Family-Friendly Flying



Keep your family safe in the air

Once you have a child, even the most routine travels become an adventure in parenting.  While flying with your baby isn’t the easiest method, many young babies do travel well in flight. Here are some tips on keeping your family safe while flying.

Preventing injuries
Turbulence is the most common injury among airline passengers according to the FAA, and it’s recommended that children be restrained during the flight, just like you are! 

The FAA recommends that children weighing less than 20 pounds should use a rear-facing child restraint system.  Between 20 and 40 lbs., a forward-facing child safety seat should be used, or an FAA approved harness device.  Make sure that the child safety seat is approved for use on an aircraft – the approval will be printed on the system’s information label or on the device itself.

While the FAA does not require the purchase of an airline ticket for any child younger than 2 years, buying a ticket is the only way to guarantee that a child safety seat can be used during a flight. Check with the airline to see what their rules are or if there are any discounts available for children.

Traveling with your baby on your lap
If you have no choice but to have your child on your lap, try to choose your seat wisely. A window seat is harder to get out of, while with an aisle seat you need to make sure that your child doesn’t get bumped by people and carts in the aisle.  Book the aisle and middle seats, with baby in the middle seat (it’s unlikely these days that there will be any empty seats, since most flights are overbooked). You may also want to try for the bulkhead row, which may have more space.

In-Flight Comfort
Dress your child in easy on/off layers so you are prepared for whatever in-flight conditions you may find. Elastic waist pants, zip-up outfits, and easy-snap crotches make it easier to change a diaper in cramped quarters. Some supplies to carry on include diaper supplies, a change of clothing, a favorite blanket or stuffed animal, and tissues/paper towels.

Ear pain from the cabin pressure
Many adults feel the changes in cabin pressure as ear discomfort, however babies often don’t actually show any sign of having ear pain.  Adults can chew gum to help relieve the pressure; for babies, try offering a breast, pacifier, or bottle during takeoff and landing. You can take comfort in knowing that the amount of noise in the cabin (100 decibels or so) can help to limit how far a crying baby can be heard. We do not recommend using cotton balls or small earplugs as they may become choking hazards. Babies tend to sleep more reliably at night after the first few weeks, so a late-night flight may be one way to get him or her to sleep through the trip.

Source: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/on-the-go/Pages/Family-Friendly-Flying.aspx

Learn more at healthychildren.org.



Other articles by Children's Medical Group


  • 115 people die every day from opioid abuse

    Know the dangers, protect your teen

    Every day, approximately 115 people die from opioid overdose. Learn about the dangers of these commonly abused drugs and how you can help your teen. read more »
  • Growing up Gender Non-Conforming or Transgender

    Help your child develop their gender identity

    As a parent, your responsibility is to make sure you provide your children with the tools they need to grow into healthy, happy adults. Gender is a huge part of your child's identity. Help them express their true selves! read more »
  • Asthma, the flu, and your family

    Is your family prepared?

    We're in the peak of cold and flu season here in the Hudson Valley. Our friends at Children's Medical Group share insights on dealing with asthma, the flu, and more! read more »
  • The Power of Story Time

    Plus recommendations from the American Library Association

    While parent-child reading has been shown in some behavioral studies to improve oral language and print concepts, quantifiable effects on the brain have not been studied until recently. read more »
  • Improving Your Teen’s Performance in School

    Strategies to help your teen succeed

    Helping your teenager’s performance in school can be a challenge! It involves considerable patience, oversight, and perseverance. Supporting your child’s physical and mental health so she or he can do their best at school is essential, and often paves their way for future successes in college or in the workplace. Here are some strategies to consider as you seek to help your teenager. read more »
  • Bedtime routines for your school-aged kids

    Changing schedules from summer to school are not always easy.

    With the summer coming to a close it may be hard for your kids to change their routine from summer fun to a school regimen. Here are some easy to use tips that will make the transition easier. read more »
  • Winter Fun While Staying Safe

    Best ways to prevent accidents on ice or snow

    It's easy for kids to get hurt while sledding, skating or snowboarding. Check our some some easy to follow tips that will make having fun less painful. read more »
  • What do I do about my son's constant "summer colds"?

    Dr. Marc Habert of Children's Medical Group answers the question

    Q. My son seems to have one “summer cold” after another. I’m beginning to wonder if it could be an allergy. How do I tell the difference, and what can I do to help him get through the summer months? A. Allergies are by far the most common chronic diseases among children in the US. They are caus... read more »
  • Heat Related Illnesses

    How to Keep Your Child Safe During the Hottest Weather

    When it comes to heat related illnesses, which can become quite serious, prevention is the best medicine – and to make sure children drink enough fluids, as well as take breaks to rest in the shade (or wet themselves down). read more »
  • I have heard that there is a measles outbreak in New York. Is measles really very serious?

    Measles was nearly eliminated from the US until a few recent outbreaks.  The vaccine has been so effective that most people have no idea just how serious and highly contagious this disease is.  Before the vaccine was developed, 400-500 people would die of measles in the US every year. ... read more »