Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Tips for Traveling with Kids


As the holiday's are approaching which means traveling for many people I thought it might be nice to post some tips for traveling with kids. Taking a trip with children can be challenging so the following are some general guidelines to consider that may make your traveling a little bit easier.


Traveling by Airplane
  • Allow yourself and your family extra time to get through security
  • Be sure children wear shoes and outer layer clothing which are easy to take off for security screening.
  • Talk to your children before coming to the airport about the security screening process.
  • Discuss the fact that it’s against the law to make threats such as; “I have a bomb in my bag.” Threats made jokingly (even by a child) can result in the entire family being delayed and could result in fines.
  • Similar to travel in motor vehicles, a child is best protected on an airplane when properly restrained in a car safety seat that meets standards for aircraft and that is appropriate for the age, weight and height of the child, until the child weighs more than 40 lbs. and can use the aircraft seat belt. You can also consider using a restraint made only for use on airplanes and approved by the FAA. Belt-positioning booster seats cannot be used on airplanes, but they can be checked as luggage (usually without baggage fees) so you have them for use in rental cars and taxis.
  • Although the FAA allows children under age 2 to be held on an adult’s lap, the AAP recommends that families explore options to ensure that each child has her own seat. Discounted fares may be available. If it is not feasible to purchase a ticket for a small child, try to select a flight that is likely to have empty seats.
  • Pack a bag of toys and snacks to keep your child occupied during the flight.
  • In order to decrease ear pain during descent, encourage your infant to nurse or suck on a bottle. Older children can try chewing gum, drinking water or juice through a straw, or filling up a glass of water and blowing bubbles through a straw (4 years of age or older).
  • Wash hands frequently
  • Consult your pediatrician before flying with a newborn or infant who has chronic heart or lung problems or with upper or lower respiratory symptoms.
  • Consult your pediatrician if flying within 2 weeks of an episode of an ear infection or ear surgery.
Traveling by Car
  • Always use seat belts. Car safety seats must be used when necessary. Updated recommendations on safe travel can be found on the AAP website: www.healthychildren.org.
  • Most rental car companies can arrange for a car seat if you are unable to bring your own.
  • A child who has outgrown her car safety seat with a harness (she has reached the top weight or height allowed for her seat, her shoulders are above the top harness slots, or her ears have reached the top of the seat) should ride in a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle’s seat belt fits properly (usually when the child reaches about 4' 9" in height and is between 8 to 12 years of age).
  • All children under 13 years of age should ride in the rear seat of vehicles.
  • Never place a child in a rear-facing car safety seat in the front seat of a vehicle that has an airbag.
  • Children often become restless or irritable when on a long road trip. Try to keep them occupied by pointing out interesting sights along the way and by bringing soft, lightweight toys and favorite CDs for a sing-along.
  • Plan to stop driving and give yourself and your child a break about every two hours.
  • Never leave your child alone in a car. Temperatures inside the car can reach deadly levels in minutes, and the child can die of heat stroke.
  • In addition to a travelers’ health kit (http://www.cdc.gov/travel/other/travelers-health-kit.htm), parents should carry safe water and snacks, child-safe hand wipes, diaper rash ointment, and a water- and insect-proof ground sheet for safe play outside.
The following information came from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) at the following website http://www.aap.org/advocacy/releases/travelsafetytips.cfm.

Are these tips useful? What other suggestions to you have about traveling with children?

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