I’ve never experienced the stress of flying or traveling long distances with toddlers and infants, but I hear from friends that the ordeal can be a nightmare for everyone involved. However, I know that I get cranky on airplanes and long car rides, so I can only image how awful it can be for parents and their children. If you have an upcoming trip by plane planned, check out some of these tips from knowledgeable parents and hopefully their advice will makes the whole process a little easier.

Arrive Early and Plan Ahead of Time
The first thing you should do before traveling by plane is research the airline’s policies on children and ensure that you have all the proper paperwork. If you plan to hold your child in your lap, you don’t have to pay for a ticket. However, you must have your child’s birth certificate. Also, for some airlines you may have to have a note from your doctor if your child is one year old or younger to certify that your child is healthy enough to fly.

You will also need to have a passport for any child traveling with you. This is a relatively new law that you may not be aware of, but it can cause big problems. These days you even need a passport to travel to Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Getting to the airport with more than two hours to spare will also give you time to calmly go through the checking in process without stressing about time constraints.

Bring the Necessary Items
This means bringing necessary items for your child and bringing only the necessary items for yourself. If you have to look after an infant or a toddler, you don’t want to be carrying any more luggage than you absolutely need. If you do have to bring more than a few bags, check the bulky items that you have to carry and make sure your carry-on either has wheels or can be strapped to your back comfortably.

For infants, make sure that the diaper bag has plenty of wipes and extra diapers, because you don’t want a delayed or canceled flight to leave you diaperless. For entertainment, bring a portable DVD player and headphones for toddlers, and a few key toys that will capture your infant’s attention effectively. Also, don’t forget a security blanket, toy, or stuffed animal to help relieve your child’s stress.

On the Flight
There’s not much parents can do for their children on airplanes. However, what you can do is try to make your child as calm and stress free as possible. To help with the pressure, you can nurse or offer a bottle or pacifier to your child to help relieve the pain.

Carter, E. (2010, June 16). Stress free flying with infants and toddlers. Simple Kids.