Air Travel Tips When Traveling With Infants and Toddlers

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Traveling with an infant and or toddler can be difficult.  There is just so much gear to take compared to when you were footloose and fancy free without a baby.  It’s a different type of vacation once you have a baby, but still totally worth it.   The more prepared you are, the more the family will enjoy the flight.

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Pack a lunch box specifically for baby liquids. Air travel is not the way it used to be, and with all the bans on liquids you would think it would be impossible to take what you need for the baby.  Not so, TSA is much more lenient on what you can take for your baby.  As long as it is in one place, you can still take a bottle, cool packs, baby food, and medicine.

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If it is a long flight, make sure you buy the extra seat. It’s not so bad having a lap child (children under 2 years of age are allowed to travel on the parents lap) when it’s a short flight, but when the flight is long no one is happy.  The best configuration is three seats in a row with an adult on each side and baby in car seat in the middle.   The car seat is also the safest place for a child to ride.

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Be sure your car seat is FAA approved. If it is, you will see a label on the side of the car seat marked that the car seat is approved for aircraft.

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Nurse or give the baby a bottle to drink during take off and landing. This will help the baby’s ears to equalize and pop with the change in altitude.  If you are unable to do either of these, at the very least make sure the child is eating something.  The chewing and swallowing will help the child’s ears to pop.  Older children can chew gum to achieve the same effect.

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Dress the baby comfortably and bring a change of clothes. Pajama’s are the best for a long flight.  Flying is uncomfortable for children so their clothes shouldn’t be.  Be prepared for the aircraft to be hot and or cold.  Layer the baby and bring a blanket because you never know what the cabin temperature will be.  You will probably be racing through security and the airport and become extremely hot until you board the plane.  You can always add layers once you get on the plane.

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For an infant, inquire about a bassinet when buying your tickets. Some aircrafts are equipped with bassinets that attach to the wall of the aircraft.  It’s really nice for a baby to be able to lie flat to sleep.  The area with the bassinets are also usually on the bulkhead which has the most leg room.

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Bring lots of snacks! Don’t ever rely on airplane food for yourself or the kids.  If the airline you are flying serves food, think of it as a bonus not a meal.

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Offer the child lots of fluids, before, during and after the flight. Flying causes dehydration.  It’s important to keep your baby or toddler hydrated as much as possible.

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Pack wisely. Do not bring all kinds of things you may or may not need.  After you finish packing go back through your bags and remove as much as possible.  Keep your bags light, the baby and all of his gear is heavy enough.  As a general rule, I try to remove one third of what I packed.  You can always buy what you need when you reach your destination.

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Bring toys, but don’t go overboard. Bring some small toys and a comfort item for the child, but don’t bring big noisy toys they will annoy the other passengers and take up too much space.

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Take the red-eye. If you fly at night, your child can sleep the entire flight, hopefully you can too.

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Don’t sweat it if your baby cries. Most airlines do provide in inflight entertainment, passengers have the option to wear head phones.  Flying can be difficult for a child and you will need to just go with the flow.