6 tips for flying with babies and toddlers

By Elisa Chia   — November 26, 2016
  • Your baby won’t stop crying on the flight. You have tried all the usual methods to calm her down.
    1 / 7 Your baby won’t stop crying on the flight. You have tried all the usual methods to calm her down.

    What you can do The extra stimulations – lights, sounds, being confined and in a foreign place – may often be too much for the little ones.

     

    “Take your baby to the back of the plane or somewhere dark – like the A380 jet’s stairwell,” suggests Alissa Cuthbert, a business owner who travels frequently with her two young kids.

     

    She adds: “Cover both of your heads with a blanket while reassuring her. Yes, it will look funny, but it does work. Distraction also helps with older kids – read a book, sing a song or simply take a walk.”

     

    If all else fails, pack some earplugs and a very thick skin and just ride it out. It might not seem like it at the time, but the moment will eventually pass.

     

    (Click on arrows in photos to read more.) 

     

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  • Your toddler insists on walking up and down the aisles, even when the seatbelt sign is on.
    2 / 7 Your toddler insists on walking up and down the aisles, even when the seatbelt sign is on.

    What you can do A good way to manage a long flight is to prepare your young child for what is coming. Explaining the rules beforehand means the restrictions won’t seem so unexpected.

     

    “It also helps to tell her that as soon as the sign goes off, she can go for a walk along the aisles – if she sits still now and doesn’t fuss,” says Alissa.

     

    So long as she isn’t distracting or annoying other passengers, it can help time pass for everyone if you allow your little one to walk.

     

    Sometimes, using a child’s harness means that while she has a small area around the seat to play and walk, you still have her restrained.

     

    In situations where your tot must sit still, use distractions. Before take-off, have some small books and toys with you in the seat that you can use whenever the seatbelt sign is on.

     

    If not, play games and sing action songs, such as Where is Thumbkin? and Five Little Ducks Went Out One Day. “The actions and songs will both soothe and distract at the same time,” advises Alissa.

     

    Producer Amber Oh usually offers raisins to her two kids during landing and take-off. “Food usually works. If that fails, it’s a good time to ask the aircrew for some toys,” she shares.

     

    Related: When is it safe to travel with your baby?

     

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  • You’ve run out of nappies/formula/food or the baby clothes are all soiled and wet.
    3 / 7 You’ve run out of nappies/formula/food or the baby clothes are all soiled and wet.

    What you can do UHT milk is usually available on most flights, so you can use this as a stopgap if you run out of formula milk.

     

    If the plane doesn’t carry that or nappies, ask the other parents around you if they have something you can use.

     

    Weaning babies can also eat mashed vegetables from the adult meal if you run out of food.

     

    Many travelling parents also carry spare sets of clothes, so ask if you can borrow theirs and return them by post later.

     

    If that’s not a solution, swaddle your baby in a blanket or adult jacket, suggests Alissa. Next time, be sure to carry at least two for Baby and one for yourself.

     

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  • Baby is asleep, but your elder child insists he needs to go to the toilet.
    4 / 7 Baby is asleep, but your elder child insists he needs to go to the toilet.

    What you can do If you are travelling alone with two kids, ask a flight attendant if she can stand watch over your sleeping child while you take your tot to the bathroom.

     

    Or if you’ve developed a good relationship with the passenger next to you, you can ask her, too.

     

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  • Your baby suddenly develops a high fever and you have no medication.
    5 / 7 Your baby suddenly develops a high fever and you have no medication.

    What you can do First, ask the flight attendant if the plane carries infant paracetamol or if she can source some for you from the other passengers.

     

    “Ask for a cool, wet cloth and strip Baby down to light clothing,” suggests Alissa.

     

    “Sponge her head frequently and ensure she gets plenty of fluids throughout the flight. Unless Baby is in pain or suffering other symptoms that are preventing sleep, this should suffice till you land and medication can be bought at the airport.”

     

    If he seems very sick, request that the flight attendant make an announcement over the loudspeaker system to see if there is a doctor aboard who can take a look at your baby.

     

    Related: Mum robbed while on vacation alone with baby: we were left with nothing! 

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  • The person next to you is obviously unhappy to be sitting next to your active tot.
    6 / 7 The person next to you is obviously unhappy to be sitting next to your active tot.

    What you can do “Either ask the flight attendant to find another seat for her, or move you,” suggests Alissa.

     

    “If there are no spare seats, I sit closest to the other passenger to create a block between him and my kid. As long as your kid is well behaved, it’s really his issue at the end of the day.”

     

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  • You find yourself on a full flight, assigned to two middle seats with no access to the aisle. How do you get up and down to change nappies, wash bottles or access your overhead bags?
    7 / 7 You find yourself on a full flight, assigned to two middle seats with no access to the aisle. How do you get up and down to change nappies, wash bottles or access your overhead bags?

    What you can do Don’t sit there suffering; ask if you can change seats.

     

    Most times, if you explain yourself nicely, other passengers may prefer to swop with you than have you constantly climbing over them throughout the flight.

     

    If this isn’t possible, Alissa suggests: “Ping the stewardess to help do the task for you.”

     

    (Photos: 123RF.com)

     

    Related: Top 10 toys to occupy your child on a flight

     

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