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Let's face it, flying with children will never be an easy task. The days where we could show up an hour before our scheduled departure & still manage to get our luggage checked, grab the latest gossip magazine at the news stand & down that pre-flight cocktail, ALL before pre-boarding. LONG GONE!
Just because we now have children dictating our getaways doesn't mean flying is the nightmare our favorite sitcoms have us believing. Here are 10 tips to make your next flight a little less bumpy.
1. Liquids ~ The most common fear newbie parents have is not having a bottle available at all times during the flying process. A simple bottle can usually guarantee a newborn sleeping through an entire flight. TSA states no liquids, but lucky for us parents, formula, breast milk and juice are permitted through the security checkpoint for infants & toddlers. Just inform the TSA officer at the beginning of the screening process that you do have liquids for your child & they will screen the liquids via x-Ray.
2. Sucking ~ Yes, that's right, sucking! Have a bottle/sippy easily available during your flight & have your child suck on that bottle during takeoff & landing to prevent their ears from popping. Is your child getting unusually fussy during the flight? Stick that bottle in your child's mouth & usually that fussing will stop since again. It was most likely ear popping causing the issue.
3. Screening Kids ~ Kids have it a tad bit easier when going through security than us adults. Children 12 and under can leave their shoes, jackets and headwear on during screening, so no worrying about losing a shoe. Additionally, you may carry your child to ease the screening process.
4. Traveling With A Disabled Child? ~ All you have to do is inform the TSA officer of your child's disability, medical condition or medical device, then tell the officer the best way to relieve any concerns during the screening process. Inform the TSA officer if your child needs you to carry them through the metal detector. The TSA officer will also not remove your child from their mobility aid, wheelchair or scooter. As annoying as the screening process is, TSA officers are there to help you, so just tell them how to do so.
5. Do Not Check Your Stroller! ~ I repeat, do NOT! Unless you plan on getting a workout in & carrying your child through the airport, just don't do it! Strollers are a total lifesaver during layovers or for sprinting through the airport trying to make that tight connection. Most airlines will allow you to push your stroller all the way to the gate. They’ll then check it at the gate, and have it waiting for you outside the plane door when you deplane.
6. Bring Your Car Seat On Board or Purchase an Airline Safety Harness ~ Children know once strapped in, they have no choice, but to sit still. They are in that seat until we unbuckle them. Yes, they are a pain to lug & yes, it sounds cruel to make them sit in a car seat when they aren't forced to by law, but that seat will save you from a child thinking they are free to wander the plane the first few times they fly. Check to see if your car seat is airline approved. If your specific seat isn't approved or if you travel often & your child still isn't trusted to stay seated without being strapped in, purchase an Airline Safety Harness, which straps to your child's seat and keeps them strapped in the same way a car seat would.
7. Tablets, Phones, iPods ~ No doubt about it, regardless of age, electronics are the preferred way to entertain these days. I recommend taking away these devices a few days before your flight. Once on your journey & your child starts to get antsy, pull out that tablet and bam! You would think your child never saw such a device before and you now have your child entertained for at least a bit.
8. Night Time Diapers ~ I'm going to go with due to all sucking mentioned in number 2, children seem to pee more than usual when up in the sky. First of all, pack more diapers than you could ever imagine using. Also, do yourself a favor & splurge on a pack of nighttime diapers. They can make for less lavatory trips since they seem to hold up longer. Nothing worse than your child peeing out of a diaper & having a line at the lavatory. Night time diapers seem to help prevent such leakage issues while waiting to take care of the problem.
9. Entertainment ~ iPads, tablets & phones do work wonders, but don't kid yourself. If you're on a longer flight, your child is going to get bored. Channel that energy into some calm and productive play. A trip to your local dollar store and picking up a few lightweight, no fuss items can turn your flight into a rather enjoyable one.
10. Board With Young Children Last ~ Yes, you heard me correctly! I never really understood pre-boarding with young children. Confining your child to an itty bitty space up to an hour before take-off has always sounded ridiculous to me. Instead, if traveling with another adult, have one adult board with as many carry-ons as they can manage. Their job is to get your belongings into an overhead bin and get the car seat or harness installed, if you have one. The other adult should play & tire the little one out in the departure lounge until the last possible minute. Then just board, buckle in & pray for nap time.
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