With holidays and other events coming up, you may be planning a trip soon. If you are planning to travel by plane with a baby or young child, especially if this will be your child’s first flight, a few preparations will make the trip easier for both of you.
1. Bring New, Interesting Baubles
When we travel overseas to see Granny and Grandpa, we test all patience. My first piece of advice for very long flights is to fly overnight and make sure no one naps before the plane lifts off.
For daytime flights, my strategy has always been to bring one interesting new thing per hour of flight time, without repeats for the flight home. A couple of one-trick toys might be fine, but creative toys, like crayons, might hold attention longer. Just make sure you have enough variety to delight and hold your child’s attention. I found planning new baubles for young children to be one of the most important pre-flight preparations.
2. Pack Snacks
The tiny bag of peanuts or cookies you get on the plane might not be enough to hold over a toddler for hours. You probably don’t need as much variety with snacks as with toys, but the general idea is similar. Have several different snacks, and don’t keep bringing out the same one each time your child is hungry.
3. Prepare Reusable Wipes
Messes will happen. You will need to wipe up, so take a bag of dry wipes and a small (less than 3 oz.) spray bottle. You can leave the bottle empty and fill it with water on the plane to make things even easier, but just be sure that you have the means to clean up easily.
4. Have Natural Hand Sanitizer
Being in such prolonged close quarters with dozens or hundreds of other people makes this is an appropriate time to use your natural hand sanitizer, like Clean George.
5. Dress in Comfortable Clothes
Soft, cotton will not pull or pinch, and layers let you adjust to variable temperature. Pajamas with sweater, hat, and socks are perfect.
6. Bring Something to Suck
Before air pressure equalizes during air travel, we often feel a little pain before the pop. For children, the tighter ear space can cause more pain. It helps to swallow, so encourage your child to breastfeed, drink from a sippy cup, suck on hard candy, or chew gum.
7. Check National Security Sites
Travel rules keep changing, so familiarize yourself with the rules for every country you will be travelling in.
- Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, “Travelling with Infants and Small Children.”
- U.S. Transportation Security Administration, “Traveling with Kids.”