International Travel with Infant

Updated on February 10, 2011
S.K. asks from Chicago, IL
6 answers

My son will be a year old when we travel to Asia. I would really like to hear from moms who have done such long flights with their babies. My son is crawling now and also pulling to stand.I am guessing since there are couple months for us to travel, he might be walking then.Not sure about that.
Do you think I should buy a seperate seat for him or just travel with him on our lap? Is it true they ask you to put the baby on the floor during turbulence, take off / landing? Also at just a year old , do you think I need to take his carseat or just stroller would be enough? Also, what are the must haves during flight journey? How to get baby sleep in the flight? I have so many questions and would appreciate any advise to survice the 17 hour flight journey. I think we might have one or two stop overs, so we will get a break in between.I am so worried about germs too. We are travelling in beginning of April, so the flu and RSV season should be done by then? My son is very very active , so I need ideas to keep him occupied and have him sit in one place for so long.Thanks much!

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answers from Washington DC on

Hi! This has come up on Mamapedia several times in the past month or so, and you might want to search for similar questions and see those answers.

Definitely DO buy him his own seats on all flights. You will be exhausted, sweaty and cranky if he rides on your lap and you will arrive at the destination worn out. Also, it's not safe; if we belt kids into cars by law, why don't we have to belt them into airline seats? Turbulence can rip a small child right out of a parent's arms. Spend the extra on seats for him. Do have him in a car seat in his airline seat too. Be certain to call the airline now, not close to the flight, and fiind out if your car seat fits their seats! Not all car seats truly fit, despite what car seat makers will tell you.

You need to take his car seat if you are going to be in a car anywhere at your destination. It's clunky and inconvenient but you'll need it for safety just as you would in a car at home.You'll need the stroller too but might shop for a lightweight travel stroller that folds easily and isn't bulky.

I have flown internationally with our daughter since she was five months old. Airlines don't ask anyone to put kids on the floor during turbulence, since all children and babies must be secured somehow, somewhere, during turbulence, and they wouldn't allow kids to be out of a seat or off a lap at takeoff or landing, when aisles must be completely clear of everything.

Please do not dope him with Benadryl or anything like that "to get him to sleep." I've seen that advice before and it's asking for trouble. The makers of these allergy and cold drugs have even started saying in their commercials' fine print that the drugs are not intended to make kids sleepy. And it can backfire and make some kids wired and wakeful.

If you're worried about flu be sure he has his flu shot - infants can indeed have those. Be prepared to have lots of disposable changing pads for changing him in airplane and airport bathrooms, and carry Clorox wipes for surfaces in places like bathroom baby changing tables.

Be sure he:
--Drinks (swallowing) during takeoff and landing, to relieve pressure in his ears
--Stays hydrated even though it means more diapers
--Has new toys he's never seen before. Bring small toys to distract him. New ones hold their novelty a few moments longer than old ones, but have his best "security" toy along as well.

Have fun. It really is doable.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Colorado Springs on

We have flown several times back and forth to Asia with babies. First of all, nobody ever asked to put the baby on the floor. I would flat out refuse to do that. They used to sell clip on seat belts that you can clip onto your seat belt to secure him. I think I saw it in the Right Start catalog years ago. Don't know if they still have it. If you can afford a second seat for him, I'd get it. It is nice to have them in their car seat as much as possible for safety reasons, but also for your comfort. I flew by myself with my 1 year old from Japan to Florida. LOOOONNNNNGGGGG flight. And, I didn't have a seat for him. It was hard. I was in the middle seat between to men, one was very large. Ugh. And, I was still breastfeeding also, which made it even more fun. It worked, but it was hard. If you are traveling with your husband, then it will be nice to be able to take turns. I found that the lull of the plane helps them sleep a lot on flights. You can lay him across both of your laps for sleeping. Bring lots of his snacks for the plane. He will need to chew or suck during take-off and landing to help with his ears. Food is a great distractor also. Take extra diapers than you think you might need because you never know what layover or delay you might experience. It happens. Feel free to ask M. any questions if you think of something else. Enjoy!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Harrisburg on

If you can, pay for the extra seat.
Let him sit at the window
Bring the stroller as you may need it the country you are going, when he needs to sleep, and to free your hands.
Bring lots of snacks.
During flight layovers, walk around a lot, change of scenery
Bring toys
The soft white noise may put him to sleep and you won't have an issue
Select a flight time if you can when you know he will be sleeping the longest



answers from Detroit on

You already have some awesome advice but I haven't noticed anyone mention the "CARES" restraint. It is FAA approved for children 1 year + and over 22Ibs, to be used on an airplane, and can be used instead of a carseat. It attaches to the airplane seatbelt and wraops around the chair, and turns it into a 4 point harness which keeps them very secure. It is small enough to throw in your hand luggage and will allow you to check your carseat (if your even taking a carseat).They can be pricey to buy, approximately $60-$80 depending on where you buy it (I bought one because we travelled regularly to England) but there used to be a lady on Ebay that rented them for about $10-$20.
FYI I have NEVER been asked to put my children on the floor at any time during any flight I have been on with them in 8 years.
Have a wonderful trip, and good luck :)



answers from New York on

- snacks
- comfy clothes and several "extras"
- take time to walk up-and-down the aisles as needed
- use your iPod to download cartoons so that he has something "novel" to do on the plane
- books
-couple of new toys to look at/play with
- binky or something for take-off and landing
- if you need the carseat when you are in Asia, then check it with the luggage- don't lug it through the airport.
- use a lightweight stroller if possible
- don't expect him to sleep "on schedule" during the flight or your trip b/c it simply won't happen
- blanket to "cover" him when he's sleeping b/c the plane lights are harsh if they need to turn them on
**I have never had a flight attendant ask M. to put my child on the floor during turbulence. They will, however, ask you to put the child on your lap during turbulence, take off and landing if the child is not in a carseat (even if they're sleeping)**



answers from Honolulu on

Go to
To book your seats. This is a GREAT site, to choose family friendly/kid friendly seats in the airplane.
Even Travel Agents use it. And the airlines. We used it. It is great.

Go to to find out about travel internationally. And how to pack/what is allowed or not/carry on's etc. What you need to bring/car seats/strollers etc. on flight.

Buy a separate seat.
It is a long flight.

Keep hand sanitizer with you.

Does he have his vaccinations?
Bring your baby's shot records with you and medical insurance info.

Get his Passport already. It takes time to get that.

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