This is a somewhat unprecedented world record. A two-year-old child, Carter Dallas, climbed part of Everest on his father’s back. The family, who are on a year-long trip through Asia, did not hesitate to confront the child with the extreme conditions of the mountains. Is this responsible? Explanations from Dr Gérald Kierzek, emergency doctor and medical director of TipsForWomens.
He is the youngest person to reach Everest base camp, thus becoming the holder of a rather unusual world record. At only two years old, Carter Dallas reached the southern site of Nepal, located at an altitude of more than 5,300 meters, on October 25.
A journey carried out on the back of his father
The child was brought on this trip by his parents, Ross and Jade, as reported by the Daily Mail. The little family began a year-long trip to Asia and planned to climb the highest peak in the world. Neither the presence of the child, nor the official advice setting as a recommendation “the minimum age of 10 years for children” did not slow down his parents, who took him on a “whim” as Ross Dallas explains.
“There were two doctors in the villages before base camp, and they tested his blood to make sure he was okay. His results were much better than ours – they were amazed!” he assures, admitting however that he did not plan the adventure. “We bought food, jackets and two sleeping bags for the trek – we did it on a whim. Less than 24 hours after landing in Kathmandu, we started the trek.”
If the father proudly recounts their adventure, their story has caused ink to flow, with Internet users believing that the parents were “irresponsible“.
What precautions should you take before going to the mountains with a young child?
To find out what precautions to take before going to altitude with a young child, TipsForWomens questioned its medical director, Dr. Gérald Kierzek, emergency physician. “Taking a two-year-old child into the high mountains involves certain risks that are important to take into account.” first notes the doctor. Here are the main points to consider:
- Air less rich in oxygen : “In high mountains, the air is less dense in oxygen due to the altitude. Toddlers may therefore be more sensitive to the effects of altitude, such as hypoxia, which is lack of oxygen” indicates the expert. “Symptoms may include shortness of breath, headache and nausea“Signs that should not be ignored because if you continue to climb, the headache becomes severe and a dry cough, difficulty breathing, impaired consciousness and vomiting can be added.”A descent to a lower altitude becomes urgent at this point.” estimates the doctor. “Otherwise, very serious accidents can result such as pulmonary edema, which can be fatal within a few hours, or a coma..
- Breathing problems : Children may be more likely to develop breathing problems at high altitudes, “especially if they have a medical history such as asthma” specifies Gérald Kierzek. Finally, at altitude, there can be an influence on appetite and digestion. “It is important to ensure that the child stays well hydrated and receives appropriate nutrition” supports the doctor.
- Medical evacuation difficulties : “In the event of a medical emergency in the high mountains, evacuation may be more difficult and take longer due to difficult access conditions.. This is a significant point to consider, especially with a child.
In short, “Before taking a child into the high mountains, it is recommended to consult a health professional for advice tailored to their specific situation” advises our specialist. “Additionally, it is essential to be well prepared in terms of equipment, appropriate clothing, food and water, and to be aware of signs of distress in the child. When in doubt, it is best to choose mountain destinations with lower altitudes and milder weather conditions to ensure the safety and well-being of the child” concluded Gérald Kierzek.