Archived Responses: 

September 2001

I'll be going to Kathmandu in December with my son who is going to be just over a year old then. We'll be staying at a friend's place, but we'll be going around in a taxi. I'd appreciate any tips pertaining to traveling with a baby in Kathmandu, from use of car seat, water, food, et cetera.

I was in Nepal about six weeks ago. While I saw a lot of infants and toddlers, I did not see any baby seats or strollers. Traveling in a taxi with a one-year old will be fine, but I would not expect the driver(s) to install your carseat, if you're taking one. We also travelled in very small mini-vans; all mothers in those held their children in their laps. As for water, always use bottled water, even to brush your teeth. Christine

I spent a year in Nepal, mostly Kathmandu, and one of the most shocking things is how dangerous it is to get around. You mention that you will be riding taxis, but not a single taxi that I came across had seatbelts, so your carseat will be useless. Many people there ride the buses with their infants--also a dangerous proposition and very uncomfortable but at least the bus is the biggest thing in the road, so it's somewhat safer than taxis. If I were to bring my child there, I would either walk everywhere (feasible, as it's a small city--even if your friends live in Patan, you can get around on foot) but bring masks because the air is terribly polluted. Or I would find out if it's at all possible that you use your friend's car (most expats have decent foreign cars with drivers) and install a car seat in that. Regarding water and food, your friends will have water filters and probably even staff trained to prepare safe food, and there are several foreign (ie Indian-run) groceries with familiar cereals, crackers, drinks if you want to buy your own food. Make sure you have closed-toe shoes for you and your child, as toes are a good way for disease to enter your body (if you stub your toe, or whatever). Also, for a child, I would probably have the rabies vaccine before going: lots of random animals roaming around (dogs, goats, monkeys, cows) and a child might get bitten and not let you know. I realize I haven't painted a very appealing picture, and it is a very rough place, but also quite delightful in many ways. And the Nepalis will love that you have a child with you. Have fun. alb1

I've traveled in Nepal quite a few times, but only once with our daughter. That was when we went to adopt her at 5.5 months in Kathmandu last year. In my experience, I would be extremely surprised to find a car seat anywhere in Nepal. I could be wrong, but considering that I have never seen seat belts in taxis, it seems unlikely. You might find seat belts in a private-use vehicle. One factor working in your favor in Kathmandu is that there is a lot of traffic and the roads are potholed so vehicles tend to move slowly. We did a lot of bouncing around with our daughter held very tightly in our laps. It is very easy to get sick in Nepal from contaminated food and water. I would urge the highest levels of precaution, considering you will be with a one-year old. I would only use water that you know has been boiled or treated, or bottled water in which the seals are intact. Don't drink any water that comes out of a tap, including accidentally in the shower, should you have access to a shower. Food should not be left sitting after being cooked. I would also worry about things being picked up off the ground and mouthed by a young child. I tend to worry a fair amount, but in this case I think precaution is in order. Lisa