Flying with Kids

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When it comes to flying with the kids, being prepared should be every traveling parent’s motto. From planning out seating arrangements to packing purposely, flying with the kids doesn’t have to be turbulent.

 

Before You Book:

Visit your airline’s web page and read about their policies and procedures for traveling with young children. Some airlines limit where car seats can be placed and the number of car seats per row.

 

Purchase the Extra Seat:

The FAA advices parents to keep their kids safe by using an approved child restraint system (CRS).

FAA recommends that a child weighing:

  • Less than 20 pounds use a rear-facing CRS
  • From 20 to 40 pounds use a forward-facing CRS
  • More than 40 pounds use an airplane seat belt
  • A child may also use an alternative, such as a a harness-type restraint, if it is approved by FAA. FAA has approved one restraint (CARES) appropriate for children weighing between 22 and 44 pounds.

 

Purposefully Pack:

Be sure to back your child’s favorite “lovies” or other items that bring comfort to your child. You’ll also want to have an easy to access carryon bag full of small books, games, snacks, drinks and items and articles for changing and cleaning up messes. Note, that you’ll likely have to purchase snacks and drinks for your child once you pass through security.

 

Airports:

Airports can be crazy places! Research the amenities of each airport and terminal your flight is scheduled to depart from before you leave. Some will have great play centers and kid friendly restaurants and others will be bare to the bone.

 

And be sure to allow plenty of time to get to the airport. You never know what can happen with kids and tow and allowing plenty of time for bad traffic, parking, checking bags, and waiting in line can significantly reduce stress.

 

Checking In:

When you arrive at the gate, ask the airline representative if the flight is full. If not, see if you can get placed in a row that has empty seats.

 

It’s also a good idea to board before everyone else. This makes getting everyone (and everything!) into place possible before the passenger rush begins.

 

Diaper Duty:

Be sure your carryon bag has everything that you need to treat an explosive diaper. Be sure to pack a few gallon sized zip top bag to seal out the scent.

You’ll also want to ask the flight attendant where they advise passengers to change their babies.

 

Keep the Kids Busy:

Adults have a hard time sitting still on long flights, so you can only imagine how your energetic young in may feel.

Bring along a hand held video game, laptop or portable DVD player to keep older children occupied. Travel versions of favorite games work well too. Younger kids may enjoy books, small cars and other toys that don’t have tons of pieces that will only end up getting lost.

 

In Flight Napping:

Bring something your child is used to sleeping with. A small blanket, sleep sac or pillow may help them to get some rest in an unfamiliar and crammed place.

 

Dealing with a Difficult Child:

Be prepared for meltdowns and the evil looks from other passengers that are on board. Do your best to keep children from distracting other passengers by kicking seats in front of them or by screaming. Distracting them (your kids and other passengers!) with special treats and small new toys can often head of a meltdown before it starts.

Do you have tips for flying with the kids? Please share them in the comments section below.

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