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Holiday Air Travel Tips for Families



airplanetravel
Traveling with children can be a delight and a challenge, so preparation is key. The American Academy of Pediatrics has the following tips for safe and stress-free family air travel:

Time it right. 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.

Smart talk. Talk with your children about the security screening process before coming to the airport. Let them know that bags, dolls and “lovies” 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 in jest, even by a child, can delay the entire family and could result in fines.

Don’t forget the seat. 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. 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 stowed in overhead bins or checked as luggage (usually without baggage fees) for use in rental cars, taxis or ride shares. 

Arrange to have a car safety seat at your destination or bring your own. Airlines will typically allow families to bring a child's car safety seat as an extra luggage item with no additional luggage expense. Check the airline's website ahead of time so you know their policy before you arrive at the airport. Children who weigh more than 40 lbs can use the aircraft seat belt.

Although the FAA allows children under age 2 to be held on an adult's lap, they recommend 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. Alternatively, there are also some FAA-approved harnesses for older infants and toddlers that fold down in a small, compact bag for convenience.

Don’t forget the extras. 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 up - a lot! Wash hands frequently and consider bringing hand-washing gel and disinfectant wipes to prevent illnesses during travel.

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Tags: Featured Story, Health, Safety, Travel


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