2 Year Old on an Airplane..

Updated on April 20, 2012
S.A. asks from Bremerton, WA
12 answers

We are going on vacation and was wondering what kind of advice you have for taking a 2 year old on a plane. I plan on bringing crayons, coloring book, some other toys, but I'm not sure he's going to want to sit in the seat the whole time. We took him on vacation when he was 7 months old, but that was pretty easy...

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

We ended up using his car seat. We had snacks and our p s p and books. it worked out well.

Featured Answers



answers from Portland on

Bring lot's of finger foods/snacks. Perhaps some he hasn't had before.
Also, playdough is a good distractor.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers


answers from Jacksonville on

A portable dvd player can save your life! We have flown several times with my daughter, from the time that she was 1 1/2 till now 3 1/2. This is what we do.

!. Portable player and maybe a new movie or two.
2. Stickers. She can stick them all over the me, herself, daddy, and once a nice woman sitting next to her.
3. Crayons and coloring book
4. Some new and cheap toys. Like we go to the dollar bins at target and find some little thinks she like to play with.
5. Lots of snacks. This helps two ways, can keep him entertained and the chewing and swallowing can help with pressure on his ears.
6. Her favorite blanket. That way she can sleep with it at the new place.
7. Benedryl. I've only had to use that once. She was sick and she had a lot of congestion. This was when she was 2/ We took her to a doc and they told us that benedryl helps with the swelling in the ears, making the pressure in them easy up. It can also make them very sleepy. Luckily it did both and she was ok for the flight home. :)

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

My 3 year old travelled all the way from Indonesia, total 52 hours. We didn't bring small toys or crayons because it might fell and you don't want her scream for you to pick it up, while there is a chance of turbulence.
I brought blankets, ordered child's meals, enough clothes and diapers. I brought him to ENT and had him checked, because you don't want the kids to scream for earache or undetected cold.
Don't give him unnecessary medication. It could be fatal if there is side effect and you are 7000 feets above.
My son was entertained with the DVD provided by plane.
We sang together a lot.
Ths will save you from bulky luggage. You need free hand and good back to deal with toddler.
You, are the best entertainment.
Don't worry.
Airplane stewards are very nice to the family with kids, if you let them and friendly with them.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

We walk around up and down the aisle a lot. We go to the bathroom and wash hands. We put on a movie on the laptop. We read books and eat many snacks. We have some preschool/toddler aps on my husband's iphone. We talk about what is out the window. We color with color wonder markers. We paint with this tiny book where the "paintbrush" has a little tube filled with water. When the water comes out the brush end it makes the little book's colors show up. My husband and I take turns entertaining the little one. It's work, but it always goes fine.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

My kids have traveled a lot...We always used a car seat (rather than the airplane seat) - strapped in was comforting and much easier for us. Easy for napping, easy for take off, etc. We have used window clings, water colors (get some water from the flight attendant), stickers, large pill boxes for assorted snacks (surprise when you pick which compartment to open), naps are essential (I always tell my kids that they need to nap - and they believe me!). i don't travel with a dvd player, just recently started to bring an ipod for them to play. We bring a lot of books (paperback - less weight to carry around) and a stuffed animal. We also bring a GOOD sippy cup (many leak, esp. with the pressure changes). We went on a 12 hour flight (with inflight movies - we watched them) and brought tattoos (if you aren't anti using them - they are a lot of fun!) and those pellets that turn into little sponges with hot water (which we also got from the flight attendant). I don't let my kids walk around - it can bother other people...if necessary, we go to the bathroom or for one or two walks, but i don't encourage it... It isn't that bad...really!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

How long is the flight and do they have videos in the seat backs? If it's long and they do not, bring a DVD player. If they are offering you food, see if you can get a kiddie meal. You may have to order in advance. Bring a pillow pet or a blanket from home so he can take a nap. DD did much better than I expected.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

i have brought everything listed so far, and we go thru them all, but i have found that the ipad is the best of the best. my 3 year old will watch movies back to back, and play games too. just make sure to get some ear buds for little ears :)
safe travels!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Got a DVD player. When my grandson was 2 he watched it all the time. He was doing other things but it sure helped. I don't know if you can use a small laptop (battery operated) or if there is a battery operated DVD player.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I wouldn't bring crayons because I tend to freak out when my son colors on things other than paper (even though it's washable, who wants to worry about that?) and they're really hard to pick up from the floor of an airplane once dropped. We bring larger toys like trucks and lots of books, and a portable DVD player with child sized headphones. And yes, many flight attendants will require you to use the headphones, so try them out in advance with your son so he can get used to the feeling. I've also found magnetic playsets which still have some small pieces to drop, but they don't drop as often and are sometimes caught by something on the way down :-) Playdough can be good too, but this depends on how careful your son is with it. If he'll make a mess, don't bother. And do go for walks when you're able, but don't let him run free. Show some respect for the people around you and they'll pay it back ten fold.

We travel a lot and are more often than not greeted by knowing smiles and a helpful hand when I need it most.

My rule of thumb is to bring plenty of snacks AND as much milk as allowed -- not all airlines have milk available, it's generally only for international flights, and definitely not available on Southwest or other discount airlines. For children, the TSA will allow a, "reasonable quantity for the duration of your itinerary" for liquids, so use your best judgement.

I've had times when they asked where I was going and how long the flights were, and other times when they didn't even do the "sniff" test with the equipment. So you never know what to expect. Just declare it as you go through security (take it out of your carryon, just like you would a travel case containing shampoo). I bring two or three 8-10 oz. bottles for cross country trips, with gel packs for keeping cold, and have only once had a problem. If your trip is shorter, bring less.

As soon as my son was in a front facing car seat, we started using a travel car seat called the Sit N Stroll, which converts to a stroller for use in the airport. Pior to that we used his car seat/stroller combo and gate checked the stroller base. The Sit N Stroll saves us from having to haul both a stroller and a car seat around which is CRITICAL when I'm travelling alone and have only so many hands. It's not as convenient as a normal car seat once you arrive at your destination, because you have to use a lap belt, but it's an absolute lifesaver in the airport. Especially if you have to hustle between gates for a flight change. It's expensive to buy new, but worth it if you plan to travel a lot. Also you can generally find them used on Craigslist for $75.

If you want to bring your own car seat, first make sure the sticker on the side says, "This child restraint is approved for use in motor vehicles and aircraft." Not all flight attendants will ask this, but they have the right to, and I have been asked to show the sticker at least twice recently. If your seat is not approved, you'll have to gate check it anyway. Also, to make using your own seat easier, invest in a Go-Go Kidz Travelmate. It's a collapsable set of wheels that attaches to your own seat, essentially turning it into a stroller.

And lastly on the car seat issue, make sure you're not travelling on a regional jet. Even if you have an FAA approved seat, most seats are too large for the seats on these jets and they won't let you use them. Same with rear facing infant seats. You'll have to turn them around, even on regular planes, if they interfere at all with the other seats around them.

You could also consider using a CARES harness, which is the only FAA approved seatbelt for children. But I've found my son always sleeps better in a car seat so I haven't switched over to this yet. One last thing on the car seat, if it's a long flight, remember to dress him in lightweight clothing and add layers if needed. Car seats can make kids hot and sweaty when they don't have the opportunity to move around much.

HTH, and enjoy the trip. If you approach this as exciting, your son will be happy too.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My youngest was 2 when we went on a plane for the first time with the kids. They all sat so well. We did early morning flights both ways so they would still be sleepy...like 6am take offs.

We had the Color Wonder things, brought their sippy cups for drinks, and had snacks. They were really good with that.

But my kids travel like gems...hopefully yours will love it too!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Definitely find out if there are movies on the seat and if not get a portable DVD player or charge up the iPad so he can watch some cartoons, movies, etc.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

How long is the flight? Is it a night flight? We do international travel. What works for me is to make friends with everyone at the boarding gate:) so hopefully nobody will complain. I'm usually against snacks and tv, but air travel those rules don't apply. lollipops at taking off and landing, new toy, iPad, favorite DVD, favorite blanket etc. I wouldn't recommend to take him out of his seat while flying to run around, because that when kids get frustrated when you want to put them back in their seats. Get the flight attendendents name and ask for extra milk for him as soonest they serving
drinks. I always hope for the best and so far we continue to travel all the time. Bon voyage!!! Ps. If you can get away without bringing your carseat, it will make your life so much easier. The baby, the stroller, the suitcases
lots to worry about.

1 mom found this helpful
For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions