Tips For Flying With An Infant
A little bit of prep work can go a long way towards making your journey more manageable. Heres what to know before you go, plus advice for keeping your cutie safe and happy in the air.
Babies and flying can be a tricky combination. But when you plan ahead and expect the unexpected, the odds of friendly skies will be in your favor.
From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.
When Are Babies Old Enough To Fly On Planes
How old should my infant be before I take him on an airplane? I am due in November and would like to visit family for the holidays.
Assuming that both mother and baby are healthy, you can travel when your infant is two weeks of age. In some cases, you can fly even sooner than that, but I would recommend holding off if it’s not absolutely necessary.
When you have a newborn and have the itch to travel, you may be wondering when the right time is to bring them on board. There can be all types of concerns from feedings to exposing babies to potential illnesses. Parents these days have even more concerns about air travel with babies since the coronavirus began.
We’re going to take a look at some common concerns many new parents have when deciding when their newborn should become a first-time flier as well as some helpful travel tips.
Do I Need An Id For My Baby To Fly
Its better to be prepared when youre flying with a newborn. On domestic flights, youre not required to bring an identification proof. BUT since youre technically flying with a lap infant, you might be asked to present your babys proof of age. This could be in the form of your babys birth certificate, passport or immunization records. Traveling internationally? Your baby is required to present an identification proof or passport.
Read Also: What Do I Absolutely Need For A Newborn
Dengue And Other Arboviruses
Pediatric VFR travelers with frequent or prolonged travel to areas where dengue or other arboviruses are endemic or epidemic may be at increased risk for severe infection. Dengue can cause mild to severe illness. Most infections are asymptomatic, but some people with dengue virus infection can develop life-threatening illness. Among 8 children who were diagnosed with acute dengue virus infection after visiting friends and relatives in the Caribbean, 3 developed severe dengue.
Children traveling to areas with dengue or other arboviruses should use the same mosquito protection measures described for malaria. However, families should be counseled that, unlike the mosquitoes that transmit malaria, the Aedes mosquitoes that transmit dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever, and Zika are aggressive daytime biters and can also bite at night. Clinicians should consider dengue or other arboviral infections in children with fever if they have recently been in the tropics.
Do Children Need Id To Fly
If you are traveling internationally with a 5 month old, then a passport is always needed. If you are flying domestically in the USA or Canada you do not need ID for your baby, but I always recommend taking a copy of their birth certificate.
Various other countries require all different sorts of ID and paperwork. With some airlines, lap babies may not be issued a boarding card but may need a boarding verification document. There is more information on travel documents here.
Read Also: Are Newborns Supposed To Sleep On Their Back
Minimise Your Touch Points At The Airport
We had a four-hour layover at the Delhi Airport and while I have always enjoyed spending time at T3, this time, I was panicked to the core considering this pandemic and the fact that it was my first time travelling with a baby.
I ensured that I didnt touch anywhere while holding the baby in my arms. My husband ensured that he wiped all surfaces possible with a sanitizer spray including the chairs where we sat.
We didnt go to our gates until boarding was announced and sat at a deserted gate to avoid crowds. Once inside the aircraft, we sanitized our seats including the seatbelt buckle, arm rest, tray table, and window pane before touching. In order to avoid touching the soap dispenser inside the washrooms, we carried paper soap strips.
If Your Baby Is To Have Their Own Seat You Should Ensure They Are Fastened Securely Throughout The Flight Particularly During Take
If your baby is to have their own seat, you should ensure they are fastened securely throughout the flight, particularly during take-off and landing and during any periods of turbulence. Alternatively, you may choose to pre-book a sky cot or bassinet, which are available on most flights. If, instead, your baby is in a car seat, you will need to make sure the seat is secure and safe using the aircraft’s seatbelt. If you choose to hold your baby, you must ensure you hold them tightly during take-off and landing and during turbulence.
Travelling with a baby presents fresh new challenges, even for the most experienced traveller. Our travelling with a baby guide offers leading tips and advice on heading overseas with your child. Remember, we take the hassle, you take the holiday.
Read Also: How To Put A Newborn On A Sleep Schedule
Do Not Cover The Babys Face
WHO guidelines clearly state that babies under two years of age should not be wearing mask or any form of covering that might cover their nose.
The best way to cover your baby is to make them wear full-sleeved clothes including mittens and keep them close to you, covered loosely by their swaddle.
Inside the aircraft, if it is a full flight then breastfeeding the baby for as long as possible will automatically keep the babys mouth and nose close to your body with reduced chances of inhalation of any viruses.
Infection And Infestation From Soil Contact
Children are more likely than adults to have contact with soil or sand and therefore may be exposed to diseases caused by infectious stages of parasites present in soil, including ascariasis, hookworm, cutaneous or visceral larva migrans, trichuriasis, and strongyloidiasis. Children and infants should wear protective footwear and play on a sheet or towel rather than directly on the ground. Clothing should not be dried on the ground. In countries with a tropical climate, clothing or diapers dried in the open air should be ironed before use to prevent infestation with fly larvae.
Don’t Miss: How To Give Newborn Baby A Bath
How To Travel With A 2 Month Old
- Use this free downloadable packing checklist for travelling with a baby. which lists everything you may need. Consider if you need any of this travel gear? Alternatively, this baby travel essentials list has some great suggestions too.
- If you are breastfeeding, consider what will make YOU more comfortable. Here are some breastfeeding tips whilst travelling.
- If you are bottle feeding and need to sterilise bottles whilst on the go look into the various ways you can sterilise baby bottles whilst travelling.
- All airlines are happy with a mum breastfeeding. If you are a bit self-conscious, here are my breastfeeding tips on a plane in detail.
- If you need milk heated up do ask in plenty of time in case the crew are about to busy with a meal service.
- Babies on planes usually likely to drink more than they usually do as the cabin air is quite dehydrating, which is another reason to pack more than you need if formula feeding.
- If you are formula feeding, then plan to bring double than what your baby would normally consume. The same goes for snacks. You never know if your flight will be delayed on cancelled and having extra will save you stressing if that happens.
- Entertaining your little one on a flight, is a big part of learning how to travel by plane with a baby. Bring some interactive but quiet baby and toddler toys which will keep them busy.
- When traveling with a two month old, wear layers which are easy to remove one handed and dress baby in layers too.
Things To Do Before The Flight
- Contact the airline to make seating arrangements for your child.
- Notify the airline if your child has any food allergies.
- Make sure your child’s vaccinations are up to date.
- Ask your doctor for nausea medication if your child experiences motion sickness.
- Notify the flight attendants if your child has any disease.
- If your child is old enough, explaining that you’ll be taking a trip can help prevent anxiety.
- Check with the airline about what you can bring in checked and carry-on luggage.
- Pack extra clothes for you and the baby in your carry-on luggage.
- Get to the airport early.
What seats to book
When you’re flying with an infant, the best seats are the ones furthest from the aisle. That way, your child won’t be disturbed by people trying to move around you to get to the aisle. Especially if your child is in a car seat, having other people trying to get past can be uncomfortable for everyone.
Recommended Reading: How Much Milk Per Feeding Newborn
Managing Your Baby’s Crying And Schedule While Flying
Babies are notoriously unpredictable in the first few weeks, with irregular sleeping, feeding, and crying times. While this can certainly be managed, it may be very draining to mom and dad to travel before a baby has “settled.” Some babies do this by two weeks, others not until three months. You’re going to have to be the judge of when you think your baby has settled.
Even when your baby seems to be in a routine, getting on a plane can bring out the worst in them. We’ve all heard stories about airline passengers yelling at crying babies. While you can’t control when your baby is going to have an outburst or start crying, you can make sure they have plenty of food and something to soothe them. Pacifiers or a “lovey” never hurt and can help little ones get some needed Zen while on a plane. Be sure to pack more than one pacifier in your diaper bag and have some options when it comes to toys and soothers. Babies can get bored quickly, so anything “new” can help.
General Advice For Parents Flying With Babies Under 2
The FAA requires all children 2 and older to have their own airline seats. If youre flying with a baby under the age of 2, keep the following in mind.
Be aware of health issues. There could be medical factors restricting your baby from flying, particularly for newborns. Get specific guidance from your pediatrician. In addition, see Kids Travel Doc for specific tips on flying with infants.
Check your carriers minimum age for babies. Passengers under 2 years old must be accompanied by an adult. Beyond that, domestic carriers vary wildly in the minimum age for infants flying on them. Policies range from not stating a minimum age at all, to 2 days old , to 7 days old , to up to 14 days old . Birth certificates and/or medical waivers may be required.
Be sure your car seat measures up. An important point: All child seats must meet FAA requirements. But there can be additional restrictions based on the airline and aircraft, so its important to check the dimensions on the airlines website since most airlines contain detailed specifications for the aircraft in their fleets.
Check seat assignments. If you are able to select your seats in advance, be aware that certain seats and even rows on the plane may not accommodate restraints due to exits or oxygen mask availability. And some airlines, such as American, dont allow safety seats in Business or First Class on certain planes.
Recommended Reading: How To Switch Newborn From Breastmilk To Formula
Is It Safe For A Newborn To Fly
When it comes to the safety of flying with a newborn, two issues come up. Health is one of those. Newborns just dont have a developed immune system yet! They could get germs from the air or things around them. This is one of the risks of taking a flight with a young baby. Another issue is injuries or turbulence. Most newborns fly as lap infants meaning they are held by either mom or dad during the flight. The Federal Aviation Administration advocate against this. No matter how good your grip is, its hard to securely hold your newborn in times of turbulence or worse, accidents.
Solving these issues:
Health – First off, make sure your baby is in perfect health condition before even booking that flight! If in doubt, a trip to the pediatrician is not a bad idea. In fact, as mentioned above, some airlines require a health certificate from a physician for babies under certain ages. Once you board, sanitize any surface or object that your little one can be in contact with! This lessens the chance of acquiring germs or bacterias and the baby getting sick.
Injury / Turbulence – The FAA advises the use of child safety restraint systems. Heres a guide on what the FAA considers as safe restraint systems for aircraft use. Youre also allowed to bring your own FAA-approved car seat on board. The problem is if the baby is a lap infant. Ask ahead, the airline might be able to give you a vacant seat to secure your baby during the flight!
How Do We Know If It’s Safe To Travel As A Family
Unless you are fully vaccinated, the CDC still discourages travel. Because vaccines are only available for those ages 5 and up, this may mean that younger members of your family may not yet be vaccinated. In those cases, the CDC encourages individuals to consider the following questions:
- Is COVID-19 spreading where you’re going? You can get infected while traveling.
- Is COVID-19 spreading in your community? Even if you don’t have symptoms, you can spread COVID-19 to others while traveling.
- Will you or those you are traveling with be within 6 feet of others during or after your trip? Being within 6 feet of others increases your chances of getting infected and infecting others.
- Are you or those you are traveling with more likely to get very ill from COVID-19? Older adults and people of any age who have a serious underlying medical condition are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
- Do you live with someone who is more likely to get very ill from COVID-19? If you get infected while traveling you can spread COVID-19 to loved ones when you return, even if you don’t have symptoms.
You May Like: How To Use Solly Wrap Newborn