What Should You Do When Traveling With Sick Baby Or Children

What Should You Do When Traveling With Sick Baby Or Children

A mother and her 14-month-old daughter who was infected with chicken pox was denied by a Malaysian airline to fly back to Malaysia. Read more about this incident and find out what parents should keep in mind when traveling with sick children.

Traveling is one of the most exciting things to do! However, to Izan Suhaila Mohd Ali, 36, traveling with sick baby, Mariam Sofea Mohd Reza whom later was deemed a health risk might be one of the worst nightmares.

They had been stopped as they were boarding the flight out of Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh airport on Saturday 18th May night. A Vietnamese airport doctor reported the baby as unfit to travel and the report was viewed by reporters. 

Traveling with sick baby: Baby 'unfit' to travel

traveling with sick baby

The report stated that the baby was found to have fever, watery eyes, runny nose and rashes on many parts of her body which meant she was traveling with sick baby who might be a risk to other passengers and claimed as 'unfit' to travel. 

AirAsia had made arrangements to fly mother and baby back for free once the child was deemed medically fit, and the mother said she already had accommodations in the city.

Izan's sister, Norhamiza Mohd Ali, however, had claimed that the AirAsia ground staff only dropped Izan and her baby off at a nearby taxi stand and did little else. She also said fellow passengers donated money to Izan after witnessing her predicament.

Malaysian Airlines to the rescue!

In a classic display of one-upmanship, Malaysian Airline System (MAS) had their own doctor to classify the baby as fit-to-travel. MAS then drove the family back to the airport and they boarded the flight and departed Ho Chi Minh at 4.40pm on Monday 20th May.

All these beg the question – are angry people who are supporting the mother who wanted to return home to Malaysia even thinking of the baby’s safety? The AirAsia doctor did not ground the baby because she posed a health risk, but for her own safety. The MAS doctor certified the baby as fit-to-travel two days later, by which time the chicken pox scabs may have dried and recovery started.

Related: H7N9 Malaysia bird flu alert: precautions to take

How to travel with sick baby or children?

Traveling by air is hard enough with a baby or a child, and it is ten times worse when the child is ill. Here are some tips to make things easier, although it will never be easy. Need we say it is better to not travel at all when a baby or child is ill?

- Having a plan and knowledge of exactly where to go in a distant land for medical attention if your child needs it. Google and read theAsianparent Malaysia's related articles before you travel!

- Scheduling a checkup with your pediatrician before your trip

- Any medical equipment that your child might need.

- A supply of all of the medications that your child needs.

- Getting your child a medical alert bracelet that will inform others in case he gets sick and you aren't around.

Traveling with Medical Supplies

It is pointless having your child's medical supplies if you can't get them through airport security or they are stowed away in your checked-in luggage.

- Ask for a visual inspection and declare your medications and supplies with a doctor’s note.

- Carry on your medications and supplies, making it easy for airport security to screen your medical supplies, and for you to find them in the confined spaces of airplane seats.

- Have clear labels on all medications.

Too ill to travel? WHO says little risk, but airlines fly on paranoia.

Passengers, even though we are sympathetic towards parents suddenly finding themselves confronted with ill babies in foreign lands, must behave responsibly. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has this to say.

“To minimize the risk of passing on infections, travelers who are unwell, particularly if they have a fever, should delay their journey until they have recovered. Individuals with a known active communicable disease should not travel by air. Airlines may deny boarding to passengers who appear to be infected with a communicable disease.”

The very same page also opens with this statement – “Research has shown that there is very little risk of any communicable disease being transmitted on board an aircraft.”


  1. World Health Organisation - International travel and health
  2. New Straits times
  3. thestar Online

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