Tips for Flying with a Toddler

Toddler Air Travel Tips

If you have to fly with young children, there are some important toddler air travel tips. There is little more daunting to parents than the thought of air travel with a toddler. Most people have experienced a flight in which someone else's child or baby fussed and cried for the duration of the trip. Every parent who finds it necessary to fly with a toddler fears the angry complaints of fellow passengers. By planning ahead carefully and being prepared, parents can reduce many of the difficulties that come with air travel with a toddler. Below are some tips to increase your chances of successful air travel with a toddler.

Making the Reservation

Toddlers should always fly in their own seat equipped with a travel seat. Some airlines allow children under two to fly for free on the lap of an adult, but this is not the safest option and escalates the challenge of flying with a toddler. When you make your flight reservations, make sure you let the ticket agent know that you will be traveling with a toddler. The agent is experienced with easing the travel experience for parents and children. Most likely she will put you and your toddler next to the aisle so you don't have to climb over other passengers to go for a walk. You might also want to request a seat near a bathroom. An agent may even be able to seat you in an aisle where no one else is sitting.

One thing to be aware of is that airline regulations require that large travel seats - any which jut out past the edge of the airplane seat - must be in the window position. This is to prevent it from blocking easy exit; if you want your child sitting in the aisle position, you may want to invest in a smaller scale travel safety seat.

Plan the Day of Flight

Toddler air travel tips begin with preparation. From the time you wake up on the day of the flight you should plan your time to assure smooth traveling with your toddler. Traveling with an over-tired, frustrated, or hungry toddler is asking for a disaster. Try to make the day of travel as stress-free and relaxed as possible. Allow for plenty of time to get to the airport. Don't allow your toddler to pick up on any nervousness you may be feeling about the trip. Present the experience to your little one as an adventure. Leave enough time to show your toddler things of interest at the airport, like the luggage belt. Let him watch from a window how the luggage is loaded on the plane. Try to watch a plane taking off. Keep your own mood light and excited for the trip. If you can plan the trip to coincide with your toddler's nap without leaving him cranky and over-tired, do so. Be aware that your toddler may remain awake anyway because of excitement.

Pack a Special Carry-On Bag

Your carry-on bag should be packed full with things to entertain your toddler. If the flight is a four hour flight, gift wrap four little surprises such as toys or books. Let your toddler know that if he is well behaved for an hour he will be able to open a present. Pack a large supply of favorite snacks for your toddler to nibble on during the flight. This is not the time to worry about spoiling his appetite, but too much sugar could increase excitability so choose healthy varieties. Keep your toddler well hydrated during the flight. Even if he is working on potty training or has already mastered it, you might want to put a toddler diaper on him for the flight. Stories on tape are an excellent short term distraction for many toddlers. If you have a lap top or a portable DVD player, let your toddler watch a new or favorite movie during the flight. One of the most common reasons babies and toddlers cry while flying is because the flight hurts their ears. They don't know to swallow to relieve the pressure in the ear canal. Sucking on a bottle, a sippy cup, a piece of candy or even a straw helps to relieve the pressure too. Remind your toddler to swallow if his ears feel funny but also supply him with something to suck on, especially during take-off and landing. If your toddler still uses a pacifier, this is one good time to encourage its use.

Dealing with Fellow Passengers

No matter how well you plan or pack for your flight with a toddler, you will not be able to completely control his behavior. Do your best to reduce the disturbances for other passengers, but don't allow yourself to get upset if your child cries or fusses. Such a reaction will just upset your toddler more. Most people will be understanding of the situation and may even help in distracting your child. If you encounter an irate passenger, solicit the help of a flight attendant. Hopefully, the attendant will be able to relocate the angry traveler.

Toddler Air Travel Tips Summary

Flying with a toddler in tow is always a challenge. Luckily, there are many toddler air travel tips designed to make the ordeal more pleasant for everyone involved. If you need to do so, careful planning and preparing as well as a well-packed carry-on bag will go a long way to assuring a terrific flight experience for your toddler, you, and everyone else on your flight.

Tips for Flying with a Toddler