T.W. asks from Norwalk, CA on April 01, 2009
Taking 14 Month Old on 5 Hour Flight...
I'm completely terrified about taking my little one on vacation with us, but I really want to go! It is about a 5 hour flight and we will be in coach seating. Please give me ANY ideas as to how to make the flight comfortable for my baby, ourselves, and everyone who has to be on that flight with us! I'd love to hear about your experiences and any "secrets."
thanks a billion!!!
3 moms found this helpful
So What Happened?™
Even though I haven't gone yet, I wanted to say, "thank you" to all of you moms who have given me the most and best advice I could ask for. I am going to use all of your advice!!! Thanks so much, I really appreciate it!
C.P. answers from San Diego on April 02, 2009
hi, good luck. i just flew and it was tough. some tips others told me.
bring novel toys/books. things they haven't seen in a while. if its the same 'ol stuff, they get bored too quick.
snacks and drinks for ears/take off/landing.
i would go out and buy a portable DVD player. would have been a life saver. worth every penny. i just saw one for $80.00 at Costco.
D.C. answers from Los Angeles on April 01, 2009
I have taken my daughter on 3 airplane trips (all short flights): to Phoenix when she was 7 months old, and to Phoenix and Las Vegas this month (17 months old). They were all short flights, which I was very glad for. My daughter is too active, and I was by myself, so an hour on the plane is enough.
It's really helpful if you can get your side of the row to yourself. On the trips to Phoenix, we were on the little planes that have two rows of two seats. When she was 7 months old, I bought a seat for her and strapped her in her car seat. She took short naps on both flights. This time, I didn't buy her a seat on any of the flights, but on the Phoenix trip the men seated next to me moved "to give me more room" :-) and it was a huge help. The Las Vegas flight was a plane with two rows of three seats, and we had nobody else on our side on the way out there, and nobody seated in front of us. So it was nice because my daughter is obsessed with putting the tray table up and down, and kicked the seat a few times, but we didn't bother anybody. On the flight home, there was a lady on the aisle seat, but the middle seat was empty, and my daughter was so exhausted she slept the whole way - that was the best flight yet!! So my advice would be to buy a seat for her if you can afford it, or to travel during the non-busy times (Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday) to try to have as much space for yourself as you can. I booked a window seat on all the flights (if you bring the car seat on the plane it will need to go in the window seat), and my daughter liked looking at the window at the people on the ground, and at everything moving by as we took off.
Bring snacks, those are always good for keeping her occupied, and you'll need food if you get delayed. You can also bring a drink for your daughter - just separate it with the other liquids, and the TSA will have you open the bottle/cup so they can test it to make sure it's not an explosive (they won't put anything in the liquid, just wave this little strip thing over the top to pick up any fumes). I bring my daughter's favorite snacks: bananas, goldfish, animal crackers, grapes.
I have the Sit'N'Stroll carseat/stroller, which makes it very convenient for traveling and then you have a car seat at your destination. If you're renting a car, it might be easier to rent a car seat from the car rental place.
As far as keeping them occupied during the flight, good luck! I brought books and toys during the flight. My daughter did like the "Brown Bear" book on the first flight to Phoenix, but really wasn't interested in the books on our flights to Vegas. I bought the "Barrel of Monkeys" at Target, but that lasted for about 20 seconds until she started throwing them into the aisle and I took them away. I bought the Crayola Tadoodles at Target. My daughter isn't really interested in coloring, but she liked taking the crayons in and out of the holder. By the way, baby wipes take the crayon off of the airplane walls and tray with one swipe ;-) . If she has a favorite toy or book, bring that, and also bring something new that might hold her interest for a while. My daughter doesn't watch TV or movies yet, so I didn't even try that. We were on Jet Blue to and from Vegas, and she barely glanced at the TV screens.
The best thing would be if you can get her to sleep on the airplane, or for at least a portion of the flight. But any time I've tried to time her naps, I end up defeated!
Good luck to you!
1 mom found this helpful
R.L. answers from Los Angeles on April 02, 2009
All of the other moms have given you really good suggestions already, but here's a couple more. I used to pack a number of small cloth and paperback picture books. My kids loved to look through them and be read to for hours on end. Also for the small toys, tie each of them to a string or make them hookable onto baby links (safer). Attach a clip to the car seat to attach the string or links to. That way, when baby throws or drops the item she's playing with you don't have to try to fish it out from under the seat, or try to find it when it's rolled 5 aisles across the plane -- diagonally!
A word about carseats -- definitely buy a seat for your child and strap her car seat into it. It's tempting to save the money by having a lap child but it is so much safer for your baby and easier on you if she's in a car seat. In turbulence or a mid air emergency, the amount of force generated by the momentum of a small child is far greater than the strength of your arms. Frankly, I think it is irresponsible of airlines to even offer parents the option of letting children under 2 travel as lap children, and that they should be mandated to either provide appropriate safety seats or tell parents at booking that they won't be able to board if they do not bring their own. They should follow the same weight and height rules as mandated for automobile travel. Just my two cents!
Oh, and on the issue of Benadryl, read Jill Connor Browne's comment in "The Sweet Potato Queen's Guide to Raising Children for Fun and Profit" (a really funny, but also very wise, book). She opines that if the Pharma reps were REALLY smart, they would be giving their free samples to the airlines for flight attendants to pass out with the drinks. Benadryl for the kiddies and Xanax for the adults, in her tongue-in-cheek opinion, would make air travel far more comfortable for everyone! ;-)
Enjoy your vacation!
K.R. answers from San Diego on April 02, 2009
We have taken both of our kids on long flights like that, and 90% of the time they did great. Don't stress, they can feel it. Try to not have them nap before the flight. Invest in a portable DVD player and take Baby Einstein or kids movies. The bottle, breastfeeding, binky or pacifier will help their ears for take-off and landing. Books and something cuddly, plus favorite blankie. SNACKS !! Walk up and down the isle. Good Luck.
T.R. answers from San Diego on April 02, 2009
Lots of good suggestions here; a few more:
1. DVD player a must. I really resisted the DVD, but we finally broke down and got one and the plane trips were much better (we travel to/from EC and WC 2 to 3 times a year)
2. Box of bandaids - sounded silly to me at first, but so much fun to a toddler! and they unstick very easily - our window was covered, but they came right off.
3. Lovies - don't forget the comfort items. This will help to encourage rest or nap time.
4. All the other stuff; diapers, change of clothes (just in case) extra shirt for you (I've had plenty of milk, juice, etc. spilled all over me) books, coloring books/crayons, books and plenty of snacks.
N.G. answers from Los Angeles on April 02, 2009
as the parents of an 18 year old, that has traveled for 18 years...benedryl! Makes them sleep and a 1 time situation or 2 is not a big deal. If you are comfortable, call your ped. and he will tell you what to give the baby. Also, sucking on anything to keep their ears open. This is a fear factor as they scare when the ears pop. As the child gets older, harder candy that chews or big was of bubble gum! I promise, it's not as bad as you might think.
P.S. at the very early age, my husband would walk the aisles with our son in a carrier.
M.B. answers from Los Angeles on April 02, 2009
In addition to the other great advice, I would consider a portable DVD player. It was a god-send when flying with our two year old. We don't normally watch lots of TV so this was a treat. We borrowed one from a friend. They can also be pretty handy if you have an extended layover or if you're visiting a place that isn't super interesting for a kid.
In the airport, my son loved going back and forth on the moving sidewalk.
Other than that, be prepared to walk the aisles a lot. Also, Colorforms are good, quiet toys. We also had something called "My Quiet Book", a fabric book with shoelaces to tie, buttons to button, zippers to zip...
T.R. answers from Los Angeles on April 02, 2009
Get a Sit and Stroll! It is a car seat that turns into a stroller that turns into a flight seat and a booster seat. Practice raising and lowering the wheels with the baby strapped in so when you fly it will be easier than trying it out in the stressful airport. Using a Sit and Stroll helps so you don't need to drag along a stroller and a car seat etc. I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED mine and even used it when I was not traveling, just around town because my kids would fall asleep in the car and then I'd turn the Sit and Stroll into a stroller and wheel my sleeping babe into the house and let him continue sleeping. The seat fits right into an airplane seat and is FAA Approved. My kids felt comfortable in it since the seat was familiar and theirs. I wouldn't travel with a small child without one. Happy Travels!
P.M. answers from San Diego on April 02, 2009
We just got back from a 5+ hour flight and this is what we did. We bought the baby his own seat and strapped his car seat in (since we needed it anyway). He's familiar with the seat and sleeps great in it. Extra clean clothes and bags to put dirty ones and extra diapers/wipes (just in case of flight delays...i haven't seen diapers/wipes sold at many airports). Whatever helps your baby adjust to cabin pressure (nursing, sippy cups, pacifier, etc). Cabin pressure usually worse during decents as they often take 15+ minutes. We also brought our Baby Bjorn in case we had to walk the aisles (our baby is 10 months). If your child has a cold before your vacation, take your baby to the doctor to get checked out. Our son had a double ear infection at the time and the doctor prescribed ear numbing drops....those were a life saver. We had an umbrella stroller and wheeled right up to the gate and checked it there and it was waiting for us when we landed. Other than that, snacks, some toys, blanket. My husband bought a big pack of ear plugs just in case the baby cried a lot. He figured if the baby cried at least he could offer the ear plugs to the people sitting around us....turns out we didn't need them. Once you get your first flight in, the rest will be a piece of cake.