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Airplane Travel with a Baby

By Elizabeth Pantley, author of Gentle Baby Care and The No-Cry Sleep Solution

International travel

  • If only one parent is traveling, make sure you bring a letter of permission from the other parent. This should be signed and assert that the parent gives permission for the child to leave the country. You may not need this, but it's an easy document to bring along just in case.

  • Get passports for all travelers. It's easy to obtain a passport for a baby. Passport application forms and instructions are available at your local post office. Plan ahead though, as this can take weeks to obtain the passport after making application.

  • Take advantage of the room available in a larger airplane by taking your baby for walks when it's safe to move about the cabin.

At your destination

  • Determine in advance where your baby will sleep, and find out if you can rent or borrow a crib, if you need one. If you plan to co-sleep you may need to move the furniture around, or even pull the mattress off the bed to make a safe sleeping situation. (Most hotel housekeeping staff will help with this if you ask politely.) Other equipment such as carseat, stroller, highchair, and safety gates often can be rented or borrowed.

  • Find out if your brands of diapers and formula are available at your destination. If not, send a box ahead of time.

  • Ask if your accommodations have been childproofed. If not, bring along some outlet protectors and a role of duct tape for on-the-spot childproofing.

  • Pack a child-safe nightlight to make those middle-of-the-night potty runs and diaper changes safe.

  • Make sure that the vehicle you'll be picked up in or that you are renting has enough seatbelts for everyone, plus room for luggage and your stroller.

  • Upon arrival, you might want to collect your luggage and then send one adult for the car while the other stays at the curb with the bags and children.

  • Remember to keep your carry-on bag organized, including snacks, for your return flight home.

For the frequent flier

Make a master list of those items you typically take along. Be sure to include those you're more apt to forget. Keep your list on your computer, if you have one, so it's ready to print out when it's time to pack.

This article is a copyrighted excerpt from Gentle Baby Care by Elizabeth Pantley. (McGraw-Hill, 2003)


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