Airplane travel can be stressful. Traveling with a unpredictable toddler can be an absolute nightmare, or a dream — depending on his mood. Take one factor out of the equation by ensuring his safety throughout the trip. While you can’t guarantee that he will be an angel throughout the experience, you can ensure that your little angel or devil will be safe throughout the entire ordeal.
Purchase or borrow from a friend, a child’s restraint device. Lap belts on a plane are designed for older kids and adults. Your little toddler will not be restrained in just the belt; he will be at risk of getting out or bumping around with turbulence. A restraint device designed for air travel harnesses him in with shoulder straps. He will feel more comfortable, as it will be more like the car seat he knows, and you can relax knowing he’s safe.
The rise and descent of airplanes can wreak havoc on a toddler’s ear canals and Eustachian tubes. If your child is prone to ear infections or has been showing signs of an infection, see your doctor before you leave. Follow the doctor’s advice regarding whether you should go, preparing to help your child pop his ears through drinking or chewing. The doctor will also tell you if you should stay, taking the flight at a time when your child’s sensitive ears aren’t a factor.
Snacks and Drinks
If your child is still drinking breast milk or formula, you will be allowed to bring these items. However, if your child has graduated beyond these, you may not be able to pack his favorite drinks. Bring an empty sippy cup and ask the stewardess for water, juice or milk. Encourage your child to drink as you take off and land to help him pop his ears. Since peanuts are the most popular snack served, you may want to pack an alternative. Peanuts can be a choking hazard, especially in excited toddlers.
Pack soft toys without sharp edges. Your child won’t have a great deal of space to play, and turbulence and bumpy moments may be frequent and sudden. Hard, heavy objects can pop up during turbulence and hit him in the head or elsewhere. Choose toys he can use without a problem. Also choose toys that will entertain him for an extended period. Walk around with him only if there is plenty of space and ensure he stays with you. Coffee on the edge on someone’s tray table can be easily bumped or pulled down on his little head so only walk if it is necessary.
Talk with the stewardess about the plane’s emergency procedures. Locate the flotation devices and ask if there are any devices made specifically for toddlers and children.