Traveling with children is always an adventure. I have always believed that the benefits of showing your children different parts of the country and world outweigh the stress of taking the kids with you, as traveling can help your kids make decisions later in life on where they want to live. Here are some tips from the AAP to help make travel with kids safe and less stressful:
Traveling by Airplane
- Talk to your child about the security screening process before you leave for the airport. Explain that he will need to walk through the metal detector and that he must put his bags in the X-ray machine – but that all of his items will come out at the other end and will be returned to him.
- Remember that strollers can be brought through airport security and gate-checked.
- Even though the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) allows children under age two to be held on an adult’s lap, the AAP recommends that all children have their own seat. (A child is best protected when properly restrained in a car seat appropriate for their age, weight and height. Airlines typically allow families to bring a child’s car seat as extra luggage without an additional luggage expense.)
- Bring a bag of toys and snacks to keep your children entertained during the flight.
- To decrease ear pain, encourage your infant to nurse or suck on a bottle as the plane climbs or descends.
- Talk with your child’s doctor to see if he may need additional vaccines to travel internationally, as well as make sure he is up-to-date on routine vaccinations.
- Adjust your child’s sleep schedule two to three days before your departure to help avoid jet lag.
- If you will be doing any driving or riding in a car, plan to bring a car seat with you or arrange to have one for when you land.
- If your hotel is providing you with a crib or play yard, make sure you inspect it thoroughly as they may not meet current safety standards. (If you have any doubt about the safety of the crib or play yard, ask for a replacement or put a mattress on the floor.)
Traveling by Car
- Always use a car seat for infants and young children. (If you’re renting a car, arrange with your car rental company to have a car seat and inspect it to make sure it is appropriate for the size and age of your child.)
- Wear your seat belt at all times, even in a taxi, to set a good example for your children.
- Plan to take a break from driving about every two hours (to give both you and your child a break).
- Make sure your child has plenty of activities to keep them occupied during the car ride. (You can bring toys and play their favorite music to help ensure they’re entertained.)