1,500 or 2,000 m: what maximum height and at what age?
Regarding the maximum height at which a baby can be picked up, we would be tempted to draw a parallel with the airplane. In this case, it is possible (or at least allowed) to travel by plane with a baby from the 7th day after birth. Nevertheless, the air there is pressurized to compensate as much as possible for the altitude and its consequences in terms of air pressure and oxygen.
Therefore, this comparison between aircraft and flight altitude has its limits. In the open air, this is generally advisable and in line with the precautionary principle be limited to 1,500 m for a baby under one year or 1,700 m for a toddler under 15 months. Cold, lack of oxygen, risk of insomnia or barotrauma (trauma to the tissues of the ear or sinuses associated with pressure fluctuations) are all reasons for this recommendation.
Also note that it can be cleverObtain a positive opinion from the medical profession, for example from the pediatricianwho accompanies the child to ensure that the baby does not have any medical contraindications (anemia, otitis, fatigue, heart problems, etc.). With the approval of your doctor, a holiday in the mountains is possible from the first months of your baby’s life.
Gradually increase to get used to it better
To help the baby get used to the height and avoid the risk barotraumatismit is advisable proceed in stages. By car, care should be taken to drive and drive smoothly when ascending or descending regular breaks, for example every 500 to 300 meters in altitude. Offering him a drink (breast or bottle) or giving him his pacifier can help him swallow and relax his eardrums, which are clogged by the change in pressure.
He is Traveling by cable car or chairlift is strongly discouraged with a child of younger than 3 years, because the ascent or descent via these devices can lead to eardrum damage or barotraumatic otitis due to rapid changes in altitude.
We sometimes speak of a “Pic du Midi” otitis because the cable car from this summit takes its travelers to an altitude of 2877 meters in just 15 minutes, which is a vertical drop of 1077 m.
Where to go in the mountains with a small child?
As far as it is not advisable to go to the high mountains with a small child due to the altitude, the Mittelberg is to be preferred. In addition, the temperature is milder: it is a little less cold there in both winter and summer.
Additionally, mid-mountain resorts are generally much more welcoming to babies (‘baby-friendly’, one might say), with a greater range of adapted activities and more accommodation equipped with childcare facilities.
Risks of otitis: pay attention to the baby’s ears
Rapid changes in altitude, and therefore atmospheric pressure, can cause ear infections in young children. We are talking aboutbarometric otitis media. Because if children and adults generally have the swallowing reflex to free their eardrums, this is not the case with babies. However, we can help them by tagging regular breaks when ascending (especially in the car) and by giving him something to drink, breast or bottle. The pacifier can also help with the sucking movements. At the first sign of discomfort (tears, pain, etc.), a good rest is essential.
Winter like summer, let’s not forget the sunglasses
Remember that in the mountains it is not only the differences in altitude and pressure that can be dangerous for babies! The sun is also to be feared, especially since there the UV index increases with altitude, about 10% every 1,000 meters. Snow reflects 80% of UV radiation!
Therefore, to protect the baby, we will opt for Sunglasses with protection factor 3 or 4etc Sunscreen SPF 50 to avoid sunburn, whatever your skin type (or light type).
Finally, you should know that mountain air is drier than outdoors or by the sea, to avoid ENT conditions favored by dry airHumidify baby roomwith a humidifier or simply by placing a damp cloth in the room near the radiator.