TRAVELLING WITH KIDS
So you have decided to take the plunge and travel with the kids! This can be a walk in the park for some but usually it causes high amounts of stress for all involved. We hope this information is helpful in preparing to travel with the little ones.
Infants & Babies
Remember to remain calm, take all the help you can get from family, airport staff and even your fellow passengers. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Planning and preparation is key, don’t leave anything to the last minute and always allow plenty of time to get to the airport and through the airport (security, customs etc)
An infant up to the age of two will travel on your knee unless you have paid for a childs fare. Most airlines can allocate you bassinet seating on aircrafts, seats where a bassinet is attached. Please note that bassinets are usually babies less than 10kg operate on a first come first serve basis and youngest babies get priority. It is best to plan well in advance to ensure your best chance of getting these seats.
Most airlines also offer baby meals, it’s not much so It is recommended that you pack enough formula for five extra feedings and naturally always bring extra nappies and supplies (think delays, diversions, airport stores not selling much infant supplies)
Most Airlines allow you to carry infant equipment free of charge, such as pram/stroller, portable cots, car seat and baby capsules. Usually other baggage allowance for an infant is limited to 10kg or is taken under the parent’s baggage limits. You are usually entitled to an additional nappy/infant bag for carryon items. Please check with your specific airline. There are products on the market like fold up prams which are handy ( not cheap) And also carry bags for your prams. Have a look at Phil & Teds Universal Travel Case. You can also hire a lot of these things , see First Class Baby Hire
Crying Infants….. Don’t worry. It is common for an infant to cry, and/or put their hands over their ears during take-off and landing. Please do not be alarmed or feel embarrassed. Crying is a natural way for your infant to clear their ears – it is best to let them go. To help prevent their discomfort, breastfeed or bottlefeed your infant when the aircraft begins take-off and during landing. If you are bottlefeeding, you may need to pack an extra bottle for the flight. Cabin crew will heat bottles and assist you with preparing and washing bottles or pacifiers.
Baby changing tables are usually available in on-board washrooms. For your own comfort and the comfort of fellow guests, please use these facilities rather than change your baby at your seat. It’s a tight squeeze!
Some other useful tips for the air……
– Take a soft rug or lambskin for baby to sleep on.
– If you are bottle feeding invest in a set of disposable bottles with sterile plastic liners.
– A collapsible stroller is great for speedy flight transfers, an impromptu snooze and also serves as a baby seat in restaurants
– A tiny bit of Eucky Bear Rub on a cloth for baby to sniff may also help with babies ears.
– A front baby carrier or sling might just save your back, if not your trip. You have to check in pushers for domestic flights so a soft baby carrier will give you both hands free.
– Ask cabin crew to keep your meal warm while you help feed your child. You can eat in peace later.
– Take a change of clothes on board for you and your baby, especially on a long haul. No one likes to arrive covered in food, milk or worse.
– Feed and change your baby just before you board. It is a lot easier and more relaxing for them than trying to do it on board.
– Keep hydrating your child during the flight, especially if it’s international.
– Take some extra nappy disposal bags for putting dirty or wet items into when you pack it away.
– Take your childs favourite sleeping toy or blanket on board.
– Tie an elastic loop around your childs favourite cuddly toy so they can slip their hand through it. Leaving this toy in a plane or at the airport could ruin your trip.
– Save your kids favourite stories onto an iPod as audio books.
– Buy some compact new toys for the kids and wrap them as gifts to increase the novelty (and take up more precious minutes).
– Your basic essentials should include at least one cup with a spout to avoid the inevitable spills.
– If you have an infant travelling on your lap, book off-peak flights where possible. Happily these are often the lower fares too.
– For long hauls try to keep the same rituals as home when it comes to bedtime. Put you kids in their pjs, read them a book, and sing them songs.
– Distracting your child is the name of the game. Take a handful of little toys, but give them to the kids one at a time. Stretch it out for long hauls.
– Pack a scrapbook and a glue stick so your kids can create a visual journal by sticking in interesting things like tickets, postcards, wrappers and other souvenirs.
– You can keep older kids occupied for hours with a hand-held computer game or portable DVD player (forget your home TV rules). Don’t forget the headphones and extra batteries.
– Spark a bit of interest before the trip with movies and books set in your destination.
– Let your kids stretch their legs and have a wander mid-flight. Try to avoid mealtime or when the crew is preparing to land.
– Get your kids to act out the emergency procedures demo when the crew does it. It’ll keep them occupied and help them learn it.
We have found these useful websites you may want to check out also.
You have arrived…
Thank goodness you say! The flight is over, remember to take your time getting off the plane, don’t let people rush you, be sure you haven’t left anything behind!
Ensure you have requested or taken suitable child or baby seats in your transfer or hire car. Remember some countries you may not have the option of car seats, it is up to you and your risk if you want to take it.
Keeping routine can be hard with massive time zones but taking some home comforts can help when trying to help your child adjust. Hotels usually provide portable cots and services for infants and children.
Kids Club usually starts around the age of 2. Finding hotels with these facilities can give you and your kids a great break.
Have you remembered cleaning products for bottles/pump accessories etc?
Take a bit of dishwashing liquid and laundry detergent so you can self-wash if you don’t have laundry and kitchen facilities. Taking some water sterilizing tablets is also a good idea.
Also remember any medicines ( Panadol etc) , baby safe mosquito spray, first aid, burn & string spray
If you are planning to place your child or children in a child care facility or employ baby sitters or nannies overseas, you should satisfy yourself about the standards of child care provided in the country concerned. Overseas child care centres are not bound by Australian regulations and standards of child care can be very different from those in Australia. As you would before placing your child into child care in Australia, you may wish to:
– Research the accreditation standards of child care providers at your destination.
– Check whether the child care provider has appropriate strategies to prevent child abuse.
– Check the hiring and screening procedures of staff, including background criminal record checks.
– Check qualifications of the staff caring for your children.
– Ask about the ratios of staff to children, training of staff, including first aid and emergency procedures.
– Ask about the security arrangements of the child care centre premises.
– Check the validity of personal injury liability insurance.
– Research childrens health and vaccination requirements at your destination.
Local transport and tours
Be aware that the safety standards you might expect of transport and tour operators, including child restraints, are not always met. Sufficient safety equipment may not be provided and recommended maintenance standards and safety precautions may not be observed.
Remember that infants, babies and children need identification too, (passport, birth certificate visas). Where you are asked to fill in customs and immigration forms for your child you can just put “unable to sign” where required. It may be wise to carry documentation to prove you are the parent/guardian of your child (if you have a different surname) to be prepared for laws on taking minors out of the country. Better to be safe than sorry.
Read the travel advice for your destination for practical information on local laws and customs. In some countries conservative standards of dress and behavior apply. For example, in some cultures, breastfeeding in public may be considered offensive.
And finally, take out travel insurance! Kids are usually the main reason you may have to cancel or re-arrange your travel plans weather is be before or during your trip.
Remember to remain calm and prepare for all scenarios!