How to Traveling with Baby by Plane
Traveling with your baby whether for a vacation or essential travel is one of the things that you cannot completely avoid to do at least once in a lifetime, therefore, it is important that you understand the intricacies involved more so if you intend to travel via flight. This could stretch from the measures to adopt before the trip, what to pack and ways of coping while aboard the flight. For planning purposes, the following pointers might be critical to consider during your travel preparations.
Measures to take at the Airport before Boarding Flight
Airports are usually very busy spaces and it so easy to lose your baby amongst the crowds especially if they are already of crawling or walking age. Because of this, you need to ensure that it is easy to trace your child should they escape your sight. You can use identity wristbands that highlight some important details like their name and your contact information. Along with that, you can fit them in bright clothing so that they are easy to spot if they are within reach.
It is common for flights to delay, so ensure that you have their favorite snack with you in case they get hungry as your flight is sorted. Children will always take advantage of this waiting period to play therefore a light, but large blanket that they can use as their paly mat will come in handy to prevent them from getting dirty. You can also confine those who are below two years of age to a pram or a baby stroller for easy management.
Surviving the length of the Flight
It is quite hectic to travel with a baby on a plane because they are prone to crying. For the most part, their crying might be because they have soiled their clothes, they are too warm or cold are hungry, or are just wet. Therefore always check for these initially.
On the other hand, their crying might be because you have overfed them as studies have shown it can be a very significant source of discomfort during flights. So totally avoid over feeding your baby during trips and keep them highly hydrated as they can also suffer dehydration after flights just like adults.
Ear pain due to the changes in pressure experienced during takeoff and landing can be a trigger for your baby’s cry. However, this can easily be countered by breast feeding, bottle feeding or handing the baby a lollipop to suck on just before takeoff and landing.
Another challenge usually experienced when flying with kids is getting them to sleep or ensuring they sleep comfortably. For uninterrupted napping always avoid the noisy back seats and book the night flights as research shows it is easy for babies to sleep during night time. For comfortable sleep, they should be fitted in air bassinets although the parent should be on the lookout during turbulence which can endanger the life of the baby in a bassinet. During these periods the parent should retrieve the bay from the bassinet until a natural smoothness in the flight is restored. Letting them sleep in car seats can be very uncomfortable too, and should be avoided during a long flight.
Book an Ideal Separate Seat for Them
It is important that you book a separate seat for your infant in the flight. Although many airlines will allow you to carry a baby who is under the age of 2 years on your lap, it is a highly discouraged practice. And to your advantage, most airlines grant seats booked for infants significantly discounted prices so cost should be the least of your concerns.
Why should you book a separate seat? To begin with, it can be a very uncomfortable experience for you especially on long flights and can lead to early exhaustion given the attention you also need to give the infant while on board. It is also highly unsafe for the infant as they are vulnerable to risks like aircraft turbulence and bumpiness that your grip cannot protect them from as opposed to a baby seat reinforced on the car seat. I
Additionally, the position of the seat you book is also crucial for a smooth travel experience. In this case, your travel agent can come in handy in helping you with a selection that would best fit your needs, but it is advisable that when flying with a child you prioritize booking the bulkhead seats. They not only come with the advantage of space especiacilly for your legs but are also structured in a way that attaching the airline bassinet on them is simple and convenient. Totally avoid the back seats as they are close to the engines and can be very noisy denying your child quiet sleeping time which can be a nuisance not only to you but also to the rest of the passengers as disturbed babies will always resort to crying.
Bring Along a Car seat and a Collapsible Baby Stroller
If you are going to book a separate seat for your baby, you need them restrained to their seats for optimal safety. For this reason, you will need to pick an ideal baby car seat that you can attach to their seat. Ideally, you need to consider three factors in this regard; the age of your child, their weight, and height. For infants and newborns who are within 20 pounds of weight, the car seat should be rear facing while those who are two years and weigh 40 pounds the car seat should be forward facing. Booster seats are not necessary as children who can fit in them can also be comfortable in an airplane seat with the seat belt holding them safely plus they endanger your baby's life during turbulence.
Also always ensure that your car seat comes in fabric that is easy to clean in case of emergency travels and has clear easy to follow instructions from the manufacturer for quick installation and retrieval. Since almost all airlines will not charge you for car seats brought along for babies who have a separate seat booked for them, take advantage of it.
Important to note is that any car seat you bring along should be an approved child restraint device by the aviation regulations that apply to the region your flight is localized.
When it comes to strollers, always go for the collapsible kind as they are allowed as additional baggage by many airlines at no cost. For convenience during boarding and exit, always ensure your collapsible stroller occupies as little space as possible for you to be able to carry it as hand luggage. Ideally, it should fit in below the car seat in front of you or the cabin area. The umbrella strollers are usually the best for this purpose. However, the regulations for bringing along a stroller vary from airline to airline and so be sure to find out the details before bringing one with you.
The amount of baggage to Pack and What to pack
Early planning before the day of the flight is always necessary so that you can carefully pick out what you will need to pack for the baby so that you don’t exhaust your allowed baggage limit without packing essential items. So even before you started packing your guide to how much you can pack is the weight limits outlined by your carrier.
Even though what is essential will vary from parent to parent some items are highly recommended to be packed as your infant’s hand luggage as they are needed for use frequently. You can never go wrong with extra nappies, wipes to be used during diaper changes, nappy sacks or a changing mat.
A rule of thumb when it comes to diapers is to have at least one for each and every hour of flight. And since you will have several wet and soiled clothes along the way bring with you plastic bags for keeping such items. In case you are traveling with toddlers who are pot training, pack travel potties that they can use to avoid long queues.
The temperatures can also get a bit unpredictable on the plane so pack a blanket to keep your baby warm throughout the flight in addition to at least two extra changes of clothes for the baby although this should increase for long haul flights.
For the purpose of feeding your toddler, you can bring along a bib or several Sippy cups. Baby formula is usually not subjected to the limits applied on other fluids carried as hand luggage so feel free to bring it along in adequate quantities. However, TSA agents will require you to declare it at the airport for inspection.
Medication needed by your baby from time to time during the flight should also be packed in your cabin baggage for easy retrieval and administration during the scheduled intervals. Along with that, you can carry a small first aid kit for any emergency.
Equally important, especially for overseas travel is vital documents like their passports and insurance cover details. Occasionally, you can bring toys or books to keep the baby distracted when they are awake.
In the checked baggage you can pack items you will not need immediately. These items include extra outfits depending on the number of days you will be away, backpack carrier, extra baby formula, nightlight, sunscreen to protect their sensitive skin against the sun on arrival, extra wipes, shoes and baby monitors together with their batteries. As advised earlier ensure that your guide is the weight limits allowed by your airline. Be aware of this even before you pack the first item.
Certainly, there will always be several other passengers who will find your infant to be a nuisance. A common practice amongst parents is to carry a goody pack to offer to the passengers next to them. You can choose to try this but ensure first your baby has the best seat, the right car seat that adheres to regulations and all essential items packed for them.
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