Travel Tips: Air Travel with Children
Travelling by air can be an enjoyable experience for children; however, being stuck to a small space can take a toll on their patience levels and yours. The following tips can make your air travel a more pleasurable experience.
- Buy a separate ticket for your infant and carry a car seat with you – you do not want your baby to be thrown about through the cabin like a rag doll during turbulence or emergency landings.
In a car seat, the baby will be strapped securely to the airline seat just as you are. Babies held on laps are often injured seriously and are even killed in cases of severe turbulence. No matter how tightly you hold on to your precious bundle, the G-forces are stronger.
In addition, you will be glad to have the extra space and free hands. You will also not have to worry about getting a car seat according to your preferences or the baby not feeling comfortable in it. Car seats are not counted as added luggage by most airlines.
- Check if the car seat you are using is approved for use in aircrafts
- Check with the airlines if travelling with a newborn. Some airlines do not allow newborns to fly.
- If your newborn is less than two weeks old, consider postponing your travel. While air travel is safe for healthy infants, it is advisable to wait until the baby is two weeks old.
- Check with all the airlines that you will be using, about their restrictions for baby stroller. Most airlines allow strollers of up to a certain weight and dimensions to be checked-in. You might not be allowed to use it past the check-in point, but some airlines do give parents the luxury of checking-in strollers at the gate and bring it to you between flights. Once off the flight, your little baby can ride his/her own buggy.
- Encourage children to chew gums and yawn to prevent and/or ease earache due to changes in pressure during takeoff and landings. Earache is more prevalent in children than in adults and they find it harder to bear it. Infants should be encouraged to bottle or breast-feed.
- Bring a couple of new toys to keep your child occupied during the flight.
- Some snacks can do wonders if your flight is delayed or your child is hungry, in-between the meal serving times.
- If you are travelling with an infant, carry baby food, formula and any other necessity that you might need with you. Freeze them or carry them in a small cooler to prevent spoilage. Most airlines do not serve baby food, nor do they have bottle heating or food warming facilities. However, they can provide hot water and ice cubes.
- Most aircrafts have diaper-changing facilities at the rear and front sections, near the lavatory, where you can strap your child and change diapers without any discomfort to either of you or the other passengers. Bring your own diapers.
- If your child is very young, you can even book bassinets. Most airlines offer basinets, however they are limited in number and are allotted on a first-come-first-serve basis to all who have booked it previously. So, when booking your ticket, book the bassinet as well and reach well before time to ensure you get one.
- Deal with jetlag by encouraging short daytime naps as opposed to long ones that can make falling asleep at night more difficult. Also, ensure that you follow the local schedule and expose the kids to sunlight (with sunscreen and hats on) to minimize prolonged effects of jetlag.