Child Air Travel Safety

Overview

When traveling with children, you may be so concerned with the schedule, keeping your child occupied and getting through security checkpoints that you forget about airplane and airport safety. An airport and airplanes are usually exciting places for a small child, so it’s important to talk beforehand about how to stay safe while traveling by air. Both you and your child should understand all of the possible ways to stay safe while traveling for a safe and easy flight.

Appropriate Ages

Your pediatrician may discourage you from traveling with a very young baby, notes the Mayo Clinic. Infants younger than six months may not tolerate traveling very well because of pain in their sensitive ears upon takeoff and landing, as well as potential breathing problems. If you want to travel with your young baby, run the idea past your pediatrician first to see what she thinks about it. After six months, travel with your baby is typically fine.

Unaccompanied Minors

Most airlines will allow your child to travel alone after age 5, provided that you pay the fee for a travel chaperon provided by the airline. United Airlines requires all unaccompanied minors to use a chaperon until age 12, but you should contact the airline that your child is flying with to get the correct rules and regulations concerning unaccompanied minors. Chaperons are a way to keep your child safe when you aren’t able to travel with him; the chaperon will see him safely to his destination and make sure he is collected by the appropriate, authorized guardian.

Child Restraints

The Federal Aviation Administration strongly recommends child restraints for children weighing less than 40 pounds. Approved flying restraints included FAA-approved harnesses and car seats on flight. The seat belts provided on airplanes are not made for children under 40 pounds, which is why you should bring along an alternative. Even if you are traveling with a lap child, most airlines will allow you to bring along your car seat and use it in the event that they have empty seats. If the flight is full, you can gate-check the seat to pick up at your final destination.

Airplane Safety

Stay awake and alert throughout the flight. An unsupervised child could get out of her seat and cause problems for the flight attendants and other passengers. Seat your child away from the aisle, recommends AirSafe.com. This reduces the chance of an injury from a passing drink cart or falling luggage. Bring snacks, toys and drinks to keep your child occupied, and obey all instructions from the airline staff concerning seat belts, electronic devices and other safety protocol.

Stranger Danger

Airports are filled with interesting sights, sounds and objects. They can be extremely tempting for children, causing them to wander away. Your child may observe you making small talk with a stranger and assume it is safe to do. Talk to your child before you go on your trip. Talk about the importance of staying close by and not talking to strangers. Talk about what he should do in the event that he is lost in the airport. Some parents invent in harness systems to keep their children close at hand on a leash. Choose the method that works best for you.

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.