Appeal to Parents !

#1 Jun 30th, 2009, 19:20
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  • Dimitrz is offline
Dear Imikers

During my recent trip to Ladhak I witnessed lot of parents bringing children below the age of 15 to high altitude regions like Khardung la and Changla.

In addition to this they even stay at these heights for a long duration without realizing the risk they are posing to the children.

I was in particular shocked to find a parent with an infant; and another parent placing their toddler on top of a parapet facing a chasm (Khardung la )so that they could take a few photos. one sudden wrong step by the little one and he would have been history.

My humble appeal to all responsible parents - please do not risk your children's health and life for a few moments photo option. Couple of snaps that you can use to boast to your friends is not more important than your precious child's life.

Children are very susceptible to AMS and many parents wont even realize their child has AMS until its too late.

Let your child live and comeback when they are old enough to enjoy and remember these regions.

Once again my humble appeal please discourage yourself or anyone you know from bringing their children below 15 yrs to these high altitudes.


Request to Mod please make this sticky or have another thread in sticky mode where parents can be advised against endangering the lifes of their children.
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#2 Jun 30th, 2009, 21:42
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  • Yogesh Sarkar is offline
Whats wrong with taking a teenager to Ladakh? Infant and young children I can understand but kids up to 15years? No magic growth happens after 15 years which makes you invisible to AMS!
#3 Jul 1st, 2009, 12:55
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  • Dimitrz is offline
Hi Yogesh

I was referring 15 yrs as a baseline hoping someone with medical expertise can set the correct safe baseline.

I hope you will agree that its better to be safe than sorry

Also in most of the airlines children below 15 yrs are not allowed to sit near the emergency door
#4 Jul 1st, 2009, 13:05
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  • haringp is offline
does you message and warning pertain to only ladakh ?
becoz we were planning to visit north sikkim, there also we have high altitudes.
my children are aged 13 and 6 years.
But nobody in forum ( sikkim) has mentioned about any problems.
#5 Jul 1st, 2009, 13:23
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  • Saulteaux_woman is offline
what about the children who are rasied there. Dpes this also affect them?
#6 Jul 1st, 2009, 13:42
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  • Nick-H is online now
I think the intent of Dimitrz's post is clear and sensible.

It clearly relates to the dangers to young tourists, domestic and foreign, and seems to be a very pertinent subject.

Constructive discussion would be good...
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#7 Jul 1st, 2009, 13:48
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do agree with dimitrz. very small kids should be avoided atleast those who cant express their troubles & problems. its definately a tough place. and regarding the kids born and raised there, those kids are acclamatised to the severe weather and rough conditions. its normal for them. but suddenly changing altitude and temperature do effect body
#8 Jul 1st, 2009, 14:13
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  • Dimitrz is offline
Of course not Saulteaux_woman

Children born in Sahara desert have more tolerance to heat than children born in say England

Like wise Children born in these altitude can run around without any issues putting otherwise fit person from the plains to shame

haringp regarding your query

1) Altitude effect is the same where ever you are unless ofcourse you belong to that region and are used to it.

2) I have not been to Sikkim yet so cant comment, but incase you encounter high altitude say above 13000 feet then you need to take precaution ( as I say better to be safe than sorry)

3) One advantage that I can think of with Sikkim is unlike Ladhak it has a lot of green cover which supplies a decent level of oxygen into the thin air, something which is absent in Ladhak region

I believe someone with medical or scientific expertise can provide better insight into this matter - Any experts around ?
#9 Jul 1st, 2009, 14:24
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  • theicarus is offline
Ladakh has an average altitude of around 5000m (~20000ft) so yeah the OP's warning is justified. Anything more than 2000m is considered AMS risk, though as as has been correctly pointed out, that depends a lot on one's upbringing and genes.
#10 Jul 1st, 2009, 15:16
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  • hitanshu is offline

Your post brings up several loosely connected points, some of which need a medical opinion - not an individuals:

a. Posing for crazy photos
b. Bringing kids under 16 along (that can be a blanket statement - its better to qualify the acclimitization requirements)
c. Extent of stay above a certain minimum altitude
d. Parents wont even realize their child has AMS until its too late.

I can see what you're saying about a - the rest while genuine concerns, need to backed up with solid medical rationale - if acclimitization is done properly - why should the rest have any bearing?
#11 Jul 1st, 2009, 15:43
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  • alouise is offline
What a ridiculous dilemna the OT has raised!

My six-year-old daughter did the Jomson trek in Nepal,trekking up to 20 kilometres a day and going to high altitudes. No physiological or psychological problems then, or now. She's now 35, an accountant owning her own highly successful business whilst doing a Masters of Law in international taxation. Like, she can earn more in one week than I do in a year as a teacher!

If anything, the effect of that high altitude challenge on this 6-year-old (who carried her own backpack, no porters) was highly positive, in terms of bulding an unshakable sense of inner confidence that gave her the will to succeed.

Also, unbeknown to myself at the time I was doing this same trek pregnant with her younger sister (found out at Gorapani that it wasn't altitude sickness, but morning sickness) and she's now also academically successful with a strong-willed determination to succeed.

So I just don't see what the problem is for OT. If it's falling off a mountain, then I would say that most parents would probably not want to lose their child this way and would be supervising to make sure the child was safe. End of story.
Last edited by alouise; Jul 1st, 2009 at 16:03.. Reason: accuracy
#12 Jul 1st, 2009, 15:54
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  • ladagspa is offline
Hi All

I am 36 and was born and brought up in Leh till I was 17.
My sons aged 2 and 4 (born and brought up in Delhi) had no problem at all and not even discomfort as compared to me (a slight headache) while going to Khardungla. We did had a photo shoot, played in the snow and all.

Having said that we were acclimatised in Leh for few days before the trip.

Taking infants to such a height can be a problem. But barring till 15 years is a bit too much.

None the less ALL Tourist (young and adult alike) are advised to acclimatize. Rest the first day completely by sleeping/lying on the bed and waking up only to eat and nature's call. Not even walking down the Leh Market.

That should make your visit to leh comfortable trip.


Saulteaux_woman: Children of Ladakh do not face any problem. I as a kid used to stay near South Pulu for weeks and herding Cows/Yaks for grazing in the valleys near Khardungla.

Happy travelling

#13 Jul 1st, 2009, 19:33
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  • Dimitrz is offline
alouise I was referring more towards the sightseeing varieties trips, which sorry to say most of the Indian family indulges

Example the Rhothang craze , if it snows in Rohthang immmideialtly the news spreads throughout Punjab, Delhi and Chandigarh and hordes of ill prepared families with no idea about something called AMS rush for these places.

Its a totally different ball game when the concerned individuals are acclimatized

Off late the Rothang trend is happening at Khurdang la and Changla
and being at higher altitudes its a bit worrying when parents without any knowladge in AMS and acclimatization come to these altitudes unprepared.

classic example : we met a family who were boasting of how they did a cannonball run from Manali to Leh last night and saved time , they reach Leh only last night and next day they were in Khurdang la- when I asked them about mountain sickness and they were clueless and though I meant sickness caused by driving around curving roads.

End of the day I am not loosing anything by not putting this thread but if one thread and reach the eyes or ears of some unsuspecting parent - then I believe I would have done the job. thats all the intent there is and this post is not to humiliate any parent.

Ps: heavy duty trekking while pregnant amounts to drinking and smoking in the same condition in many countries - which has its own legal interpretations under child welfare acts ( but we are not here to discuss these things)

hitanshu well said : there are few loose ends that needs expert/medical/Scientific view points
#14 Jul 1st, 2009, 20:30
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Chennai, India
  • Nick-H is online now
Originally Posted by Dimitrz View Post ... I believe someone with medical or scientific expertise can provide better insight into this matter - Any experts around ?
Recommend looking for posts by member Avid Trekker. He has posted a great deal of information on altitude sickness, based on considerable experience of the mountains. Unfortunately, he has not been around the site much of late, but his material is till here.
#15 Jul 1st, 2009, 21:23
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  • namaste_cat is offline
Some of the OP's post has nothing to do w/ altitude sickness and everything to do w/ basic safety and precautions with children. I'd hope parents do that at all altitudes
All points are well-taken because AMS is very unpredictable and kids too young to express how they're feeling could be at risk.

My teens (15 and 17) & I are headed to Ladakh in a few days. Both are used to higher altitudes by now but I've been slowly acclimatazing them over the yrs. They have been to Sikkim and other places when they were just a few yrs old. So i don't think 15 is some sort of magic number. In my case, I waited till my kids could talk

I'm sure genetic make-up has something to do w/ it but even this 1/2 Kashmiri girl is careful. I am happiest when I'm way up in the mountains, and looks like my kids have inherited that as well. Even my asthma is better up there because the air is clean, so I consider myself lucky I can enjoy it.

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