (a disease caused by bacteria; could lead to meningitis if left untreated)
- Schistosomiasis (parasite worms that live in freshwater and cause rashes)
Prevent drowning and water-related infection by:
- Never leave your child unsupervised, even in a children’s pool
- Make sure they wear a life jacket in the water
- Avoid swimming in unchlorinated water (ponds and lakes)
On-the-road injuries and accidents
Car crashes are yet another primary cause of injuries for underaged tourists. Children are safest while seated in the back seats, but some developing countries’ vehicles may lack front or rear seatbelts.
Thus, make sure you do the following when going on a road trip abroad:
- Ensure that the rental car comes with seatbelts, airbags, and other safety features
- Rent or bring your own baby car seat
Protect your family with travel insurance
You can’t really predict whether you or a family member will get into a bad scenario during your travels. The risks are higher when you have more people to look out for.
The best solution to protect your entire family from worst-case scenarios is a travel insurance plan. There are plans offered catered specifically to families, covering a myriad of instances including travel delay, theft, emergency medical or dental bills, and travel accidents.
Family travel insurance
Family travel insurance has two categories: single trip or annual multi-trip. Both insurance plans can generally cover you, your spouse, children below 18, family members below 25 and studying full-time, parents/grandparents, in-laws, grandchildren, and siblings.
Single trip plans are also generally able to cover around 180-182 days per trip. Therefore, Single trip travel insurance plans are better if you’re travelling for a longer duration.
Below, you’ll find the travel insurance premium quotes for a family of four (2 adults aged 38 years and 35 years, and 2 kids aged 10 years and 7 years). We used FWD’s travel insurance rates for these quotes.
In this scenario, a family of four (2 adults aged 38 years and 35 years, and 2 kids aged 10 years and 7 years) opt for: a trip to Japan in June 2022 for 15 days.
Single trip premium cost (estimate)
|FWD Travel Insurance||Single Plan|
|Premium – Asia (Japan trip, 10 days)||S$107.63|
Looking at the price costs between Single and Annual plans, Single plans are more worthwhile if you’re travelling less often, while Annual Plans would definitely give you more bang for your buck if you have heavier family travel plans.
Annual travel premium cost (estimate)
In this scenario, the same family of four apply for an annual plan, which is based on the region they pick for Japan (Asia).
|FWD Travel Insurance||Annual Plan|
|FWD Premium – Asia||S$630.90|
|FWD Business – Asia||S$876.61|
|FWD First – Asia||S$982.87|
Travel insurance plans include a broad umbrella of travel insurance coverage, such as overseas medical expenses, quarantine benefits, flight cancellations, and more. Coverage sums increase between the plan types: Premium, Business or First.
Taking a look at this annual plan’s coverage for medical, for one, the coverage sum goes from S$200,000 for FWD Premium -Asia to S$500,000 for FWD Business -Asia and finally S$1 million for FWD First – Asia.
Interested to know how much you’d need to pay for an annual or single family travel insurance plan (promotion discounts included)? Click on the tab below and get a quote – instantly.
Family travel insurance vs individual travel insurance
You may be wondering if it’s better to get a family travel insurance package than individual plans for your family. A family travel insurance plan generally has the same coverage as an individual travel insurance plan. Usually, it’s more cost effective to get a family travel insurance, and here are the reasons why:
- Insurers process your family’s application at a lower cost
- Insurers see your risks pooled together
As for family members with pre-existing conditions, there are ‘special’ travel insurance plans catered to people with pre-existing conditions. Singsaver offers plans such as these, like Etiqa Tiq Travel Insurance.
Compare and explore different family insurance plans available with us today.
Are your kids vaccinated?
It goes without saying that vaccinating your child from COVID-19 reduces the risks of severe symptoms and transmission.
It’s important to check the travel requirements of your destination as COVID-19 restrictions differ per country. These could include COVID-19 tests, proof of vaccination, and entry approvals or declarations.
This Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ travel guide lists down precisely requirements of each country in alphabetical order.
How to register your child for COVID-19 vaccination in Singapore
Currently, children from the ages of 5 to 11 years old may receive the Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine at a smaller dose.
To register your children for vaccination, they must be five years old or above, otherwise you can’t make an appointment.
The registration process
Children below 18 years old need their guardian’s or parent’s consent to receive the vaccine. They must bring a signed copy of their parental consent form upon vaccination.
Those eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine or booster shots can walk in any day before 7pm. No appointment is necessary.
Children aged 5-11 years old
Children within this age group can walk into any Paediatric Vaccination Centre with their parents or guardians.
If the child was a part of the MOE Vaccination exercise, the parent would receive a text to book an appointment on the child’s behalf.
The following children can register under child.vaccine.gov.sg:
- Those who are not under the MOE Vaccination exercise
- Individuals who contracted COVID-19 more than three months ago
- Those who did not finish their vaccination course
Children aged 12-17 years old
Teenagers in this age group can walk in any Vaccination Centre that offers Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty vaccines. Parents or legal guardians can register their children for the primary vaccination series at the Singapore vaccination website.
The following are your children’s primary requirements for a COVID-19 vaccine:
- Student Identification or other valid form of ID (birth certificate/passport/SingPass) for verification
- Printed or electronic copy of the Letter of Consent, duly completed and signed
Remember that your children should not participate in strenuous activities within two weeks after the vaccine administration. Seek medical attention right away if they experience abnormal heart beats, shortness of breath, or chest pain.
Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) rules for kids
As of 19 October 2021, unvaccinated children aged 12 and below may travel to VTL countries as long as they are in the company of a VTL traveller.
While unvaccinated children don’t need to undergo a quarantine period, they still need to take a pre-departure and on-arrival COVID-19 PCR test. Exemptions only apply for kids of the age of two and below.
More details on VTL travel for kids is available on the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore website.
If you’re looking for more ideas on how to jazz up the holiday with your young ones, this article on Holidays With Kids: How To Keep Them Fresh and Exciting shares some interesting insights.
Read these next:
Best Travel Insurance Plans With COVID-19 Coverage
7 Travel Insurance Plans With COVID-19 Coverage (2022)
Best Savings Accounts & Child Development Accounts (CDA) For Kids In Singapore 2022
Should You Get An Annual Travel Insurance Plan?
By Annette Rowena A Marian Anthony
Annette is addicted to the need for balance – between saving and spending, work and life, and Netflix and books. When she’s not looking for inventive ways to write about finance, Annette can be found with a cup of caffeine while scrolling on Insta reels and Twitter threads.