Guide to Keeping Your Baby Safe While Flying
Taking a child younger than two on a trip can be difficult, especially if it involves flying a long distance. You'll need to do a lot of planning ahead of time to make sure your infant is not only safe and comfortable on the flight, but also after it.
The following are some easy ways to improve your situation:
While booking flights online has become the norm, you may be better off calling the airline directly to make sure you provide and receive all of the necessary information. Some things to think about are:
- Make sure you tell the reservationist the ages of everyone in your party in case there are any restrictions or rules you need to be aware of. Many air carriers, for instance, refuse to transport infants younger than two weeks of age. car seats and strollers are considered extra baggage by some airlines.
- Request a bulkhead (first-class) seat and a bassinet at all times.
- Avoid the bulkhead if you have a toddler or infant because there is no storage space under the seat.
- If you can, try to schedule your baby's trip during a time when they are not normally awake and fussy, especially for extended flights.
Consult your child's pediatrician before planning an international trip to ensure he or she is up-to-date on all necessary vaccinations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintain a traveler's health portal where you can get an overview of the vaccinations required for your destination country.
When traveling with a young child, a well-thought-out choice of a carry-on bag can make all the difference. In addition to fitting within the airline's size and weight restrictions, your bag should be lightweight, easily transportable, and easy to lift or roll. Take precautions by packing extra necessities in case of a delay or layover.
Items that should be in your carry-on bag include the following:
- The use of a changing mat and diapers
- A security blanket
- We have plenty of formula, snacks, and drinks for the baby.
- If using a powdered form of the medication, each dose would come in its own sealed bag.
- Several sets of clothing and a bib
- Wet wipes
- Wipes or dirty diapers, and a plastic bag to put them in
- Just in case, you might want to bring along an extra bottle or pacifier.
- There are many quiet games available for use on the flight without disturbing other passengers.
- Bandages and other medical supplies contained in a compact first aid kit
- One tiny bottle of alcohol-based antiseptic hand cleaner
- All medication for the baby should be stored in a separate, easily accessible ziplock bag (never check in medication that cannot be replaced at your destination).
Last but not least, make sure your carry-on isn't too heavy by putting it through a weight test.
Check with your child's pediatrician right before takeoff to make sure they don't have an ear infection or anything else that could make flying uncomfortable. Ask your pediatrician for recommendations on infant pain relievers to bring along (especially if the baby is teething).
Getting to the airport early is the number one rule of traveling with a baby. It's possible for things to go wrong or take longer than expected even if you've done everything by the book. You and your baby will be under a lot less pressure if you can make it there early.
The following are a few more helpful hints:
- Make sure the check-in agent knows you're taking a baby with you. If you have a car seat or stroller with you, please inform the attendant.
- Pack as much luggage as you can into the check-in Carrying more than you need may help you save money, but it will cost you in stress. As an example, you should be aware that you may need to remove your infant from his or her stroller or car seat before passing through security.
- Before boarding the plane, make sure to change your baby's diaper.
- You shouldn't feed your baby (breast or bottle) right before boarding. If you do, the infant is more likely to fall asleep and fuss when you get to your seat. Waiting until you're seated and comfortable is usually the best practice when eating.
- You might want to bring your stroller and leave it with baggage check. This way, when you get off the plane, it will be waiting for you immediately.
A normally content infant may become distressed even under ideal conditions due to the novelty and noise of their new surroundings. Remember that there's no need to freak out If you admit to your fellow travelers that you're having trouble, and maybe even apologize, they'll likely be more sympathetic and willing to help out than if you act as though nothing is wrong.
Here are a few more pointers:
- During takeoff and landing, prompting your baby to swallow can help him or her adjust to the change in cabin pressure. Breastfeeding, bottle feeding, and pacifier use are all acceptable methods.
- Babies are more susceptible to dehydration from airplane travel than adults are. To ensure your baby stays healthy and hydrated, you should:
- Diaper changes in flight can be a major hassle. Changing tables are available on some planes, but they are often small and awkward for parents traveling with toddlers or infants. Ask the flight attendant if you need help deciding between using a jump seat or sitting on the floor near the galley or bulkhead.
- Most flight attendants will happily heat a bottle for you. Always check the temperature of your liquids, as the galley system has a nasty habit of heating things up to dangerous levels.
- High-efficiency particulate filters clean the air inside the vehicle of 99 percent of germs and viruses. You should avoid contact with anyone who is visibly ill, including those who are sneezing or coughing. Please use the waterless hand cleanser provided at your seat on a regular basis.
Airlines of China Infant needs special care
M.S. Weinberg, N. Weinberg, and S.A. Maloney How to Take Your Family on a Trip Without Losing Your Mind To be found in the CDC's Yellow Book 2020: Health Advice for Overseas Travel Press, Oxford University
U S MedlinePlus, from the National Institutes of Health Taking the kids on a road trip
Bagshaw MJ, Illig PL. Environment inside an airplane cockpit Keystone, J. S., B. A. Connor, M. Mendelson, P. E. Kozarsky, H. D. Nothdurft, and K. Leder, eds. Healthcare for International Travel 4th ed Pages 429–436 (2019) Elsevier. doi:10 1016/b978-0-323-54696-6 00047-1
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