So the day of your vacation is around the corner and as is expected you are excited. But as much as you are excited this trip is not only for you as you also need to make sure the trip is just as enjoyable for your little ones.
However, if you have a large family you will know that what works with an infant will not necessarily work with a toddler and vice versa. As such it is of utmost importance to make sure that you do a lot of research on what activities to engage your kids in before you head for the airport.
Infants and all children up to the age of two are some of the easiest for plane travel according to Family Travel Association’s Rainer Jenss. At this age the child is very portable and you can carry them practically anywhere you want to go as long as they are comfortable.
However, you do need to make sure that the child’s schedule is not interrupted according to family Vacation Critic’s Amanda Norcross. If the infant usually sleeps or eats at a certain time, make sure that your time during travel does not interfere with these schedules if you want a restful baby.
To keep the child happy make sure to bring along their bottles, books and other favorite toys. Also do not keep the infant in their stroller or baby carrier the whole time as the child could get irritable if they do not have their exercise. Have them walk or just sit on a mat where they can roll around and have some fun.
Toddlers tend to be more active than the infant given that they are more interested in what is going on around them. They will enjoy destinations and even the very fact of traveling will be novel to them. However, you need to get the toddler active so that they can release their energy before they get on the plane so that they will not be a nuisance.
A good idea is to let them play in the hotel pool or take them to the local park where they can run around and play with their toys and other kids to release and refuel. Moreover, you can also get the chance to meet other parents and have some grown up conversation while the kids do their thing.
When traveling by plane, it is even more important that you make plans than when you are traveling by car. This is particularly so, if you are planning to take young children on the flight. With a little bit more of planning, what could have been a terrible experience can be turned into a memorable pleasant and peaceful flight for your children, other travelers, and you.
Some airlines gives parents with children the option of pre-boarding. If your airline offers such a privilege, be sure to take it. Pre-boarding can give you the extra time to settle in and install your child restraint systems or car seat before the other passengers come in. Having the time to settle in before everyone else comes in can make for a more comfortable flight while also giving the airline crew the time to give you a briefing with regard to child safety on the flight.
Traveling with a Child on A Plane
The general advice I normally give to parents on a flight is to always pack light unless what you are carrying is essential for your child. Children particularly toddlers find it hard to sit still for flights that may take hours. As a parent or caregiver, it is expected of you to ensure the child is sufficiently entertained until you get off the plane.
Here are some essentials to make your flight ever more easier:
child friendly headphones
movies and movie player
1-2 new books
1-2 favorite books
new small toys
favorite soft toy
car seat/stroller (check if its FAA Approved and conforms to airline policy)
A change of clothes
For the safety of both child and adult, Canadian Aviation Regulations and the Federal Aviation Administration Regulations require that you should not take care of more than one child that is under the age of two. The reason for this is that, in the instance of an emergency evacuation, it may be difficult for you to evacuate with more than two infants as the aisles, rows and emergency exit openings are very narrow.
Child restraint systems
While children that have not yet two years may ride on your lap during a flight, the FAA recommends that you use an approved child restraint system during the flight. A travel car seat offers the best protection for your child or infant during a flight and gives you peace of mind with regard to their safety in the instance of turbulence. Moreover, with a car seat, you can be confident that the child will likely be more comfortable as they are seating in a familiar seat. Besides you can use the car seat upon reaching your destination rather than renting an unfamiliar one.
If you opt to use an infant or convertible car seat on the plane always:
secure straps out of the way given that you are not allowed to use tether straps on an airplane.
Use the correct path on the car seat to tighten the aircraft seat belt
Follow the installation instructions from the car seat manufacturer
Adhere to airline policies regarding the use of a baby car seat inflight
An approved child restraint system adheres to the Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (CMVSS) 213 or 213.1. Check for a label stating that your child restraint system or car seat is in compliance with regulations from Transport Canada and is safe to use on an airplane.
Some safety car seat that are made for airplanes may be different from the ones that you normally use in your automobile and hence you have to check to ensure yours is compliant before booking your flight.
The following are some specifications for use of baby car seats in airplanes
Loop or belly belts are to be used only for infants and should be attached to the safety belt of an adult via a loop on the baby’s belt. Fasten together the adult belt segments, place the infant on your lap, and fasten their child safety belt around the infant. These devices may not be FAA approved and will not protect the kid from injury in case of an incident in flight.
Child harnesses and vests are not to be used in-flight or at any time on the airplane as they have been shown to be useless in protecting the kid during the take off, landing and during in-flight turbulence.
Booster seats are best for children older than 8 that have typically outgrown the convertible car seat. You can not use any booster seat on an airplane as they have to be used with a shoulder or automobile lap belt which is not allowed in an aircraft.
In Canada you can use the AmSafe CARES safety device which is the only child restraint device that Transport Canada recommends for your child in flight. This device is made for children between weighing between 22 44 pounds, and of 40 inches in height or less aged between 1 and 4. The CARES safety device is the best FAA Approved child restraint which is both FAA approved and Transport Canada approved is installed on the airplane seat using seat belts and ensures that the child’s torso is supported on the back of the plane seat. Nonetheless, it is important o ensure that you use the CARES safety device according to manufacturer recommendations.