Travel Safely with Kids and Infants
Edited by Nerissa Avisado, Rebecca M., Robbi, Lynn and 2 others
Modern, responsible parents like spending quality time and doing things with their kids. That includes traveling and having fun with them while on the road or up in the air. It sounds so perfect, but is indeed very challenging. While it is doable, it requires some big planning to ensure that the kids will be comfortable and safe on the way to their destination. How do you travel safely with kids and infants, keep them happy, and keep yourself unstressed at the same time?
Giving much thought and planning to the small details of the travel can greatly reduce parental stress. If your kids are big enough to help in the planning stage, it is even better, as they are stimulated by the thought of the experience. Knowing your children - what can keep them happy and unhappy, their sleeping patterns, and their attention span - can help make the planning more effective. Keep your trips simple enough to turn them into excited tots. This can grow in time so that you can plan more complicated trips as they grow up and learn more skills.
Meanwhile, check in advance or make bookings early to more easily find child-friendly airlines and hotels. Know what works best for your kids. If you have a newborn or infant, it is not practical that they are taken on a long distance travel, even by plane, and even if the baby was born full-term and is healthy. They are very vulnerable to infections and stand to face a higher risk inside the enclosed plane and other public places you will go to. But if you so decide, it is doable - just make sure to research and plan well.
Traveling with toddlers and older kids is not as easy as you think. They can easily become restless and bored. Ask family and friends or your regular travel agent for recommendations on child-friendly airlines and hotels. With the short attention spans of children and their general hyperactivity, it will be a challenge to make them stay in their seats. Make sure there will be enough entertainment and fun, child-oriented activities to keep their attention.
Flying with Infants and Children
Air travel is considered safe for newborns, infants, and children if they have no health problems. Still, there are certain concerns that need to be considered and addressed during the preparation for travel. This is critical, as planning in advance can significantly reduce stress among the adult companions. In particular, you have to address confinement and the boredom that it incites especially during long flights, the earache that is caused by changing pressure in the cabin, and the discomforts of being cooped in a small toilet to clean up the kids.
Take note, however, that flying is a wonderful new experience that can indeed be an exciting adventure for them. The most important thing is to focus on how their attention can be drawn to some toys, games and other new experiences.
- 1Arrange for the best seat in the house.
- 2Sling-carry your baby.
- 3Arrange a bassinette.
- 4Avoid colic by pre-feeding the baby.
- 5Let the babies sleep during landing.
- 10Dealing with the hustle and bustle at the airport.
- Make them stand out. It is tactical that your kid is garbed in colorful clothes so that you can easily spot them, even in a crowd. Pinning some sort of an ID in their clothes or tucked in their pockets can also help.
- Get them to relax. Playing can be a relaxing activity for your child. Do not come rushing to the airport at the last minute, stressing yourself and your kid as well. Make sure to arrive earlier so that your kid can run around for a while and feel relaxed when you board in the aircraft.
- Note the nappy change or toilet trip. Rather than do it in the space-challenged plane toilet, you can change your kid's nappy before boarding. Bigger kids can be asked if they want to use the toilet before boarding. Take note of their daily schedule so that you do not need to do extra "smelly work" in the plane seat when the "inevitable" happens.
- Ear pain in children during the flight. The discomfort can be more pronounced during descent. It helps to swallow to ease the pressure in the middle so make your child eat or drink something. Babies can be made to suck on a bottle or nurse or suck, while bigger kids can be offered chewing gum.
- Hypoxia while flying. Hypoxia can be experienced by kids with lung problems or chronic heart issues during flight. Turbulence or a crash can trigger hypoxia. It is important that kids at risk for this disorder are assessed by a doctor in advance to determine their fitness.
Travelling By the Road
There is a more exciting way to get to places that a lot or people have already forgotten, with airfares becoming cheaper: Road trips. With the comfortable makes of RVs (recreational vehicles), SUVs (sports utility vehicles), and vans, life on the road can be more exhilarating. If you are travelling with bigger kids who love adventure, this is definitely a good way to see the outdoors and the world.
Taking your own vehicle with the family offers you greater control. You can stop anywhere you want; that is so important when kids and infants are on board. To make the best of this experience, prepare ahead. Don't get yourself caught with serious car problems, for example, in the middle of nowhere. Here are some ways to safely travel with kids and infants:
- 1How's your car.
- 2Plan your road trip.
- 3Plan your party.
- 5Going on a break.
- 6Bring foods you and your kids love to munch.
- 7Pick great stops with great eats.
- 9Be ready for motion sickness.
Tips, Tricks and Warnings
- Seat them comfortably. If it a plane you are taking, three-year old kids and older must have their own seats in a domestic flight. A kid as old as two need to have their own seat if you are flying internationally. You may also consider booking for bulkhead seats or those close to the exits for that extra space where your kid can safely play on the floor. You can also ask about taking a car seat on board for your kid's increased safety. Bigger kids may want a window seat where their imagination can be put to work.
- Dress them in layers and keep a carry-all bag handy. If your child is clothed in a couple of light layers, it will be easier to add or take off layers to ward off chills or heat for comfort. Make it easy for you to change clothes and provide them comfort while on air or down the road. A carry-all bag that has a few extra clothes, diapers, and other basic needs (wipes, tissues, extra bottles of milk, medications, training cup, favorite meals, etc.) can be most useful during the long flight or drive.
- Plan their entertainment. Toddlers and young kids cooped for long hours inside an aircraft or vehicle are no joy to deal with. Bring a few toys or other items that can keep them preoccupied. Choose ones that do not take up so much space in your carry-on bag. Offer them entertaining stuff - coloring books, pencils and sketch pads, portable gadgets, etc. - one toy at a time. Supply them with a new one as the interest wanes and they become fidgety and bored again.
- Take your child to a doctor before the trip. This will give you peace of mind, knowing that your kid is fit to travel. This is a good time to ask about motion sickness and immunizations. It is sensible to bring a medical kit with stuff such as paracetamol, anti-itching lotion, thermometer, Band-Aids, and oral rehydration salt (ORS).
- Restrain your child. You will not want your child unrestrained in the car. That will be too dangerous for him, for the driver and for everyone. Do not let them walk around when the RV is in motion or while the plane is cruising at high altitudes. So, make sure you use appropriate restraints like car seats or seatbelts.
Traveling can be very uplifting and a great way to teach kids about a lot of things. Traveling short distances can be a good way to introduce kids to the pleasures of seeing the outdoors and the world. These are also wonderful moments for parents to bond with them. If you know how to travel safely with kids and infants, these occasions can be memorable milestones in their early life.
There is more to learn. Next time find out how to travel safely with your kids on a train or a cruise. Arrivederci!
Questions and Answers
What's The Best Sling For Airplane Travel?
A Ring sling is best for airplane rides if you are breastfeeding and the baby is around 16-17 lbs.
A ring sling looks like this:
When your kids are bigger, it will get uncomfortable (especially those around 20 lbs and beyond), you should try using ergo instead.
An ergo baby carrier looks like this: