While the jury is still out on whether it is advisable to take toddlers for a trip to Leh Ladakh that is so physically taxing, it can definitely be an enjoyable and enriching experience for older children. Of course, this is provided you take the necessary precautions well in advance. Being well prepared can help mitigate many challenges that the place may present, allowing your child to experience some of the best of what nature has to offer. Packing for oneself is different than packing for children as the potential to take risks is even lesser. Here is a list of packing essentials for children that should help you through good weather and bad in Leh Ladakh.
Weather in Leh can change colors very fast. It can be boiling hot one moment and turn freezing cold in the next fifteen minutes. Dressing in layers helps, this makes it easy to add or remove layers based on weather. Your packing checklist for children should include:
- Inner thermals
- Full t-shirts and pants
- Snow pants
- Heavy all weather jacket
- Woolen socks
- Woolen Caps or Hats
- Trekking shoes, gum boots
- Hand gloves
Besides regular toiletries ensure you carry a high SPF Sunscreen to protect their skin. Sun glasses are also a must have to keep their eyes safe from the harsh direct rays of the sun and the reflection of the snow. Chapped lips are a definite possibility in such cold regions, which is where carrying a lip balm also helps.
Remember to carry any prescription medicines for the child as also AMS medication as prescribed by the doctor. Acute mountain sickness can cause oxygen levels to drop to low levels, which can be dangerous for a child. Always carry a portable oxygen cylinder for you for quick administration in case medical help is not available nearby. Also carry generic medicine for kids for any cuts, scrapes, stomach problems, cold and cough etc.
ORS or Glucose
Since children often lose appetite at such high altitudes and forcing them to eat only worsens their condition, giving them an oral solution helps maintain energy levels while also keeping the body hydrated. Also carry small milk sachets or packets, in flavors they like in case the local milk is not to their taste. Hot chocolate sachet is also a convenient way to give them something warm to drink
Carrying an electric kettle can turn out to be inspired solution, especially when you are camping in a far out place. A warm drink at night can stave off the cold and help them sleep better.
Children can be picky eaters, especially in new places. Carrying plenty of snacks like nut mixes, biscuits, chips and chocolates which they can easily munch on, will help keep their stomachs full and spirits high. Precooked food like pasta and noodles can also help feed hungry stomachs when needed.
Carry plenty of activity books, games and puzzles as well as movies and songs for kids to entertain themselves while on the road. Giving them gizmo time can help as well. A good camera can keep them engaged while helping them chronicle the journey of a lifetime.
Remember also to carry sufficient cash as ATMs are limited along the way, to cover for any emergencies with kids.