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Some of the larger hotels are beginning to cater to families. Best is Le Meridien Bora Bora.

For the most part, however, tourism in French Polynesia is still aimed primarily at honeymooners and other couples. To be blunt, the islands are better known for sand, sea, and sex than for babysitters, nannies, and playgrounds.

That's not to say you and your offspring won't have a marvelous time here. The islanders invariably love children and are very good at babysitting. Just make sure you get one who speaks English. The hotels can take care of this for you.

On the other hand, childhood does not last as long here as it does in Western societies. As soon as they are capable, children are put to work, first caring for their younger siblings and cousins and helping out with household chores, later tending the village gardens. It's only as teenagers, and then only if they leave their villages for Papeete, that they know unemployment in the Western sense. Accordingly, few towns and villages have children's facilities, such as playgrounds, outside school property.

Some resorts do not accept children at all; I point these out in the establishment listings, but you should ask to make sure. Even if they do, check whether the hotel can provide cribs, bottle warmers, and other needs, and if they have children's menus.

Disposable diapers, cotton swabs, and baby food are sold in many main-town stores, but you should take along a supply of such items as children's aspirin, a thermometer, adhesive bandages, and any special medications. Make sure your children's vaccinations are up-to-date before you leave home. If your kids are very small, perhaps you should discuss your travel plans with your family doctor.

Remember to protect youngsters with ample sunscreen. Some other tips: Certain tropical plants and animals may resemble rocks or vegetation, so teach your youngsters to avoid touching or brushing up against rocks, seaweed, and other objects. If your children are prone to swimmer's ear, use vinegar or preventive drops before swimming in freshwater streams or lakes. Have them shower soon after swimming or suffering cuts or abrasions.

Kid-Friendly Hotels -- Some French Polynesian hotels are now friendly to children as well as to couples. Le Taha'a Private Island & Spa off Tahaa and the Pearl Resorts on Moorea, Bora Bora, Manihi, Tikehau, and Nuku Hiva now have a cartoon TV channel and age-appropriate DVDs in each unit. While adults continue to get their welcome baskets full of tropical fruits, youngsters now get their own stash of candies. The Radisson Plaza Resort Tahiti (www.radisson.com/aruefrp) allows kids 15 and under to stay free and dine for 50% off. It's a welcome money-saver.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.