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Travel Tips - Travelling With A Baby/Infant
Travelling with a baby or young child can be a nerve racking experience, especially if it is your first time on a long journey, or overseas. I am an experienced traveller, but was quite anxious when taking our son away to Florida with us for the first time when he was a mere 3 months old. He is now 14 months old and has been to Orlando 5 times, with his sixth visit planned soon. I think we have experienced all the wind, teething, tiredness and frustrated moments that all little travellers have and would like to share with you some general points to make your journey easier. Some of them may seem obvious, but in the rush to get out of the house and catch a flight it doesn’t hurt to mention them. On our second trip we left the pushchair at the front door!!!
Make a list of items needed for the flight
Spare nappies, creams, nappy sacks, spare clothes, wipes, disposable/travel changing mat or liner
Food: made up bottles, flask of hot water, empty bottles, ready made formula, food, spoons, bibs, cups, bibs, muslin
Emergency items for baby: Calpol, teething granules, baby Bonjela, antiseptic wipes
Extras such as toys, dummies/pacifiers
Try to arrive at the airport as soon as possible so that you are not in a long hot queue/line for so long. If the airline you are using has infant positions you have more chance of getting one of these seats onboard if you arrive early. Most scheduled airlines have baby seats, but they are less common with charter carriers. The baby/infant positions are usually at the front bulkheads of the cabins onboard the aircraft and some airlines have a choice of a bassinet for young babies or offer a fold up seat for older babies.
If you do not already have one, consider purchasing a smaller umbrella fold pushchair/stroller. These are light weight and you will be able to take it to the aircraft door with you. Depending on the airline, number of passengers and the airport, if they are small enough and there is room they may be allowed onboard the aircraft, otherwise they will get put into the hold and again airport depending will either be at the door of the aircraft when you disembark or on the baggage belt.
Children under the age of 2 will have to be on an adults lap for take off and landing. British carriers insist on an extension seat belt during take off, landing and turbulence. American carriers just need to have the child on an adult lap.
If you have booked a seat for your infant and are planning to take your own child seat on board with you to use then check with the airline for the type of seat they allow. It would be a shame to carry a seat all that way to find it wasn’t aircraft friendly. British and American carriers do vary but as a guide they usually have to be forward facing, all plastic no metal frame, have a 5 point harness, be able to be fastened by a lap belt and not a shoulder belt and allow enough space for you to pass in front of it or otherwise it will need to go by a window. If you have got your seat with you, you may find depending on the age of the child they will still need to be on your lap for take off and landing, the seat will be allowed only for the cruise.
Try to give your child something new to play with, a book or toy but preferably one that does not make a lot of noise! No toy guns either for security reasons.
If you have a young baby then it helps to give them a bottle/drink on take off and again when you land to help them equalize their ears. Alternatively if it is too far away from a feed time then a dummy/pacifier is good to encourage them to suck and swallow.
If you have not got a seat for your child then remember to order a meal for your baby when you book your ticket if you need one. Most airlines can accept a request for a meal up to 48 hours prior to a flight. If you have a child over the age of 2, be sure to request a child meal when you book your ticket also. Some airlines do this automatically but it is best to request it.
If you have your own food with you the crew will be happy to heat it for you. Disposable jars are ideal as they can stand in a pot of hot water to be heated. The equipment on an aircraft does not stretch to a microwave so stick to jars or containers that can stand in a large tea pot! Bottles are also heated this way. The crew can forget about them if they are busy in the middle of a service or something, so keep an eye on your watch yourselves – the crew are not responsible for the temperature!
Author: Camilla Heron
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