Travelling with small children – part VI – the flight part II

Another question that one may have about travelling with small children on a plane is whether to use a car seat.  As I mentioned in my last post, if your child is under one, you can use the basinet on the plane.  If your child is between one and two, I strongly recommend you bring a car seat.  We have a Britax car seat and I would not recommend any car seat but this.  It is a bit expensive but it is built like a tank and relatively easy to install in a plane.  This is the same car seat we use in our car.  There are two strong reasons for using a car seat.

1) Safety - airline seats are not made with little travellers in mind

2) Peace - we found that it is much easier to get our children to sleep in the car seat than outside the car seat

There is a trick to attaching the car seat to the airline seat.  To attach the car seat use the following steps.

1) Recline the seat all of the way back.

2) Hook the airline seat belt behind the car seat.

3) Tighten the seat belt as well as you can.

4) Bring the seat forward to the upright position.  The car seat will now be solidly attached to the airline seat.

In terms of what to bring on the plane, consider the following.

1) Calculate the number of diapers you would normally go through in this time (also consider the time waiting at the airport and getting to your destination hotel) and add 50%.  In our experience our little ones tend to go more often on the plane (I have no idea why).

2) An extra change of clothes.  We have never not needed this.

3) Wipes and lots of them.

4) Buy several new toys that he/she/they have never seen before.  Give the toys to them slowly over the trip.  Try to pick toys that will occupy their attention.  Playmobil (the 1-3 toys), puzzles, cars, and crayons/paper have worked well for us.

5) Bring some food you know they will eat.  Place it in a storage container and add an ice pack for the trip.

6) Our 22 month old liked the head phones, but generally on international flights they provide them free of charge.

7) You may want to ask your doctor for something to get them to sleep like Benadryl.  Keep in mind that sometimes this has the opposite effect and gets them hyper, so test it before the trip.

Comments (4)

  1. Gabe says:

    For some reason, there appears to be a correllation between how early in the day a flight takes off and how many children are on it. I always used to take afternoon or evening flights, and just about never saw a child. Then I started taking the first flight of the day, and suddenly they’re packed with whining, screaming, kicking infants!

    To me it would make more sense to take the children on evening flights when they’re more likely to sleep. Have you tested this? Does it work or not work?

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