When can I take my baby out of the country?

When can I take my baby out of the country?

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Unless your baby's doctor has advised against international travel, there's no reason you can't take your baby outside the country when he's just a few weeks old. But make sure you know the health risks before you go. Traveling anywhere on a plane means your baby may be exposed to colds, flu, and other illnesses, and you might not want to take that risk with a vulnerable infant.

For example, despite global immunization campaigns, some diseases – such as polio, mumps, and measles – are still a risk in some countries. Some experts even advise waiting until your child has been fully vaccinated against life-threatening illnesses before traveling internationally with him. (Most children are fully vaccinated or close to it by the time they're 2.)

If you decide to take a trip before then, your child's doctor can make sure your child's vaccinations are up to date and help you figure out which immunizations your child may need before you leave, based on your destination. You can also ask whether it's possible to speed up your baby's vaccination schedule (if necessary) to make sure he's protected while you travel.

Book these appointments four to six weeks in advance of your trip because it can take that long to build up immunity after a vaccination.

Your child's doctor may also talk with you about taking special precautions, such as using insect repellents and avoiding waterborne or foodborne illnesses.

You can get travel and health information specific to each country at the Traveler's Health website from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and from the U.S. Department of State's website.

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