With summer coming soon, many families will be embarking on travel. Traveling with children can be a delight and a challenge.The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has the following tips for safe and stress-free family travel.
- Allow your family extra time to get through security – especially when traveling with younger children.
- Have children wear shoes and outer layers of clothing that are easy to take off for security screening. Children younger than 12 years are not required to remove their shoes for routine screening.
- Strollers can be brought through airport security and gate-checked to make travel with small children easier.
- Talk with your children about the security screening process before coming to the airport. Let them know that bags (backpack, dolls, etc.) must be put in the X‑ray machine and will come out the other end and be returned to them.
- Discuss the fact that it’s against the law to make threats such as, “I have a bomb in my bag.” Threats made jokingly (even by a child) can delay the entire family and could result in fines.
- Arrange to have a car safety seat at your destination or bring your own along. Airlines will typically allow families to bring a child’s car safety seat as an extra luggage item with no additional luggage expense.
- When traveling on an airplane, a child is best protected when properly restrained in a car safety seat appropriate for the age, weight and height of the child. Children who weigh more than 40 lbs can use the aircraft seat belt. The car safety seat should have a label noting that it is FAA-approved. Belt-positioning booster seats cannot be used on airplanes, but they can be checked as luggage (usually fees) for use in rental cars and taxis.
- Although the FAA allows children under age 2 to be held on an adult’s lap, the AAP recommends that families explore options to ensure that each child has her own seat. If it is not feasible to purchase a ticket for a small child, try to select a flight that is likely to have empty seats where your child could ride buckled in her car safety seat.
- Pack a bag of toys and snacks to keep your child occupied during the flight.
- In order to decrease ear pain during descent, encourage your infant to nurse or suck on a bottle. Older children can try chewing gum or drinking liquids with a straw.
- Wash hands frequently, and consider bringing hand-washing gel and disinfectant wipes to prevent illnesses during travel.
- Consult your pediatrician before flying with a newborn or infant who has chronic heart or lung problems or with upper or lower respiratory symptoms.
- Consult your pediatrician if flying within 2 weeks of an episode of an ear infection or ear surgery.
Travel Safety Tips. American Academy of Pediatrics. https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/news-features-and-safety-tips/Pages/Travel-Safety-Tips.aspx