Whether you have relatives to visit or a romantic beach hideaway to revisit, if you're planning a trip to Mexico with a baby, you need to make advance preparations. Traveling to a foreign country -- particularly one where sanitation standards may or may not be what you're used to -- presents challenges when you have a baby. The heat in Mexico can also be more than you're used to and air conditioning less prevalent. Know what to expect and your trip will be memorable for all the right reasons.
Things You'll Need
- Travel paperwork
- Bottled water
Gather legal documents needed for foreign travel. You need a passport to travel into Mexico, but more importantly, you need it to get back into the United States. It doesn't hurt to carry a certified copy of your baby's birth certificate as well. If your baby is adopted, make sure you have proof that she legally belongs to you, such as adoption paperwork, that shows you're not trying to smuggle her into the United States. Take your health insurance cards or buy traveler's insurance. If only one parent is traveling, you need a signed and notarized document from you partner that you have permission to take the baby to Mexico.
Check with your baby's pediatrician. Make sure his immunization records are up-to-date for travel. In most areas of Mexico, he won't need anything more than standard immunizations. But if you're behind on immunizations or haven't given your baby some, like the one for hepatitis, catch up before you go. If you're going to areas where malaria is present, ask your doctor about malaria pills. Babies under age 2 months can take anti-malarial pills, according to Net Doctor, but it's better to avoid an area where malaria is prevalent. Get any other immunizations that your doctor deems prudent.
Pack bottled drinking water or consider taking ready-mixed formula if you bottle-feed. The cans or bottles weigh a ton, but you shouldn't give your baby anything but bottled water in Mexico. There's a reason they call traveler's diarrhea Montezuma's revenge. Even if the water is perfectly fine, it's not what he's used to and could cause gastrointestinal upset. Ask your doctor before you leave about anti-diarrheal medications and take them with you. Diarrhea can cause dehydration. Symptoms can include lethargy; a sunken soft spot on the top of the head; lack of tears; dry, sticky mouth; and dry diapers for more than three hours, according to MayoClinic.com.
Choose foods carefully. If your baby still eats jarred baby food, stick with them. If you wash fresh produce, use bottled water. Peel fruits and vegetables, if possible, before feeding him them. Don't give your baby dairy products unless you know they've been pasteurized and give him only well-cooked foods; uncooked food can contain roundworms.
Protect your baby from the sun and heat. The heat in Mexico can be intense and the air conditioning less plentiful. Ask your pediatrician about sunblock; many recommend against its use if your baby is under 6 months old. Bring a hat with a brim to shield his eyes, ears and neck and watch for signs of overheating; babies don't sweat like adults do and can't regulate their temperature as efficiently. Prickly heat can make a baby miserable; overheating and dehydration need immediate medical attention. Signs of overheating in infants can include sweating; rapid breathing; lethargy; poor feeding; irritability; or hot, red, dry skin.
Tips & Warnings
- Learn about the area you're traveling to so you know what types of illnesses or potential issues to expect.
- Call ahead to the place you're staying to make sure they have a crib and other baby gear for your use.
- Babies can dehydrate quickly and develop complications such as seizures. Seek immediate medical attention if you suspect dehydration.
- Certain areas in Mexico outside resort areas could be unsafe for your whole family. Gun battles over drug trade in border towns as well as carjackings could threaten your personal safety. Check with the U.S. State Department about areas to avoid and to find out any concerns about areas you plan to travel to or through.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Health Information for Travelers to Mexico
- BajaInsider.com: Traveling to Mexico by Land / Sea and Air
- NetDoctor: Have Baby, Will Travel
- FDA.gov: Should You Put Sunscreen on Infants? Not Usually
- One Sassy Doctor: Signs of Overheating in Babies & Toddlers
- MayoClinic.com: Dehydration
- Travel.State.gov: Travel Warning U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs: Mexico
- Photo Credit Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images