China //

Children

Children in China are, thanks to the one-child policy, usually indulged and pampered, and foreigners travelling with children can expect to receive lots of attention from curious locals – and the occasional admonition that the little one should be wrapped up warmer.

While formula and nappies might be available in modern, big city supermarkets, elsewhere you’ll need to bring a supply (and any medication if required) with you – local kids don’t use nappies, just pants with a slit at the back, and when baby wants to go, mummy points him at the gutter. Similarly, changing facilities and baby-minding services are virtually unknown on the mainland outside high-end international hotels.

Hong Kong is the only part of China where children are specifically catered to by attractions such as Ocean World and Disneyland; elsewhere, the way that most Chinese tourist sites are decked up like fairground rides makes them attractive for youngsters in any case. Things to watch for include China’s poor levels of hygiene (keeping infants’ and toddlers’ hands clean can be a full-time occupation), spicy or just unusual food, plus the stress levels caused by the ambient crowds, pollution and noise found in much of the country – though it often seems to affect parents more than children.