How to Keep Kids Safe in Tonga
Tonga is a relatively safe country for kids thanks to the fact that it doesn’t have any major diseases, dangerous animals or a high crime rate. However, like travelling anywhere new, there is always a few risk factors. In Tonga, these can be issues from the climate to transport safety to mosquitoes. Take a look at health and safety tips for travelling in Tonga with kids that we list below for advice.
For more general health and safety advice, see How to Keep Safe in Tonga.
1. Go Heavy on the Sun Protection
It goes without saying, yet it’s one of the most important things to remember: keep your child protected from the sun. Due to Tonga’s tropical climate, the most common medical issues are sunburn, heat exhaustion and heatstroke. However, they can easily be avoided if you are serious about sun protection. Make sure your children wear child-friendly sunscreen as recommended in 5 Best Natural Sunscreens for Kids & Babies. Reapply every three hours or after drying off from swimming. A UV-protection rash vest is also a good idea to protect kids from the sun while in the water. Babies should be kept in the shade as often as possible. Try to keep kids out of the midday sun if possible.
2. Bring Your Usual Brand of Baby Formula
While Tongan supermarkets are well-stocked with baby food and formulas from some brands commonly found in New Zealand and Australia, it’s a good idea to bring your preferred brand of baby formula from home. A change in diet in babies can lead to bowel complications.
3. Make Sure There are Child-Sized Lifejackets
A lifejacket is an essential piece of safety equipment that young children should wear for any situation on the water, whether it’s kayaking or out on a boat. Make sure that tours or your resort’s watersports-hire have lifejackets specifically for kids. If you’re going to more remote areas and not staying in a child-friendly resort, then chances are child lifejackets will not be available. In this case, bring your own children’s lifejacket. See more gadgets to bring in 10 Must-Have Gadgets to Pack for Tonga for Kids.
4. Bring Baby Inflatables
A holiday in Tonga usually means a lot of time in the water, especially for kids! Make sure that they have all the appropriate buoyancy aids needed for their age and abilities, such as inflatable armbands and/or inflatable seats for babies.
5. Make Sure Children are Up-to-Date with Their Immunisations
For children over five years old, make sure that they have up-to-date vaccinations. See your family doctor at least 4-6 weeks in order to discuss what vaccinations are needed, as it takes a few weeks for vaccinations to take effect. Check for yourself too, as adults need boosters for some vaccinations. See Do You Need Vaccines to Travel to Tonga? for more advice.
6. Protect Them from Mosquito Bites
Not only do mosquitos leave itchy bites, but there have been outbreaks of dengue fever and chikungunya in Tonga in the past. With that in mind, it’s best to take all the sensible precautions for your children to avoid mosquito bites. Use natural mosquito repellent which is kind on children’s skin (see 10 Best Natural Mosquito Repellents for Tonga) and use baby mosquito nets. For more tips, see 10 Ways to Avoid Mosquito Bites in Tonga.
7. Bring Baby Electrolytes and a Thermometer
Too much sun or high humidity can lead to dehydration. If your little one does become dehydrated, be prepared with electrolytes made for infants, commonly known as baby electrolytes, as well as a thermometer to monitor their temperature. See What to Medication to Pack in Your First Aid Kit for Tonga to see more things to pack in your first aid kit.
8. Be Proactive if They Start to Feel Unwell
Although disrupting the holiday by going to the doctors isn’t always ideal, it’s much better to be proactive about an illness than to let it get worse. Local doctors are much more likely to know about local diseases and illnesses than your doctor back home.
9. Have a Plan in Case They Get Lost
Although there isn’t any particular reason why you might lose your child in Tonga, it’s always smart to have a meeting point everywhere you go. An additional precaution could be to kit your child out with a GPS tracker – try attaching a Tile GPS Tracker to their bag. See more tips like this in 10 Essential Tips for Travelling to Tonga With Children.
10. Make Sure Children are Included in Safety Plans
When staying in a hotel/resort, taking a ferry or on a tour, make sure that there are safety plans, like evacuation plans for instance, that include children. The ones that don’t is usually an indication that health and safety measures have not been done thoroughly enough and may be unsafe for children in the unlikely event that something goes wrong.