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Air Travel With Infants and Toddlers

by Tania Cowling | May 16th, 2016 | Infants/Toddlers, Seasonal
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planeTaking an airplane ride with an infant or toddler alone can be frustrating and cause a bit of anguish. Mothers have been seen in airports carrying their babies in one arm and dragging a piece of luggage in the other. With some, this has led to tears. If you must fly alone, planning the trip minute by minute is the best bet. I’ve been there so here are a few tips to hopefully help you.

As you make reservations ask the airlines to provide you with a stroller (unless you can bring an umbrella stroller on board), a cart, or wheelchair at your connection or destination area. Anything with wheels can help you to load your belongings as you trek between gates and/or the baggage claim area.

Also, ask the airline for a seat with the most legroom. On board don’t be afraid to ask the flight attendant to move you to a row with a vacant seat if one is available. Any extra space is helpful to change the baby, have him sit on a blanket to play, or just for the child to stretch out for a small nap. This is a blessing versus your little one on your lap for the entire leg of the flight. Remember youngsters under two are non-paying so they do not have their own seat. Some airlines will allow you to bring the baby’s car seat on board if there is space.

Pack everything you need for the flight in a lightweight shoulder bag. Not only will you need diapers and wipes, think about a change of clothes, sweater (planes are kept cool), a few small toys, and her favorite blanket. Since a baby or toddler doesn’t get meals (well, who does these days) be sure to pack bottles of milk (if using formula) and food. Do a pre-test at home to make sure you can handle this bag, your purse and the baby.

It’s best to envelope your little one with a bib, as no matter what your child eats onboard, it will be all over her clothing. Use your packed wipes for a quick cleanup before your reach your destination.

Now, once the child has hit toddlerhood, he can walk holding your hand to board the plane and will have a seat next to you after age two. Make sure to have a few items for entertainment like small books, coloring book, crayons, and stickers.

To prevent a child’s painful landing (ears can feel stuffy and briefly painful) give your baby a bottle or with toddlers a lollipop to suck on. This keeps the child swallowing, letting the Eustachian tubes work properly to avoid ear pain.

The act of flying is a new transition for a young child so try to look at this endeavor through the eyes of a child and with the patience of a saint.

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