Traveling With Baby
6/30/2009 12:05:07 PM
Learn the tips and tricks to traveling with your baby or toddler!
So there’s a new addition to the family and life is spent cooing, soothing, entertaining, feeding, burping and catching as many Zs as possible while the little one is asleep. Sounds like it’s time for a vacation! And yes, you can absolutely take a vacay with baby in tow and here’s how to do exactly that without losing your sanity.
The biggest decision is where to go. Here’s a list of great vacation destinations when traveling with little ones:
• Anywhere with a beautiful shoreline
• Camping (whether it’s car, nature or family camping)
• Family Cruises
However, there are specific locations you should avoid when traveling to with your baby: theme parks, rafting, extended stays with friends, country inns and foreign travel. Safety First!
So you’ve chosen a destination suitable for baby and you. Now it’s time to get there safely. If you’re flying, make sure you’re up to speed with air travel regulations for small children and infants. Here are some standard practices for most airlines:
• Depending on the airline, babies must usually be at least seven days old to fly — if younger, a written doctor’s permission is required.
• Lap babies, under the age of two, are permitted to fly free with one paying adult on domestic flights, but bring proof of age just in case. (To assure maximum safety for your child during flight, they should travel in a government-approved car seat. Authorized seats state they are certified for both motor and aircraft usage on the label).
• If you need to purchase a seat for your child, under the age of two, you will receive a special discount, which is usually half off of the original ticket price. Also, you’ll need to bring a government-approved car seat with the certificate of aircraft usage on the label. There is also a new FAA approved child aviation restraint if the car seat is too much of a hassle to bring along. This new restraint is available at kidsflysafe.com
. Some airlines require children to be seated in certain parts of the plane, usually window or middle seats that are far from exit rows.
• If your child is over the age of two, they’re required to have a regular priced ticket as well as their own seat.
• You can check your stroller and pick it up once you’ve reached your destination and exited the plane.
• When booking your flight on the Web, be wary of what sites offer discounted fares for young children as quite a bit do not. While Expedia and Orbitz offer discounts, Yahoo! and Travelocity don’t.
WARNING: The use of lap restraints, like “belly belts,” are banned by the FAA in airplanes. Authorized devices such as Booster seats and harness vests are permitted during a flight but not in a taxi, takeoff or landing. Away We Go!
You’ve got your destination and the tickets — you’re ready to go! If you’re unsure of what you need to pack, click here
for a thorough baby-packing checklist, or click here
for a toddler-packing checklist. You’ll also want to consult this First-Aid kit checklist
, as well as an emergency checklist
— prevention is always better than cure.
So far everything has gone smoothly. You’ve got your plane ticket and the details of your lodging, but we’ve still got some more tidbits to make sure you have a successful trip. Keep these in mind and you’ll be sure to have an enjoyable vacation.
• When little ones are involved, flexibility is key. Although traveling with young children can be a great experience, there will be times when your toddler gets antsy from sitting in one place for too long or sight-seeing all day in a stroller instead of running around and exploring. That’s why it’s good to have a few options planned for the day; just take into account how your child is feeling and go with the flow.
• The activities that you choose should be family-friendly places, like aquariums and zoos. You’re going to want to stay away from overcrowded tourist attractions, as well as places without shady areas and anywhere else that could pose a challenge for your little one.
• Don’t forget the snackage! Always bring plenty of juice boxes, cereal and fruit cups — this is especially key during the plane flight.
• If you’re taking a road trip, definitely plan to stop frequently. Your toddler is going to be restless after so many hours in a car seat, so plan on making multiple stops for limb stretching. Use online maps to select parks and rest areas beforehand. You may want to take a walk with a foam ball or another outdoor toy, so your child can get some playtime in — and use up some of that energy.
Lastly, remember that in addition to bringing a first aid kit, you also need to pack a childproofing kit to use once you’ve reached your destination. And if you’re a little uneasy about traveling too far with your baby, just take a “practice trips” or short day trips and work your way up to longer distances. Once you get the hang of it — knowing what toys calm your toddler, how long can they last in a car seat, what key items to pack, etc. — the world is your playground, and your toddler’s, too, so have fun!
If you need any more tips or information, visit flyingwithkids.com