Tips on How to Air Travel With a Toddler

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    Book a Direct Flight

    • The hassle of dealing with a toddler during a layover is stressful. If possible, parents should book a direct flight to their destination to avoid repeating the process of boarding the plane, taking off and landing.

    Get There Early

    • Gone are the days of breezing through airport security and showing up at the gate right before boarding. When a toddler is involved, allowing plenty of time at the airport to check-in, clear security, and prepare for boarding will minimize stress for the family. Security checkpoints require parents to remove children from strollers, fold everything up, take off shoes (including the child's), and then reassemble everything. This can take some extra time.

    Play Before Boarding

    • Rather than taking advantage of pre-boarding, parents should consider boarding last. Let toddlers run around the gate area until the very last minute to burn off excess energy prior to boarding. By the time the plane rolls down the runway, they might be settling in for some downtime.

    Bring Entertainment and Snacks

    • Resourceful moms have been known to buy inexpensive toys, wrap them like holiday gifts and surprise their toddlers on the plane. The excitement of new toys will often keep toddlers busy for hours. Also, packing snacks that toddlers enjoy will keep them occupied and happy.

    Strap Them In

    • While children under 2 can fly free in a parent's lap, families should consider purchasing toddlers their own seats on the plane, which allows parents to bring a car seat on board. Not only will this protect the child from turbulence, but it gives parents some sanity throughout the flight. Alternatively, invest in CARES, a lightweight harness that wraps around the seat back and loops through the plane's lap belt. The Federal Aviation Administration has approved the device for kids who weigh 22 to 44 lbs (around 1 to 4 years old).

    Prepare for Pressure

    • Take-off and landing pressure is painful for little ears, so prepare for this ahead of time by bringing some essentials on board. Prepare a sippy cup or bottle for these instances, or provide a pacifier, which reinforces the sucking motion and can alleviate pressure.

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