For any family who is planning to vacation abroad, there’s always one pressing question: Is it safe to bring my kids there? Luckily, for those who are looking into visiting Vietnam, the answer is always yes. Vietnam is not only one of the safest countries to visit in Asia, but the Vietnamese people are also kid-crazy. Locals, no matter where you are in the country, absolutely love children of all ages. No matter who or where you are, there’s always a loving and watchful eye being kept for any children playing or roaming around the area.
It’s not uncommon for Vietnamese people to walk right up to your kids and want to chat them up, squeeze their cheeks or tease them (in a completely harmless, ‘aunty’ or ‘uncle’ sort of way). Though the kids themselves may get a bit shy or embarrassed by this influx of attention, for the parents, it’s a nice feeling knowing everyone is looking out for the safety of the children.
But like any country in the world, there are some things that parents must be aware of when bringing their kids to Vietnam. The first thing, which is obvious to anyone who has been in the country for all of 5 minutes, is the traffic. The roads of Vietnam can be a dangerous and ruthless place, and generally cars and motorbikes are not used to people (especially young children) running into or around the road. When crossing the street in Vietnam, it’s done in a very slow, deliberate and conscious manner. Though in many western countries it’s common to run quickly across the road to get to the other side, this rushed-crossing is not something practiced in Vietnam.
Sticking with the road-safety theme, one of the most enjoyable ways to tour around the country is by bicycle. But whether it’s a busy road or quiet, side alley, parents should be extra-aware when their kids are peddling. Motorbikes can quickly and quietly pull out of houses, side streets and lanes, often without checking for traffic. Similarly, it's not uncommon for cars, trucks or motorbikes to cross into the oncoming lane to overtake another vehicle... So stay very aware and keep away from the busy streams of traffic! If your kids do decide to ride a bicycle, make sure they are extremely comfortable with their bike-riding skills and (obviously) always wear their safety helmets.
Another place to exercise caution with children is at the beach. The Vietnamese sun can be extremely hot, so make sure your kids are wearing hats, copious amounts of sun block and even sun-friendly clothing to prevent them from getting a nasty burn. Also when at the beach, make sure children never swim by themselves- no matter how strong of swimmers they are. There are some seriously strong and dangerous riptides on the Vietnamese coastline that can be trouble for even grown, professional swimmers. Make sure your kids always practice swim safety!
A final tip for both children and parents alike, is being aware of mosquitoes. These annoying buzzers may not only leave some bothersome, itchy bites, but also could be carrying unwanted diseases. Dengue Fever, an untreatable mosquito borne virus, does exist in different parts of the country, so make sure you wear bug spray, long pants/sleeves if necessary, and sleep with mosquito netting if there’s a visible mosquito problem in the area. Though the illness is not generally life threatening, it can completely ruin someone’s trip to Vietnam.
By observing these few basic tips (and following your general parental ‘rules of thumb’), traveling with children in Vietnam can and should be a fun, enjoyable and safe experience that will not be soon forgotten!!