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How should I prepare for an airplane trip with my toddler?

I think my toddler is ready for her first airplane trip, so we're taking our first real family vacation! But I'm really worried about her being "that kid" on the plane. What can we do to avoid boredom, as well as ear pain from the pressure changes? What else do we need to know about taking a child on an airplane?

Re: I think my toddler is ready for her first airplane trip, so we're taking our first real family vacation! But I'm really worried about her being "that kid" on the plane. What can we do to avoid boredom, as well as ear pain from the pressure changes? What else do we need to know about taking a child on an airplane?

The Bump Expert

Infants often sleep on flights, can be nursed during take-off and landing for ear relief (in most cases), and can be distracted with toys. But toddlers? Toddlers on airplanes are a whole different story; after all, with much more awareness of their surroundings, fear of flying can come into play. Start several weeks before your flight by watching movies and reading books where the characters ride in airplanes and by playing with airplane toys. Pointing to planes in the sky is a game they’ll definitely want to join.

You may not want to spring for that extra seat, but there are age restrictions for toddlers sitting on laps -- so investigate those rules when you’re buying your tickets. As for ear pressure and pain, sucking on a bottle or pacifier may provide some relief. And, beyond that, keep her as entertained and distracted as possible (as always) with toys and healthy snacks.

Going for a car trip, not an airplane trip? Get some tips here.

The Bump Editors

How should I prepare for an airplane trip with my toddler?

the TSA website...www.tsa.gov offers some information about what you are allowed to bring with you to the airport. We are going on our first trip with a 14 month old and a 7 year old in a few weeks and are bringing the printed copy of the policy with us to avoid troubles from the security clearance....and new toys and books and a dvd player

Laurielocks |

How should I prepare for an airplane trip with my toddler?

We took our one year old on a cross country flight the day after his birthday. He's a pretty mellow kid, but I still was a nervous wreck about how he would do. He had flown once before when he was six months old, but that was a three hour direct flight to Florida. I found that constantly having a new distraction for him was key. A friend also gave me the idea of making a cheerio necklace for him tongnaw on and that was a hit. The key for me though was having my husband's second set of hands. I found that so long as I was able to readily pull out items from my bag of tricks, our little guy maintained his mellow demeanor. My husband also made a point of showing our son everything going on outside. And so long as he had something to suck on, his ears were not a problem. Out of 16 hours of flying (from east to west coast and back) we had one five minute fit and that was only when we dropped our routine and I was both holding our son and trying to retrieve the items I had brought with me to distract him.

nsnyder8 |

How should I prepare for an airplane trip with my toddler?

Traveling with a toddler is a time to be willing to pull out all of the stops if necessary. I definitely agree with bringing new toys and books, healthy snacks such as cheerios and fruit, and a dvd player or ipad loaded with sesame street or something engaging. There are headphones safe for kids like Kidz Gear Wired Headphones For Kids, but if your child won't wear them (ours won't for longer than 5 minutes), you can turn the volume on the speakers up just enough for your toddler to hear. A friend once said to me, I think people would rather hear a quiet kids show than my daughter screaming. :) When our daughter was an infant, her ears weren't bothered by the pressure, and she either nursed or slept through the landings. On my first trip with her on my own, however, around 10 months, she cried incessantly for the entire descent (I was THAT mom and she wouldn't even take a bottle or pacifier). My doctor let me know that I could give her Tylenol about 30 minutes before we start to descend, and ever since then, no problem! (Make sure to check the dosage instructions on the bottle since Tylenol changed it, and check with your doctor for kids under 2). One more tip: If you get the Gogo Kidz Travelmate that turns your car seat into a stroller, you'll have your car seat at the gate. That way, even if you haven't paid for a separate seat for your toddler (can only do this under 2), if there is an open seat next to you, you're prepared with the car seat. We've been able to take our daughter's seat on every time there is an open seat and it makes a big difference for the enjoyment of your flight. Good luck!

johnsonjenj |

How should I prepare for an airplane trip with my toddler?

Don't be so worry. You aren't the first parent who travels with his toddler. I know 10 Packing Tips for Your Next Vacation with your children. If you do as I say You won't have any problems, no matter how you travel, by plane or by bus.

lionking44 |

How should I prepare for an airplane trip with my toddler?

Basically, you must keep him busy with all sort of toys. If this doesn't work, you can try the trick I did when I wanted to go to one of the hotel Athens Greece has: there's a little game called "Airplane", where you take the kid and slowly spin it above your body. My toddler loved it and I managed to keep him quiet in the plane.

LindsaySkye |

How should I prepare for an airplane trip with my toddler?

If it's possible, try to go alone, I mean, you need a vacation, every mother does. It's also better if it's for long distances. I went to Australia this year, due to a gorgeous place I saw on http://www.business2community.com/travel-leisure/proper-etiquette-for-doing-business-in-australia-066986 and it was impossible to go with the toddler, so I left him with my parents, who were thrilled to have him all for themselves.

CheyanneEdith |

How should I prepare for an airplane trip with my toddler?

Next week I'm planning a trip to Australia. I managed to find some good locations on http://hellosundaymorning.com.au/2011/09/26/, but now I'm concerned about the flight. My toddler is afraid of airplanes and I hope that your advice will help.

TawnyCollyn |

How should I prepare for an airplane trip with my toddler?

When I traveled with my family I noticed that my son feels very comfortable in hotels and airplanes. My husband makes jokes with me, telling that our son will be a businessman and he will travel a lot. I pray to God for this.

TawnyCollyn |

How should I prepare for an airplane trip with my toddler?

Actually, I travelled last year by plane after I saw this amazing discount on http://www.flightsite.co.za/flights/airlines/mango-airlines/ with all my family, including my 3 year old girl. At the beginning, she was a total disaster and she complained about the trip all the time. After that, my husband came up with a brilliant idea and began to show her the splendid clouds and invent funny stories about them. Hopefully, she trip succeeded in the end and my daughter was still excited about those interesting stories told by her father.

amyabel68 |

How should I prepare for an airplane trip with my toddler?

My wife wanted a vacation in a city of festivals. We went to the airport, but the security told us that our son is too young to fly. Eventually, we took a ride, but I should be more carefully.

RonAbner56 |

How should I prepare for an airplane trip with my toddler?

I actually wrote a post about traveling with babies and toddlers. Our family is spread all over the world and we've traveled a lot! By Age 2 my son had been to 8 countries! Crazy but true. Here is my post: "Captain, May I Borrow a Parachute? Travel Tips from a Frequent-Flyer Mom" http://www.fefisbaby.com/blog/2013/01/travel-tips-from-a-frequent-flyer-mom/

fhaido |

How should I prepare for an airplane trip with my toddler?

Relax! This is stressful enough without panicking going into it. My family and I are stationed overseas and routinely travel with our kids, for vacations and for official travel, starting just 9 weeks after birth. (Yes, it's a lot easier with newborns.) However you entertain your kids at home, be prepared to do a travel-friendly version of it. Singing songs, telling stories, etc. are favorites for us and work fine on a flight. We've been known to resort to Sesame Street on an iPod but don't usually have to go there. Run the kids in the airport before takeoff - leave yourself as much time as possible at the airport and run the kids ragged so they'll sleep on the plane. If you're doing an overnight flight, try to get them to sleep at least part of the flight to acclimate more easily to your new time zone. But really, just relax! You and the kids will be fine.

formossissima |