Flying with an Infant or Toddler

by Melanie Essman

Flying with an infant or toddlerLet's face it, flying can be a hassle sometimes -- especially if you aren't prepared for the trip!

How many times have you seen people running through the airport lugging behind all sorts of baggage trying to make their flight?

The number one thing to remember is to be prepared and give yourself plenty of time! This is especially true when you are flying with an infant or toddler.

Following are some tips that might be useful in making your flight a pleasant one!

Arrive early!

Give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport, park, check baggage, go through security, and get to your gate! This is no easy feat when you have a 2-year-old that needs his/her toys, a car seat, 3 suitcases, and whatever else!

Plan some time to sit down and get a snack while at the airport. With the rush of getting ready and getting out the door, we often forget to have a good meal before you go. It might be impossible to plan your flight around meal times, or flight delays can cause you to be at the airport longer than you plan. Avoid the stress that a hungry child can bring to the situation and plan time to eat!

Your children can tell when you are stressed out, and it will affect them as well. Leave plenty of time so you aren't in a rush. Let your child go and look out the window at all of the planes and all of the ground equipment that is used at airports. That will add a bit of fun for them, and make getting on the plane more exciting!

Car seats

The FAA strongly recommends that your child in restrained in an appropriate restraint based on weight and size. When you are traveling by airplane, an approved child restraint system is the only way to make sure your little one will be safe in the event of turbulence or an emergency.

Purchasing a ticket for you child is the only way to guarantee that you will be able to use your approved child restraint system. Many airlines offer a discounted far for children less than 2 years of age. The child seat must be place in a window seat so that it will not block the path in an emergency, and it cannot be placed in an exit row. If the plane it not full, many airlines will allow you to use an empty seat without purchasing a ticket. Check with the agent at the gate when you check in.

Your child will be more comfortable in a seat that they are used to! They are in a new place, seeing new things, but they have the comfort of their own seat that the know and trust.

Snacks

Bring snacks for your little one for on the airplane. Airline snacks aren't always toddler or baby friendly, so be sure to pack something that you know your child can eat and likes!

For infants, be sure to bring a bottle! You may breast feed on the airplane, but remember seats are small, and the space might be a little cramped.

Games

Don't forget to bring something for your child to do while on the airplane. A new coloring book might be just the thing to keep them entertained for the flight. Little hand held games, cards (Go Fish), a small toy car. Bring a favorite that they are comfortable with, but also buy something new that might keep the interest a little longer.

Ears

An airplane's descent often will cause one's ears to "pop," and it can be quite painful if your ears need to "pop" and they don't! As adults, we know to yawn, chew gum, or swallow to get that to happen. It is kind of hard to tell your 8-month-old to do that though! So some things that might help are bottles, nursing, pacifiers, or eating a snack. Each of these things encourage the motion that is needed for the ears to regulate themselves to the changing pressure of the air outside.

Flying can be fun! Be prepared, arrive early, don't forget to eat, and bring something to occupy the time!

What are some of your tips?

Copyright © Melanie Essman. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org.