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What Are the Best Tips for Flying With a Baby?

A standard car seat may be too bulky or awkward to travel with on an airplane.
Rules vary by airline about when a child is old enough to require his own seat.
Prepare for the security checkpoint ahead of time.
It's important to carry baby food on a flight.
Article Details
  • Written By: K. Testa
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 06 October 2014
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The thought of flying with a baby might make a parent nervous at first, but following a few practical tips can ease the process for all parties. Babies normally require a great number of supplies and equipment; when traveling, however, it may be best to minimize and bring only the essentials. To pack for a long trip, for example, one might consider shipping larger items that are not needed until the destination is reached. Another key strategy is to plan for delays and obstacles along the way.

Prior to flying with a baby, it's helpful to gather necessary items for the airport and on the plane, and pack them in a small carry-on bag. Checking the airline policies regarding strollers, diaper bags, and other carry-on luggage ahead of time also can be helpful. For example, passengers can often bring a protective bag for a stroller if it is to be folded up and stowed in the front of the cabin. Also, researching the allowances for milk or formula and medications can be helpful in terms of getting through security checks. Placing these items in easily accessible compartments may expedite security screening as well.

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Carry-on essentials for flying with a baby usually include at least one change of clothes, extra diapers, and baby food or supplies for nursing or bottle-feeding. Some other recommended articles include small books, toys and comfort items to keep the child entertained and feeling secure. Younger babies tend to sleep more, so some parents may not even need to keep them busy on the plane.

It also is important to check individual airline regulations regarding seating when flying with a baby. On most U.S.-based airlines, for instance, children up to two years old are permitted to sit on an adult passenger’s lap. Usually, the parent must purchase a separate ticket for a child over the age of two. In this case, using a car seat is often the best option for transporting the child. If not using a car seat or a stroller, one might consider carrying the baby in an ergonomic baby backpack or similar carrying system while transporting luggage through the airport.

When flying with a baby, being prepared for various scenarios is critical. Parents are usually advised to have necessary medications on hand. In addition, a pediatrician can be consulted beforehand for extra tips on how to keep a baby calm, including the use of sedatives. Parents might also have to deal with possible conditions such as earaches from flying. Additionally, the time of travel may be an important consideration, and flying overnight might be preferable.

Extra time is a valuable advantage when flying with a baby as well. It usually helps to plan carefully and allow much more time than will be needed. As a result, both the parent and the child are more likely to feel relaxed when traveling. Airline employees are used to assisting travelers flying with children. If a parent is alone while flying with a baby, he or she can usually seek extra assistance from airport staff and flight attendants.

Getting a baby used to flying early in life may be beneficial for everyone in the end. The child might become comfortable on airplanes and may not have the chance to develop the fear of flying that occurs in many people. Children also observe and react to their caretakers’ emotions. If a parent has any reservations about flying with a baby, keeping that anxiety in check might help the child stay calm while traveling.

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