Suggestions for First Airplane Ride Just Me and My 2Yr Old

Updated on October 28, 2009
V.A. asks from West Palm Beach, FL
18 answers

Car seat? Toys etc...Any tips would be great from someone who has alraedy experienced this!

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answers from Tampa on

We fly 4x's a year (he's almost 2 1/2)

A Portable dvd player & stickers... small stickers are good & he'll put them all over himself & you- Someone mentioned it & I thought it'd be a dumb 3 minute activity- but it lasted :)

Any cheap, small, NEW toys- I also just tell him to drink or yawn for takeoff/landing (if asleep- do NOT wake him to swallow :)



answers from New York on

I would probably bring a carseat for a 2 yr old...any older, maybe not. Do not bring anything with small pieces that will roll off the tray...I spent an entire flight once under the seat looking for legos and crayons! I really like the magnetic toys for the plane...they have some great toys at airports like this..if you are willing the spend the money as they are a bit pricey. Also a cup like a nuby cup or something that they can suck on to help with the ears on the way up and down.
Good luck!

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answers from Orlando on

Hi there. My best recommendations are GUMMIES for take off and decent. You do not want to give them gum, but the little packs of gummies are great help them chew to keep ears from feeling pressure. Also, Crayola Wonder Markers and books. They are markers that only color on the special paper. If your staying with friends or family, they will appreciate this too. I preferred to use and umbrella stroller in the airport to save on walking and its easy to fold and put thru security,etc. Hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boca Raton on

Hi! I've 3 toddlers and a baby-and I've flown alone too! here are our best travel tips: 1) the fruit loop and cheerio necklace! Instantsnack, instant fun and takes a while to eat-save to break out on plane! 2) wrap little gifts-eveb dollar store things in wrapping make it really fun 3) if you don't have any-little finger puppets to make the time fun and silly 4) 2 year olds love to doodle! Get a legal pad or something grown up looking (more fun) and a pen---circles and scratch marks will be everywhere!
For you: dress your child in the easiest to do a diaper/ potty break in outffit-gotta do it on the fly! For you: slip on shoes to make the security check breeze by for you: if your babe screams and cries relax...and be thankful you have a child with a good set of healthy lungs!!! Enjoy your trip!

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answers from Tampa on

If it's a long flight, I'd definitely use the car seat, both for your comfort and for your child's. We've used the GoGo Kidz travel wheels for carseats before (, and they made navigating the airport and getting on the plane a lot easier because the kids were in their car seats and just rolled along like luggage, essentially. Portable DVD players are a huge help, as are travel magnadoodle pads. Play silks are great because they fold down to nothing and can be used for everything from peekaboo to a blanket to an extra seatbelt in a restaurant high chair (try Have a good arsenal of snack food ready- we usually make one of our carry-ons a soft-sided cooler with a shoulder strap. I would also recommend that you bring a soft carrier like a mei tai, because if you end up standing and holding your child for a length of time, it will be a lifesaver for your arms and back (learned that the hard way on a flight to Europe). Most of all, just keep reminding yourself that it's only a few hours, and you can do it. We're going to be flying back to Germany soon with my 2 year old twins, so I understand where you're at. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boca Raton on


We fly lots and just did a 14 hr trip with our 22 month old and we learned a lot!

Ears: the toughest part is not the take off but the descent to land. we gave our daughter the apple sauce in the packet (you such out the sauce) and it did the trick.

Toys: Toys r us has the Aquadoodle and they make a book version that you can color with water and erases when it dries so you can use it over and over again, a little playmobile car with a person or a small assembly toy. if your toddler is crafty...crayons (crayola twist sticks are best) and the mega sticker/coloring books rock. rip out one coloring page and sitcker page at a time. one book lasted us a 2 week trip. colored pipe cleaners worked great too - we made jewlery and animals. we have a blast with a cup of ice and a straw too. you can "make soup" and it is only water so it dries if you spill. finally the ultimate emergency toy....and Ipod loaded with some videos....priceless.

Packing: wear dark clothes (noone noticed the pee stain from my daughters leaky diaper when we got off the plane in London whew!), bring 2-3 changes for your toddler. bring lots of wipes and lots of diapers. infact bring about a 2 day supply. my daughter wound up with a tummy issue on one flight and thank goodness i packed a ton of diapers. we went though 10 diapers on a 14 hr flight.

Snacks: pack yummy but not sugary snacks. nothing is worse than a cranky sugar hyped toddler. we did little zip lock snack bags of all kinds of stuff (ritz bits, goldfish, raisins, puffs, pretzels, dried fruit, cereal bars, etc).

Car Seat: this depends on if you are flying international or domestic and the duration of the flight. Domestic is much narrower so our car seat did not fit and we had to check it (check the seat width in advance). On shorter flights my DD wanted to be on my lap anyway and they have a extender belt on board that worked great. We got her her own seat and were very thankful we did so that we had the room. they also sell a CARES harness online that you can sit your toddler in their seat and properly secure them with this. If you are flying international we had a hard time on Brittish Airways since our carseat was FAA approved and not their approval so they made us check it. we love the SIT N STROLL (avail on line) it is a carseat and stroller combo. you can stroll right onto the jet way and pick it up right onto the seat. this was great for us when we arrived at out destination - one less thing to lug through airport. Lot sof Mom's stopped us to ask about the stroller. Long flights I would definately do a car seat so everyone gets a break.

Have a great time and matter what happens on the flight stay calm for your baby. Expect the worst and if the worst doesn't happen consider it a great flight. And remember what ever happends you will never see those people on the plane again LOL!

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answers from Macon on

We've flown countless of times with my daughter since she was 3 month old...she's now 3. We've done 2.5 hour flights. We don't use the carseat because it's more "fun" for her to buckle in with the real seat belt and less of a pain for us to install the seat. Also, when she gets antsy we allow her to stand on the floor and face the seat and use it like a play-table for toys. Bring sticker books, little dolls or toys, and some books. Also, bring a NEW toy that will keep her busy (something that doesn't make noise.) And lots of "new" snacks and maybe a cool new sippy cup. That's what we did around 2 years old, but she's so good at flying that we don't have to bribe her or keep her entertained as much. Have a safe flight!



answers from Pensacola on

I totally agree with Jamie T! You have to have something to help with the ears take off and landing- but he is a little young for gum. I have seen a lot of parents use gummy bears with success. This is very important b/c a lot of kids get ear infections after flying b/c they don't know how to adjust for the pressure with out some help.

Be sure you know your liquid limits. This includes juice boxes, etc. Even though you have a 2 year old they will not let you have it (unless you have a really lax agent) An expected headache can really be the security line. I would try to minimize what all you carry onto the plane to help ease this (ie put purse items and kids stuff in one big bag) Then you can put the bag under his seat and out of your way. You don't have to worry about getting an overhead space close to you, and if you need anything it is right at your feet.

I would get some new toys for the trip, and save some in your checked bag for the ride home. This will make it exciting for him.
Good luck!



answers from Tampa on

Hi there,
I had previously responded to some questions about this, so I copied it from my files... sorry if some things are duplicated from other responses!

We just finished a couple of planes trips with our 26 month old, one of which I did myself. You do need to buy a seat if they are 2. Some airlines have reduced children's fares, but often, if you buy far enough in advance, the regular fares are better.

I bought the CARES harness to use with my son, since I didn't want to bring the car seat on the plane. It's a harness (FAA approved) that you attach to the airplane's seat belt to create a 5 point harness for your child. I just felt it was a little safer than just the seat belt for him, since I was afraid he would wiggle out. They are a little pricey, but well worth it for me.

If you are meeting family on the other end, maybe see if they can get a car seat at a consignment store or someplace like that so that you don't have to bring one with you. If you do end up bringing it, though, most, if not all, of the airlines will check it for free so you won't have additional baggage charges. My sister bought a car seat at a yard sale, in good shape, for $15, and it worked out great for us.

Gate check the stroller. I went to the counter before boarding to get the gate check ticket, it made things a little faster.

We also got a "2 in 1 harness buddy" .. basically it's a little backpack (ours is a monkey) that you put on the child's back. It has a strap that you can hold onto and let your child walk. The strap can be removed. We didn't use it a lot, but it was very helpful at times when there were a lot of people around and he wanted to walk. It was especially helpful when going through security. That was the hardest part for me, because you have to fold up the stroller and put it on the belt, in addition to any carry on luggage. You can carry your child through, or they have to walk through on their own, While I was getting everything onto the belt, I was able to keep him close with the harness until I was ready to take it off. You child's shoes need to be removed in addition to your own, something to keep in mind.

Toys, snacks, DVD player all were good. And another little trick that I used... lollipops. I got little small ones that were safe for him (as long as I was right there watching). Because we don't give him candy, it was a novel thing for him, plus, it was helpful to get him to suck during takeoff and landing, and relieve the ear pressure. It worked with our son, because he just sucks on it, never bites. You would have to be careful if your child would bite it.

If you have particular food or drinks that you want your child to have, you can bring them along (even if they are more than 3 ounces). You just need to separate them out from you luggage so they can be screened. I did this because our son loves milk, and the planes don't usually have it. You could probably buy some of the things once you go through security, but I preferred to have it with me so there wasn't one more thing I needed to think about!

Whatever airline you chose probably has a section on their website with hints for traveling with children. You may want to check when you are booking your ticket.



answers from Daytona Beach on

I would say no car seat b/c you have to pay for another ticket. My friend went on the plane recently and her daughter will be turning 3 on Nov. 1st. She didn't pay for a ticket and they didn't say anything to her. I think the airlines wants you to get a ticket once they turn 2.
Most definitely DVD player, that was a life saver.
Stickers, I agree.
I would go to theeDollar Store and Walmart and got cheap little new toys that your child isn't use to seeing.
Also, I would make sure you have a barf bag handy as my little one barf b/c of the turbulance.
GOOD LUCK and have a safe trip.



answers from Boca Raton on

Portable DVD player!! If you can get a new movie, video ( or take out from library).



answers from Miami on

Coloring books and pencils. Snacks, like grapes, etc. anything to chew on especially when the plane is taking off and landing. Also let your child get up and walk around as much as possible.



answers from Jacksonville on

V. ~ Since it's just you, I would skip the car seat aboard the plane unless it makes you feel more safe. I never brought the car seat onboard even when I had to purchase a seat for him at age 3. I've seen how big the carseats are when they are in the plane seat - big, bulky and hard for other people to get around. The week before each trip, I go to the dollar store and buy a few new toys (none that make any sound) plus a few snacks and hide them all until our flight...then pull them out one at a time. He is always thrilled to see all the new goodies and it keeps him occupied.



answers from Tallahassee on

1. No lollypop! Stick to healthy snacks to keep his/her blood sugar even and his/her mood even. Trust me, i have flown millions of times with my kid and observed others with their kids. Good snacks: figbar or larabar (healthy energy bar) during take off and/or landing. Chewing and swallowing helps ears pop. Wait til you are really starting to ascend or descend before giving the snack.
Also good: o's, tlc crackers, apple, pbj, carrot, grapes, raisins
2. Some people say you want to board early like many flights that let you board early if you have kids. Don't do it. Run him around the waiting area to use up energy, and board later. Think about it. How long can a two year old stay still?
3. We never brought strollers. I carried her through the airport in a padapum, like an ergo carrier. You can maneuver through crowds better. I could carry her on my front, with a backpack on my back.
4. Still in diapers? Bring enough to cover extra time spent if flight is delayed.
5. Car seat? We checked ours, for free. I usually wrapped it in garbage bags and duct tape and taped our address on there. But my friend brought her car seat on the plane and found it was useful for keeping her boy in place. so, it's up to you. I'd rather not be bothered carrying a big clunky thing, and i managed to keep my child busy enough that she'd stay in the seat or at least near it.
6. She would stand (when you are allowed to walk around cabin) in the footwell in front of her chair sometimes.
7. Toys: coloring books and crayons, toy planes/cars, stickers, puppets. play rock paper scissors, make up games. Play I spy. Look at inflight magazines, etc. Look out the window. The key is to bring new toys they have never seen. I would avoid the DVD player if possible because I just don't like how dependent kids have become on them, and they grow up expecting a video every time they go in a car/plane. It's different if it's a 24 hour road trip...



answers from Kansas City on

Talk it up like it will be such an exciting thing to do. Show her books with airplanes in it and talk about how she'll get to fly up in the air. We brought along coloring stuff and a portable dvd player. Our daughter still talks about flying on an airplane and it's been 5 months since her last trip. She's flown three times and her first time was when she was about 2 years old. She didn't have any problems with her ears - but I did have plenty of crackers and stuff for her to snack on and that might have helped. Oh, and don't forget a sippy cup (or two) for the free drinks on the plane.

As for the car seat, if you need it for a rental car, go ahead and take it. We checked ours at the gate - it's free. You just tell the check-in desk people that you're checking it at the gate and they'll give you a tag to fill out with your info to put on it. You carry it with you to the plane, all the way to that circle right before you get on the plane and leave it there for the crew to pick up and put on the plane. You don't need it in the seat unless you want it there. I think that you have to wait for it in the same spot when you exit the plane (right as you exit the plane). Have a fun trip!

Sorry, I just realized you said it'll just be you and your 2 year old - You may just want to pay for the checking of the car seat instead of carrying it through the airport with a carry on. You really don't need it with a two year old on the plane. My daughter is on the small side and she was fine with a seat belt on, but that's just my opinion. I know car seats are a pain! :)



answers from Lakeland on

Make sure to give the child some Tylenol or Motrin about 30 minutes before takeoff. It will help with the ears popping.



answers from Tampa on

Just made a trip with my almost two year old a few weeks ago. Here are some tips.
1 Bring a car seat but be ready to install it yourself it will take only a minute.
2 DVD player a must
3 snacks include a lollipop for take off, sippy cup
4 blanket and some special toys
5 stickers
6 wait by the gate my airline didnt let people with small children first so I made sure to be first
Hope that helps! J.



answers from Tampa on

I agree with the response about the CARES harness.!

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