Barbados – the Baby-Friendly Holiday Island
Barbados – the Baby-Friendly Holiday Island
Going anywhere is a little more difficult when you have a baby, even visiting the local shops. If you are planning a holiday, you’ll face the same issues going local as you will going long haul, so you shouldn’t let having a baby in tow limit your horizons, provided, of course, that you choose a destination which is baby-friendly. For those of you who dream of the perfect Caribbean escape, you’ll be pleased to know that Barbados is one such place. Here, we’ll explain why.
Flying to Barbados
One thing that can worry parents is how their baby will cope with a long-haul flight. This often depends upon individual children. If your child generally travels well in a car, chances are they’ll be fine on a plane. Many babies will sleep through much of the journey anyway and most airlines provide bassinets, i.e. small travel cots, where you can lay the baby while it sleeps – freeing you up to enjoy the inflight movie or take a nap yourself.
Restrictions on liquids brought onto planes do not apply to baby food, so you are able to bring food, water and milk onto the plane as hand luggage – though, for security purposes, you may be asked to open and taste it. You should bring enough food for the journey plus additional food to cover any flight delays.
If you have the chance, try taking a non-stop flight as these shorten the journey time considerably. British Airways and Virgin Atlantic both fly from Gatwick to Bridgetown in under 9 hours. Flights with stopovers can be around 13 hours or more.
If the prospect of taking your own buggy to Barbados seems an unwanted hassle, don’t panic. There are now several companies on the island that hire out baby equipment for holidaymakers. These offer top brand products that are clean, well-maintained and safe to use and they are delivered straight to your accommodation before you arrive. You’ll also find these come with umbrellas or covers which are very useful for keeping your child in the shade.
Child-friendly car hire
Although Barbados is a small island with excellent public transport, quite a few visitors, especially those with young children, opt to hire a car for getting around and exploring the sights. Car hire companies can provide child safety seats and sunshades while some of the buggy hiring companies mentioned above can offer an even wider range of baby-friendly equipment, including baby carriers and travel systems.
Keeping baby cool
Being in the tropics, Barbados is a hot country all year round, especially during the summer months. Luckily, you’ll find most accommodation, as well as shops, restaurants and other indoor places, have air-conditioning. Every hotel and resort will also have at least one swimming pool for cooling off.
When you take your baby out into the sunshine, make sure you dress them appropriately with a hat, cool and loose clothing and UV protection swimwear. On the beach, you can put them under a sunshade to keep cool, though do remember to use high factor sunscreen or sunblock on their skin. You can hire sunshades for the duration of your holiday from the baby equipment companies or you can rent one along with a lounger from many of the beach clubs.
Essential baby items
Items like disposable nappies, baby food, formula and wipes are widely available in shops and supermarkets in all the tourist areas. You’ll also find many of the leading UK and US brands on sale too, though these might be more expensive than back at home. However, it means you won’t need to use up your entire baggage allowance in order to feed your baby on holiday.
If going to the supermarket seems like too much bother, you can always get your shopping delivered in the same way you can back home. Supermarkets, like PriceWhirl, let you order online and deliver to your door.
Although the mosquitos on Barbados aren’t the ones that carry malaria, they can bite. To protect your baby, make sure their cot is covered with a mosquito net (these can be rented from baby equipment hire companies) and dress them in suitable clothing if you go out at night. Mosquito repellent is widely available, though you should take suitable skin creams to treat any bites which do occur.
Getting help in case of emergencies
Every parent worries about what to do if their child is ill during a holiday. One of the biggest concerns about travelling abroad is the language barrier. Thankfully, Barbados is an English-speaking nation, so whether you need to visit a pharmacist or a doctor, communication will never be an issue.
Before leaving for your holiday, make sure you and your child have had all necessary immunisations and have purchased travel insurance that covers medical bills.
In the event of illness, ideally, you should contact your insurance company first as they can put you in touch with the most relevant medical practitioner. For emergencies, you can dial 511 (Barbadian equivalent of 999 or 911) or go to the nearest emergency service hospital, such as the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Bridgetown. For non-emergencies, the island has various community health centres that offer emergency and non-emergency services – some are open 7 days a week. Pharmacies can be found in most shopping centres.
Taking your baby on holiday requires a little more planning but shouldn’t stop you having a fantastic time. Here in Barbados, we have everything you need for your baby: great accommodation, equipment hire services, excellent healthcare and many of the branded baby products you’ll be familiar with from home. Hopefully, these will make your stay as hassle-free as possible.
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