44 answers

Seeking Air Travel Tips with a 1-Year Old

Hello to all you mothers,
My husband and I will be going on an international flight to Rome, Italy in June with our 1-year old son for my sister's wedding. We have a connecting flight at Atlanta, Georgia before heading out to Rome. This is our first time traveling with a toddler. I would love to hear any travel tips you have heard of or used to entertain a toddler, keep him occupied, or keep the family sane/comfortable traveling in the airplane and at the vacation destination. I understand that traveling with kids, in general, can be unpredictable, but any "tricks" or tips I can use will help me feel at least somewhat prepared.

2 moms found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you for all of your suggestions. The trip to Rome was enjoyable for both me, my husband, and the baby. Passengers even commented about our 1-year old saying, "he's a good boy" and "I didn't even realize he was here." Breastfeeding, having new snacks, watching DVDs like Baby Einstein/Baby Signs, reading books, and new toys all really helped during the flight.

Featured Answers

We made up backpacks with activities, crayons, snacks, ect. for each of the kids. These worked wonderfully.

Watch out for Benadryl. Eventhough it helps some kids sleep, it can cause others to be over active. I found this out the last time my one year old had a cold. I had a friend who also found this out the hard way as she flew alone with her 1 year old on a red eye across the country. Her daughter did not sleep at all the entire flight.

Get a "sit-n-stroll'. It's a combo car seat & stroller. It goes from the plane to the airport to the rent a car- It's awesome! A portable DVD player w/ Baby Einstein videos help too!

More Answers

We've never done a flight that long, and that could be a big trick in itself, but after several 10 hour flights and lots of time in airports, I can give you some tips. Make sure you bring plenty of snacks (crackers aren't as good because you'll have to go to the bathroom more often) and extra water (they don't always bring around drinks as quickly on the plane and the kids will need it). As far as entertainment, try getting some soft books or quiet books (my family uses them for church too). These are books made out of cloth or flannel, they will often have pockets with various fun pieces that can be placed on each page, making for an interactive book that keeps the kids busy. There are also some fun "flannel board" stories that can be conveniently carried and make for lots of fun. Bring one or two favorite toys, but not more than that as you will lose things when there are too many to keep track of or spend your whole flight looking under every seat for the one thing your child "has to have."
Make sure to bring several books that you can read to your child. Those Color Wonder coloring books are also great if your child is interested because little children can color but the color is only on the book and not all over the chairs, the child, the walls, and you. Make sure it isn't fingerpainting though, just use the markers. In cars, the motion helps children fall asleep, this isn't the case in airplanes, but with young children they will often sleep more than usual anyway. To help this along, make sure to run and play (and wear out the child) whenever you are in an airport and have some space to play. This is important in any case because your willingness to allow your child to run and play with you when it is appropriate will help your child to sit more quietly when it isn't appropriate to run and play. You can also play "finger games" with your children. Rhymes that are set to a melody and use finger motions. Patty cake might drive the other passengers crazy after awhile, so have several memorized and if you have a chance, play them beforehand to see which games the child likes the most. My son loves the song with the 5 little ducks (five little ducks went out to play, over the hill and far away, when the mother duck said quack quack quack, four little ducks came waddling back), you can find these on the Internet, or purchase a book with some ideas, I have a huge book of them, so if you can't find anything you may email me for suggestions. Also, bring at least one thing that is snuggly and familiar, like a stuffed animal or favorite blanket (I hope it isn't too bulky), because he will be in an entirely new situation and will want something familiar to hold on to when he doesn't feel completely comfortable. Other than that, just try to have patience. And if you happen to have a little Benedryl (this is a last resort in my book, but I know some people use it everytime), you can give your child the smallest dosage for his age or weight and that will help him to go to sleep. (PS Have a favorite snack saved for take off and landing as it can be hard on the ears. Chewing and swallowing will help the ears to pop and relieve the pressure.)
If you do decide to email for suggestions on finger plays, please do so before this Thursday as I will be having a baby that day (or wait a few weeks if you have enough time).

1 mom found this helpful

Get a "sit-n-stroll'. It's a combo car seat & stroller. It goes from the plane to the airport to the rent a car- It's awesome! A portable DVD player w/ Baby Einstein videos help too!

Watch out for Benadryl. Eventhough it helps some kids sleep, it can cause others to be over active. I found this out the last time my one year old had a cold. I had a friend who also found this out the hard way as she flew alone with her 1 year old on a red eye across the country. Her daughter did not sleep at all the entire flight.

I, without my husband or other adults, have flown about ten times with my elder son, the last time while I was pregnant with my younger son and my elder son sat on my lap.

If you cannot or do not want to breastfeed your son during the trip, bring the little packets sold by Enfamil as they are quite convenient on a plane with a baby on one's lap.

Bring an umbrella stroller that you can collapse with just one hand to the gate. The stroller will make your trip much easier.

I realize that air travel is not cheap by any stretch of the imagination but I would do my best to buy him a seat! The extra space for your stuff alone is worth every penny. Your son and you will be able to relax with him laying across the seats and you won't be concerned with another passenger! Good luck!

They have movies on the planes for International flights that can entertain him for awhile. When my boys were little I packed tons of snacks and little gifts, I went to the dollar store and bought a bunch of little junkie things. A one years old is a tuff one. Be sure and track your flight time, & Give him Benedryl to sleep when he should. The change in time is what is bad. He won't know what hit him. Its a 9 hour difference. Ask the flight attendant if you can move if there are open seats. Try to change so you can have the row to yourself.They also say that in take-off and landing hurts their ears, so have a empty bottle ( all the regulations, you should be able to buy something once you pass security)and have your baby suck on the bottle for those periods if you can, it is supposed to help his ears.
Good Luck it will be fine.

Having just flown and observed some VERY uncomfortable little ones I have this advice....During take off and landings sing with him all the songs he knows. So, that might mean that between now and your trip you will have to get to know all those crazy videos or TV songs your little one may be watching. Or you might need to learn some (Wee Songs are great ones!) or maybe there are some you do in your family already or in your church? You can't use electronic devices during this time, but there is no restriction on your voice.... and besides YOUR voice is what is he wants to hear anyway! You might want to include a singing routine to being put in his flying seat as well that is fun and happy before your trip. I noted that as soon as the little ones had to go into their seats things really got craaaaazy!

We traveled with our Daughter on an airplane when she was 11 months, I suggest a car seat so he can sleep, and lots of fun food and snacks and maybe even a DVD if he likes to watch cartoons, but the thing that really helps on long flight was what my Pediatrician suggested and that is to give the child a dose of Benadryl and Tylenol 30 minutes beore the flight takes off. It helps with the ear problem and helps them sleep, but ask your pediatrician.

1 / 3
Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.