Toddler Safety – Air Travel
- 6 Things to Know About Taking Toddlers Through Airport Security: How to pack, what to ditch and what to expect.
- Tips on Soothing Your Traveling Toddler: How to ease your child to make your trips easier.
- Tips on Being Stranded in an Airport: Avoid and prepare for this potential nightmare.
Toddler Safety – Air Travel Basics
- If your child has chronic heart, lung or respiratory problems, get the green light from your pediatrician before boarding. Same goes for those who have recently had an ear infection.
- The FAA allows children under 2 years old to be held on an adult’s lap, but it’s safer to purchase an extra seat (look into discounted infant fares) and install your car seat. Turbulence can happen suddenly and unexpectedly, and it’s better for your child to be securely strapped in.
- For toddlers over 22 pounds, CARES Safety Restraint is the only child aviation restraint system certified by the FAA. Weighing a mere pound (as opposed to a 20-pound car seat), it’s easy to stick in a carry-on bag and adjust to any airplane seat.
- Check your toddler’s car seat with your luggage if you plan to use a rental car on your trip or find a car service that has car seats in their vehicles.
- If opting to install the car seat on the plane, make sure it’s FAA approved for air travel and no more than 16 inches wide. Even in the air, babies under 20 pounds should be rear facing.
- Keep in mind that a car seat must be installed in a window seat, so reserve adjoining seats.
- Ask a flight attendant for help securing the restraint system.
- Count the number of rows to the nearest exit in case a smoke-filled cabin obstructs your view.
- To decrease ear pain during take-off and landing, have your toddler breastfeed, drink from a bottle, suck on a pacifier, or chew on some crackers.
- If the oxygen masks need to drop, quickly put yours on immediately and then help your children. They won’t be helped if you pass out.
- Children get dehydrated faster than adults on airplanes, so make sure you have water, juice and/or milk on hand.
- Try and fly nonstop if possible, especially considering most plane accidents take place during take-off and landing. If you have no choice, consider using a snap-and-go travel system for an easier and lighter way to transport the baby, car seat and luggage, and/or arrange for airline assistance.
- Pack favorite toys, books and mess-free art projects (like crayons and coloring books) to keep them occupied. Also consider bringing a portable DVD player since the plane isn’t likely to air Yo Gabba Gabba.
- For especially long trips, try to book overnight flights so their sleep schedules aren’t too disrupted.
- If you can, try and play at your seat while everyone departs the plane. Being stuck in a long line is likely to trigger a tantrum.