Air Travel With Child

Overview

Traveling with your children by air can be stressful. Security measures, passports, airline rules and regulations and your child’s individual needs can make the flight procedure complicated. The best way to travel by air with your child is to make sure you are prepared properly for your trip so that even if things don’t go smoothly, you’re able to keep your child satisfied, entertained and happy for the duration of your air travel.

Security

Security can be tricky to get through when you have a child along for the ride. Plan ahead so that you arrive at the airport with plenty of time to get checked in, go through customs, if necessary, and get through the appropriate security checkpoints. Placing your child in easily removable clothing can expedite the security process, and slip-on shoes can make redressing after security more convenient. If your child cannot walk, you may carry him through the metal detector, notes the Transportation Security Administration. Some airports may have more easily accessible security lines for those traveling with children, but call ahead to see if this is the case.

Airline Rules and Identification

Your child should always travel with a form of identification. When traveling within the United States, a birth certificate will suffice. While traveling outside the United States, a passport is necessary for even the smallest of infants. While most airlines will allow children under two years of age to travel unticketed as a passenger on her parent’s lap, you’ll need a birth certificate or immunization record to prove your child’s age. Call your airline ahead of time to see what kinds of concessions are made for those traveling with children, like early boarding or amenities for children with special needs. You’ll find that most airlines are happy to accommodate you.

Safety

When it comes to air travel with your child, safety should be of the utmost importance. If you are traveling with your child as an unticketed lap child, you can still bring along your Federal Aviation Administration-approved child restraint device in the off chance that there is an extra seat on board. Harnesses and car seats work well for this application. If there is no room on the flight, the device can be gate checked for easy retrieval following the flight. If your child is ticketed and under 44 pounds, the FAA strongly recommends a restraint device to keep your child safe on board, as airplane seat belts are not designed for small children.

Snacks and Liquids

Your child will likely require snacks and drinks while on the plane. Depending on the length of your flight, your airline may only offer a limited selection of complimentary drinks and snacks. Because of new regulations, you may bring juice, formula or breast milk on your flight exceeding the usual 3.4-ounce rule, notes the TSA, but they must be X-rayed separately through security. Bring enough of each to last your through the flight and at least two extra hours, calculating amounts based upon what your child usually consumes. Choose high-protein, high-fiber snacks like granola, cheese sticks and fruit leather that can help your child feel full. Avoid snacks and drinks that can spill easily or are messy.

Entertainment

Children are bound to feel bored when confined on a long slight in a small space. Ward off tantrums by packing a variety of busy activities, new toys and movies to keep your child entertained during the flight, no matter how long you plan for it to be. Bring along a comfort item, like a blanket, suggests FamilyEducation.com. Wrap small dollar-store toys so that it seems like a big treat for your child to open, and use things like crayons, coloring books, puzzles and stories. Bring along a portable DVD player and headphones so your child can watch a favorite movie while in the air for a more peaceful experience for everyone.

About this Author

Jae Ireland specializes in keyword research and Internet marketing. Getting her start with a small Internet marketing firm in 2005, she has since designed and written for well over 20 commercial and informational websites. Her areas of interest and expertise include fashion, parenting, home improvement and health and fitness.