Clinical Reference Systems: Pediatric Advisor 10.0
Traveling with a Baby: Air Travel
Children under the age of 2 years travel free on most
airlines, but this means that they may have to sit on your
lap if the plane is full. When you make your reservations,
try to avoid a full flight.
HINTS FOR AIR TRAVEL:
- There are FAA-approved child restraints. Check on this
when purchasing your car seat. It is best to let the
airline know ahead of time that you will bring a child
- If possible, reserve a bulkhead seat (just behind the
bulkhead that separates coach and first class), since it
has the most room. Ask the airline if they have
bassinets that attach to the bulkhead wall.
- If you can, schedule your flight to avoid the busiest
times of day at airports (8 to 10 AM, 4 to 7 PM).
- Give yourself plenty of time--arrive at the airport and
check in early so that you can get the baby settled
before others board the plane.
- If you are traveling by yourself and won't be met at your
destination, a portable stroller is a lifesaver. You can
generally fold it up and take it on board with you.
- If you have to change planes, be sure to schedule
additional time for the connection.
- For takeoff and landing, put the seat belt just around
you and hold your baby on your lap or put it in a front
carrier. Don't place the seat belt around the baby.
- Remember that your baby's ears may plug up or hurt on
takeoff or landing due to the change in cabin air
pressure. Swallowing helps equalize the air pressure:
you can help keep your baby's ears clear by nursing or
feeding when the plane is climbing and descending.
- Diapering can be a hassle on the plane. Try to
double-diaper or use ultra-absorbent disposable diapers
just before you board the plane, and then change in the
airport bathroom after the flight arrives. (If you do
change diapers on the plane and are using disposable
diapers, you can use an airsickness bag to dispose of
- The flight attendants can warm food and bottles for you.
Be sure to also bring small snacks your baby can nibble
on and play with: Cheerios, bagels, etc.
- Be sure to clean up your seat area before you deplane.
- Given all the equipment you have to carry when you travel
with a baby, it is easiest to let other passengers
deplane before you.
- Car rental agencies generally have infant seats available
with their cars. You need, however, to reserve the seat
when you reserve the car. It is also wise to call ahead
to the local agency where you will pick up the car to
confirm that the car seat is available.