Traveling with Toddlers

When traveling with your toddler by car (or any motor vehicle), your child needs to be in a safe, approved car seat. This is not the case on trains or buses, which do not require car safety seats (and have no latches to attach them) or seat belts for children. Trains and buses are large and visible and not as apt to get into an accident as a car.

Air Travel

Kids under age 2 are not required by law to have their own seat on airline flights. But while saving the cost of another ticket makes keeping your baby on your lap appealing, it’s much safer to have your 1-year-old in his car seat secured to his own seat in the plane.

Turbulence during flights can be powerful and sudden. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) strongly recommends using a child safety seat for a baby or toddler weighing less than 40 pounds. So book a seat for your child, bring along her car seat, and tell the airline that you’re traveling with a baby or toddler so they won’t place you in an emergency exit row.

Night flights are often a wise choice when traveling with a toddler, as you both may sleep for much of the way. Nursing or giving your 1-year-old a bottle to drink while the plane is taking off or landing will help equalize the pressure in his ears and keep him more comfortable.

Packing for a Trip

To keep your toddler occupied during traveling, pack a bag with a varied selection of objects that are certain to keep her attention, at least for a few minutes each:

  • Books
  • Markers and paper
  • Rattles
  • Crumply paper
  • A few new toys

Bring these out 1 at a time, at well-spaced intervals. Interest your child in a novel item until he has thoroughly explored it, pause and then introduce another novel item until you reach your destination or your child falls asleep.

See also ...

This message is not intended to provide individual medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have about your health or medical condition, your breastfeeding issues and your infant's health. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you have read in our emails, webpages or other electronic communications.

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