Flying with a baby or toddler can be scary, even if you were a seasoned traveler before becoming a parent. Gone are the days when purchasing a ticket was simple. Everything may now appear complicated.
There are also new questions. Like, how to pass that bottle security or how many diapers you should pack in your carry-on bag. (Answer: as many as possible.)
You won’t be able to avoid all the turbulence. But you’ll come prepared in the security line, at the gate, on the plane, and when you get to your destination.
Having a baby does not have to prevent you from traveling. But, there are several things to consider before flying with a baby. So whether you’re visiting Grandma or traveling on vacation, here’s how old a baby can fly. We also got some advice on how to make the flight go successfully.
How old should a baby be to fly?
According to experts, there is no set age when it is safe for your child to travel. But, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) urges against flying babies too soon after birth. Air travel might raise a baby’s chance of contracting an infectious disease. Changes in cabin pressure can make it difficult for infants. It can also affect those with chronic heart or lung difficulties.
Check with your airline to know any age restrictions for babies if you need to fly soon after birth. Some airlines refuse to transport children under the age of one week. Others will accept passengers who are two days old or younger.
What if you’ve passed that delicate early stage? The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests consulting with your baby’s pediatrician before flying. The doctor may recommend giving your kid an early or extra dose of a particular vaccination. They may need your baby to get an influenza vaccine if traveling during flu season. Or the MMR injection if traveling to a measles epidemic area. So take note of when and where you’re traveling.
Here are 5 Tips for Airplane Travel With A Baby
A little planning ahead of time can go a long way toward making your trip more bearable. Here’s everything you need to know before you fly. Also, we have some tips for keeping your little one safe and (mostly) happy while in the air.
1. Do a diaper check and a visit to the restroom before boarding.
It would be best to try to board the airline with a child wearing a dry diaper. As a result, make one last trip to the airport bathroom before boarding the plane. You might as well double up on the diaper cream. Put your baby in two diapers for extra leak prevention while you’re there.
If you’re traveling with a potty-training child, you’ll want to take one last toilet break. A trip to the restroom before boarding the plane saves you a trip to the cramped airplane bathroom. It means less work for mom or dad in the air, as well as a minor inconvenience for others sitting nearby. Furthermore, you never know how long the “keep seatbelt fastened sign” will be on. It’s preferable to be safe rather than sorry (and stinking)!
2. Buy a seat for the baby if you can afford it.
This option depends on one’s financial situation, but do it if you have the funds to buy an extra seat. Being able to secure the infant in a car seat instead of bouncing them on your lap for hours is a game-changer. They’ll have a better chance of sleeping during the journey than if they’re resting in your arms or on your shoulder. Believe us; it isn’t always comfortable for a parent. If the baby falls asleep in your arms, you’re pretty much locked there for the rest of the time.
3. Bring twice as much baby gear as you think you’ll need.
Take twice as much formula, diapers, bottles, baby food, and snacks as you think you’ll need on the plane. You will thank us later in case of delayed or canceled flights. Imagine you’re stuck on the tarmac or sleeping in a hotel room for an unexpected night. The last thing you want to deal with is a hungry, thirsty, dirty-diapered infant.
It’s also a good idea to carry ear protection for your baby. As we all know, flying changes the altitude of the air and might cause slight ear ache.
4. Choose flight times that are compatible with your baby’s sleep schedule.
If at all possible, pick a departure time that closely matches your baby’s sleep schedule. It could mean taking a flight when your baby is napping during the day. Or later in the evening towards their bedtime.
You might even choose a red-eye trip for lengthier flights. Your child will most likely sleep the entire flight — though you must consider if you will be able to do so as well.
5. Bring toys.
The days of reading a magazine, reading a good book, or watching an action movie while flying are over. You may spend the entire flight calming down your infant or toddler. It includes reading board books to your child over and over again. It means purchasing the appropriate travel toys and engaging in active play with your child.
We understand if you avoid electronic entertainment at home. But indulging your toddler with smart device movies and apps is a smart move. Allow them to play with the paper first, then the toy, and if they get tired of both, there are always Cheerios. Do everything it takes to keep the infant happy on the plane!
Flying with a newborn is one of the most difficult early parenting tasks. It is even more challenging during the summer vacation. Yet, flying with a newborn is manageable. All you need is a few essential principles and insider advice.
Traveling with a baby can be a nightmare. But it doesn’t have to be if you plan, pack appropriately, and arrive at the airport (on time and with the right attitude). Babies and flying can be a dangerous mix. The odds of friendly skies are in your favor if you plan and expect the unexpected.