Children in Singapore
Children in Singapore
Bringing yours along may be your ticket to meeting locals. Family is very important to Singaporeans. While older relatives are treated with upmost respect, children are the jewels in the crown. Most places are extremely child-friendly. Singaporeans bring their children to more places, and later at night, than most Westerners would. Nonetheless, the physical streets of Singapore aren't particularly stroller-friendly. For walking with babies, a baby-sling is probably the most practical option. Singaporeans usually carry their infants around in their arms rather than wheeling them. Many pavements are uneven and there are a lot of stairs, including very steeply angled pedestrian bridges over highways with no ramp alternatives to cross very busy roads. Keep a close eye on toddlers as traffic can be fairly frenetic. If you're renting a car, don't forget to arrange for a car seat when you reserve.
You won't need to leave your children behind often as they're welcome almost everywhere in Singapore. Still, if you do need a babysitter, your hotel is likely to have contacts with dependable babysitters; they're most likely local student teachers or nurses. For general advice about traveling with children, consult Fodor's FYI: Travel with Your Baby (available in bookstores everywhere).
Singapore is largely safe for kids with the proviso that you should watch them carefully in areas with dense traffic as motorists are typically impatient and speedy. Singaporeans express their affection for children openly, so on the whole you shouldn't misinterpret such displays by strangers of either sex as signalling something more sinister. Although mosquitoes are well under control in Singapore, they may bother young children, especially when trying to sleep at night. Ask a pharmacist or doctor's advice on which brands of mosquito repellent are best for children. Prickly heat rashes can also be a problem; try dousing your children in talcum powder as a preventative measure. Children should wear light shoes on the beach and when paddling. It's not a good idea to pick up interesting-looking shells on the seashore, as tropical waters may have a few nasty surprises.
You may also need to watch out for the effects of spicy local food. Carry a couple of rubber bands with you to tie the ends of chopsticks together; it makes them much easier to use. Most importantly make sure your children keep hydrated, and wear hats and sunscreen when out in the open. If your child becomes unusually tired, headachy, or grumpy, or if their urine turns orange, it may be due to lack of liquids.
Sights & Attractions
The Singapore Zoological Gardens has elephant and pony rides (S$2), daily feedings, and entertaining animal shows. The whole family can even camp out and "sleep with the beasts" here. The Jurong Bird Park has educational programs for kids of all ages. Seeing animals in the dark at Night Safari can be a very exciting experience for children. All the exhibits at the Singapore Science Centre are hands on and designed to pique children's curiosity about how things work. Many of Sentosa Island's attractions—such as Fantasy Island's water slides, the Lost Civilisation and Ruined City gardens, and the multicolored Musical Fountain—are geared for kids.
Supplies & Equipment
Most department stores, supermarkets, and pharmacies, particularly in the Orchard Road area, stock basic child-rearing supplies such as disposable diapers (locally known as "nappies"), baby talcum powder, bottles, etc. A wide variety of milk formula and milk-powder brands is available; check the milk-tin labels to ensure they're meant for babies, as it's common to use milk powder for ordinary home and adult use in Singapore and not all of these brands are suitable for babies. If you need fresh milk, you may find the Australian imported brands have a more familiar taste than some of the local brands. Local department stores, especially Takashimaya, all have well-stocked children's sections.
Taxis can legally carry up to four children if they're accompanied by one adult. Fares on trains and buses are partly determined by height. Children up to 3 feet (0.9 m) tall and accompanied by a fare-paying adult may travel free. If they're taller, but under 8 years old, they're eligible for a S$6 stored value card. Individual fares then cost around S$0.50 per ride.
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