Archive for the Traveling with Baby Category
The idea of getting on a plane with a baby can be intimidating, especially on those days when just getting out the door to the grocery store seems insurmountable. But with a little planning and preparation, you can turn your baby into a jet-setter before he’s even learned to crawl. We’ve got the need-to-know necessities to make sure your travel plan is successful. (By the way, if your baby is under two weeks old, you’ll need a signed travel waiver from your doctor.)
1. Get the right flight.
Take a look at your baby’s schedule and see if you can plan your trip for your baby’s sleepiest time. That might mean taking the red eye in the wee small hours of the morning but the payoff will be flying with a baby who – with any luck – will nap most of the trip.
Try to avoid layovers unless you need to give a bigger sibling some time to get up and move. It’s hard on you (unpacking, unhooking, etc.) and it’s hard on baby. Short layovers and infants do not mix – make sure you have time to get your stroller or carrier out of the gate check and on to your next gate.
2. One seat or two?
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recommends that babies under 40 pounds be secured in car seats on airplanes but it’s not required. Most airlines have special rates for infants so check ahead and see if it meets your travel budget.
If you do book an extra seat, you’ll be able to bring your carseat on board and the flight attendant can help you install it. Carseats don’t install as tightly on planes as they do in your car (for one thing, airplanes only have lap belts) and they all work front facing. Your baby should be in the seat whenever the seatbelt light is on.
If you won’t be able to get your baby her own seat, here are some tips for flying with a baby-in-arms:
Use a sling or other soft carrier. This will make it much easier for you to relax and get comfortable.
If the plane has rows with three seats across, book the aisle for you and the window for your partner. Other travelers are less likely to request middle seats and if the plane isn’t full and someone does get assigned the seat between you, they’ll be more likely to switch to another row. If the flight is completely booked you or your partner can trade for the sandwich seat to sit together.
Get a seat on the aisle. Then you can get up more easily for diaper changes or to walk a fussy baby.
Alternatively, get a seat by the window. There you’ll have more privacy for nursing and your baby will have a wall to bang on instead of the seat in front of her.
3. Shoot for the bulkhead.
Even if you won’t be getting an extra seat for your baby, make sure to let the booking agent know that you’ll be flying with an infant since you won’t be able to sit in any of the emergency exit rows. Request the bulkhead seats — the ones in the front row. That way you won’t have to worry about your baby pulling on or kicking the seats ahead of you. It also gives you more floor space for stretching out and for diaper changes.
4. Give yourself lots of time for surprises.
Make sure you get to the airport with plenty of time to check in and get baby fed and changed. You don’t want to be so rushed that dealing with the inevitable missing pacifier or sudden diaper blowout becomes a full-scale crisis so give yourself some wriggle room in the schedule.
5. Bring everything you think you’ll need — and then some.
Make sure you have more than enough of everything in case your flight is delayed. That means extra diapers, extra clothes, extra snacks, extra wipes and (if you’re bottle feeding) extra formula. Remember, too, that planes in the gate get stuffy, but once you’re in the air, it can feel extra chilly so dress your baby in layers to make it easier to deal with temperature variations. And bring extras for you, too. Sitting stuck on a plane with baby spit-up souring on your shoulder is not the way you want to start (or end) your trip! Tuck an extra t-shirt into your diaper bag just in case.
6. Be stroller smart.
Pack the sturdiest but most compact stroller you have. Practice beforehand by loading yourself, and it, with your diaper bag, your baby, and your carry-ons to make sure it holds up to the challenge of racing to your next flight. (If you’ll be bringing your carseat onto the plane, make sure you’ve figured out how to transport that, too.) You’ll be able to gate-check your stroller as you board the plane so bring it even if you have a baby who would rather ride in-arms; it’ll come in handy to transport your carry-ons.
7. Don’t be shy about asking for help.
Flight attendants can help you get comfortable, bring you water to mix up a bottle, dispose of stinky diapers, grab an extra pacifier out of your bag in the overhead and even hold your baby so you can take a trip to the bathroom.
8. Dealing with tears
Traveling is hard on everybody and some babies are just less amenable to changes in scenery and routine. Try nursing or giving her something to suck to relieve the pressure in her ears, walking the aisles (if you can) or adding or removing a layer of clothes. Unfortunately, sometimes there’s nothing you can do but hang in there. Don’t assume every traveler on the plane is glaring at you — most parents know exactly what you’re going through!
9. A word about breastfeeding
Is breastfeeding on planes — illegal?! We talked to Jake Aryeh Marcus, a lawyer specializing in breastfeeding rights, to get information about policies around nursing in flight. Ms. Marcus says that aviation law can be confusing and there really isn’t a straight answer. If a woman is concerned, she should talk to the airline beforehand. “The advice I give people is to contact the airline by e-mail before traveling and ask what the policy is concerning breastfeeding on the plane. Then the mom can print that and bring it with her. If she is questioned by a flight attendant, she can then pull out the e-mail.”
Most nursing moms will fly without incident but if you’re concerned you can also take these precautions:
Request a seat by the window and reserve the seat next to you if you won’t be flying with your partner. That way you have more room to get your baby into position.
Ask the flight attendant for a blanket or bring your own cover-up to help you be discreet.
Wear clothing that makes it easy to latch baby on without too much rearranging, like a button-up shirt that you can unbutton from the bottom.
If you’re really uncomfortable nursing your baby in public, top him up just before you board the plane even if it’s before he seems interested. He might get through the flight without needing another feed.
Article by Dawn Friedman
Fawzia Rasheed de Francisco
The Observer, Sunday 20 January 2008
Planning your trip
1 If this is your first trip with your children, plan for a slower pace than you might usually attempt. If you want to see more than one place, be realistic about what you can cover with little ones in tow. The less you feel you have to pack in, the more enjoyable and stress-free the holiday – and you’ll be better able to take the odd day indoors in your stride if the weather is bad or the kids need to rest.
2 If you are travelling with another family, or adults, before you go, discuss what each person wants to do, agree how to split chores or take turns minding the children, and talk about the balance of spending time together and apart. Come to an agreement about the way you’ll split the bills (taking into account the smaller share of expenditures for the children).
3 If your children have special needs, it can be helpful talking to parents whose children have similar conditions, and who may have useful travel tips – try disabledfriends.com or youreable.com. Getting an identity bracelet that has details of your child’s medical condition, treatment and their doctor’s name is useful in case of emergencies (medicalert.org.uk).
4 Similarly if anyone has serious allergies, you might want them to travel with a card that specifies, in the language of your destination, what they’re allergic to and how serious the condition is. Allergy UK produces cards in 27 different languages (allergyuk.org).
5 If you are looking to keep costs down, consider a home exchange. If you swap with another family you can end up with a child-proofed home, toys to play with and insider information on things to do and healthcare services. The following websites may be useful: homelink.org (house-swap organisation with over 13,000 homes in 69 countries); matchinghouses.com (house swaps for families with special needs).
Other low-cost options include farm stays and university accommodation (venuemasters.co.uk); these have potential pluses such as animals to look at, sports facilities and wide open spaces.
6 If you’re going down the hotel route, always check for special family deals, from discounted rates to free meals for children; many international chains offer these. Most hotels and guesthouses provide breakfast, but unless it’s included in the room rate, it’s often a waste of money for children, particularly if they only eat a piece of bread or a bowl of cereal. If breakfast isn’t included, try asking for ‘complimentary’ ones for the children. Alternatively, you could take along something to snack on for the first day, and buy in a simple breakfast to eat in your room thereafter.
7 Supervised childcare such as a kids’ club sounds good, but can mean little more than a bunch of children lumped together in front of a TV while an attendant keeps an eye on them. Ask how many children are cared for, whether groups are split according to age, and what specific activities might be – and be prepared to check it out yourself when you arrive. If anything seems amiss, be prepared to cancel your plans and start looking for alternatives.
8 Finding accommodation when you arrive can be challenging with children in tow. So even if you do want to keep things flexible, it’s worth pre-booking for your first few nights: this will allow you to look for other places in a more leisurely way.
9 If you’re going overseas, see your doctor at least two months before you leave to discuss your plans. When making the appointment, mention the ages of your children and ask if they need to come to the appointment; when you go, bring everyone’s vaccination records, and ask the doctor to note down their blood groups for you. If any of your children has a pre-existing medical condition, ask for help in identifying a doctor in your destination who specialises in the same condition. Children under 18 months won’t be given any travel-related jabs.
10 If you’re travelling to a country in which malaria is endemic (check the list of affected countries at who.int/ith/en), you need specialist advice on the appropriate antimalarial medication. You’ll also need to make sure you take ample supplies of insect repellent, clothes to cover everyone up in the evenings and, if the place you’re staying in doesn’t have them, bed-nets impregnated with insecticide.
11 You can get antimalarials in syrup form, though tablets are much more common. As children are usually prescribed smaller amounts of the same antimalarials as adults, this means breaking tablets into pieces, so it’s a good idea to buy a pill-cutter; these are widely available and cost next to nothing.
12 If you’re going to need visas for your destination, don’t be surprised if they’re a requirement for children as well as adults, and that their fee is the same as for yours. As many countries require visas to be collected in person by applicants (including children), you may have to make a trip to the main embassy in your country, although it’s often possible to apply in writing first to avoid two trips.
13 There are a number of instances where you might need to carry extra documentation when travelling with children. If you have an adopted child, you must take their adoption papers; and if you’re the only parent travelling – regardless of your marital status – you might be asked for proof of consent from the other parent for your child to travel. This is more likely in countries where overseas adoption and/or child trafficking is common. If the name on your child’s passport is not the same as yours, or if your child bears little resemblance to you, the chances of this being an issue increase.
The standard requirements for authorisation to travel are your child’s birth certificate, your marriage certificate (if applicable) and a signed and attested consent letter from the other parent confirming you can travel with your child. If the other parent is no longer alive, you may need proof.
14 Getting your children started on a few holiday-related projects before you leave is a great way to prepare them for what’s to come. You could explore maps, or the history, geography, animal and plant life of your destination, or read books or watch a film that’s set there. If the food is likely to be radically different, research dishes that they might enjoy, and try rustling up something similar before you go.
On the move
15 If it looks like you’re going to be weighed down with mountains of bags, you may want to send on suitcases and bulky items such as prams via a baggage delivery company. You’ll pay around £70 to send up to 30kg of luggage one way between European countries, and £110 between the UK and US, but prices per kilo come down the more you send, and you’ll get better rates if you send things a few weeks rather than a few days before you travel. Try firstluggage.com or carrymyluggage.com for a quotation.
There are also companies that specialise in delivering baby products such as formula, baby food and nappies – try babiestravellite.com.
16 Hand-held carrycots are superb for babies small enough to carry when on the move, and can double up as a bed, too. Although some hotels offer beds for babies, they’re often pretty poor, with saggy mattresses and no shields to prevent babies from falling out. It’s better to play safe and bring your own. Most carrycots come with a detachable cover for the body and a shade for the head, and some have a built-in net screen as well. Apart from the obvious protection against the sun and bugs, these are useful for blocking out glaring ceiling lights – such as in airports – which tend to bother babies. Travel cots that break down into several pieces and pack away into their own bag are useful for babies and toddlers too large for carrycots. Carrying babies in a sling strapped to the body is a popular option; both hands remain free and you can detect changes immediately, sensing the moment your child wakes, sneezes, or has a stomach cramp. Slings are the perfect travel aid: they’re comfortable, practical, and fold away into no space at all. They’re suitable for babies over a week old, measuring at least 53cm tall and weighing more than 3.5kg, and the best ones have wide straps that distribute weight, are machine-washable and have a back or neck support for the baby.
17 A pram or buggy can be useful on holiday even if your child is walking, serving as a place for them to rest during day trips, a makeshift bed when out in restaurants and something to help with carrying the bags. If your destination is unlikely to have paved paths, it may be worth investing in an all-terrain version.
18 In each new place, don’t forget to designate a meeting point in case anyone gets separated from the group. If it’s likely you’ll be in really dense crowds, promising a reward for staying together works as a good incentive.
19 Child monitors can be a real help to keep an eye on young children in crowded places such as airports and shopping malls. The parent carries a tracking device – about the size of a TV remote control – while the child wears a watch-like contraption. Should the distance between the child and the tracker exceed the user-defined range, or if the bracelet is removed, an alarm sounds. Furthermore, once the tracker sounds the alarm, you can push a button to set off a bleeper on your child’s bracelet to help you track them down.
20 If your children still crawl around on the floor, one way of keeping them reasonably clean is to take a plastic sheet that you can put down anywhere for them to play on.
21 If you have to sterilise things regularly, consider taking a portable steam steriliser; they work well and with minimum fuss. For sterilising small items on the move – for example dummies or teething toys – you can use sterilising tablets in a watertight screw-top container.
22 If your child is on bottles, bring what you need to make up fresh ones along the way; to save space, fill spare bottles with water, then add milk powder and top up with boiling water when you need them.
23 Breastfeeding in an unfamiliar destination can be a worry, and it is worth doing some research into local attitudes towards feeding in public before you go. If in doubt, try finding some female company, perhaps in a women’s clothing shop. Another idea is to head for the ladies’ toilets of a posh hotel; these are usually spacious, with seats and pleasant surroundings.
24 If you’d like to be met at check-in and helped with the children and the bags all the way to your plane, ask for ‘meet and assist’ services when booking your flight. This is generally provided by the airport and not the airline, and whether or not you get it depends on the availability of staff – but if you’re travelling as a single parent with more than one child, you’ll be given priority.
25 If you’re a member of an airline’s frequent-flyer club, you may be entitled to use a private departure lounge. Facilities such as a supervised place to leave hand luggage, comfortable chairs, free drinks and snacks, TVs and spacious toilet facilities are especially welcome when travelling with children. If you’re not a member, you can often use the lounges if you buy a day pass.
26 Check the latest restrictions on hand luggage before travelling. The more stringent regulations relate to carrying liquids, gels and creams, which includes baby foods, drinks and nappy cream. The standard instructions are not to carry over 100ml of any single item, although exceptions are usually made for essential medicines or supplies for children under two. You can also get away with more (up to 400ml) in the way of milk and drinks so long as these are decanted into bottles and no-spill cups; if you carry the same in the original cartons or bottles, you’ll be asked to leave them behind. There are also discretionary limits for baby food – these are generally kept vague, but as long as you don’t have more than what security staff deem to be a reasonable amount for the flight, you’ll usually be fine.
The best way around the restrictions is to decant creams into small bottles, and bring just powdered milk; you can get hot water to make feeds on most flights, and as soon as you pass security, you can buy bottled water too.
27 Some airlines let you check in online, which allows you to book preferred seats from home and cuts out queuing. When you get to the airport, you usually join a fast-track queue to hand over your checked luggage. Similarly, train stations which feed airports occasionally have check-in facilities, meaning you’re then free to board the train with the children but without the bags. Some airlines allow you to check in luggage in advance, sometimes as much as a day before you fly. Though you have to make an advance trip to the airport to do this, the advantages are that you get to turn up a little later than usual on the day, and will have your hands free to tend to your children.
28 The low humidity of cabin air can cause mild dehydration as well as dry and irritated nostrils, so it’s important to get kids to drink regularly. If anyone gets a streaming nose (also a factor of low humidity), wet the insides of their nostrils with a finger dipped in water – this often works like magic. Flying can also prompt air expansion in the middle ear and sinuses, which can be painful for babies and infants because of their smaller ear passages. To prevent discomfort, massage your child’s ears from behind and give the earlobes a few gentle tugs from time to time. Toddlers also find it helpful to suck on something or have a drink during take-off and landing.
Rail and bus travel
29 When booking tickets, make a point of asking for deals for families and young people. In many instances, a family travelcard reduces the cost of ordinary tickets by so much that it’s worth buying one even for a single trip. Such deals are usually restricted to travel outside rush hours. To buy a railcard, you usually need to show identification for one or both parents, and have photographs with you.
30 If you’re travelling with more than one child and you want space for them to play, it’s a good idea to buy more tickets than you need, or book out an entire compartment. This might sound elitist, but sharing a packed carriage can be overwhelming when you’re with small children.
31 When you’re boarding a bus or train, decide who is going to get on first, who will go last and who is stowing the luggage so as to be sure nothing and no one gets left behind. If you’re on a train, establish limits in terms of how far older children can stray and how long they can be away for, emphasising that they always need to come back to you when the train slows down to stop.
32 Regardless of the regulations in your destination, always use children’s car seats whenever driving with your kids. If you’re going to use the seat in several different cars – taxis, say – go for a universal model which works with all kinds of seatbelts. For general guidelines and information on some of the common errors when fitting child’s car and booster seats, go to childcarseats.org.uk.
33 Extra rear-view mirrors trained on the back seats will allow you to keep an eye on the children without having to turn around, and are particularly useful if you’re driving without another adult. They are easy to get hold of in car accessory shops or online.
34 Accessories for entertainment such as tape decks or portable CD/DVD players fitted for use in cars (via the cigarette lighter) help to ensure the right mix of entertainment for children. And if you don’t want their fun to bother the driver, bring headphones as well.
35 If you’re heading for the heat, choose clothes made from natural fibres – sweat irritates delicate skins and can lead to prickly heat or sweat rash. Expect to change your baby up to three times a day – particularly if they’re not used to the heat and will sweat a lot. Children will need two sets of clothes per day, and sunhats with wide brims and neck flaps are worthwhile when playing outdoors. Equally, don’t overlook the fact that children’s eyes are more vulnerable to glare than yours; get them sunglasses, or goggles with elasticated straps, which stay on better.
36 If the tap water isn’t safe to drink, you’ll need to boil, filter or sterilise your own, or buy bottled water. If you plan to use bottled water to make up formula feeds, aim to get the lowest mineral content you can. Make sure the children don’t drink from taps, including when brushing teeth. Keeping a bottle of drinking water by the sink is a helpful reminder.
37 When eating out in countries with poor standards of sanitation and hygiene, always eat at busy places where the turnover of food will be fast, and avoid buffets: they’re notorious for harbouring the bugs that cause diarrhoea.
38 When eating in restaurants, if the crockery or cutlery is wet, giving it a dry wipe with a clean tissue will lower any potential dose of bugs. Check that bottles and cans are unopened before handing these to the children (and use straws or clean the can or bottle before they drink), and get them to avoid ice and salads.
39 Carry some non-prescription antihistamine such as Piriton, for symptoms such as sneezing, streaming noses or itchy eyes. For skin allergies, try applying over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream; natural alternatives include drinking honey and apple cider mixed with warm water, a spoonful of honey or, particularly for hayfever, nettle tea.
40 Children are particularly prone to dehydration, mostly because they don’t drink unless they feel thirsty. If your baby is exclusively breastfed, you should drink more whenever it’s hot so that you produce slightly diluted milk; but if temperatures are particularly high and you don’t have enough milk, give them some water to drink, too. Also check all your children’s urine from time to time; if it’s darker than usual, cloudy or strong-smelling, insist that they drink more.
41 Constipation can be caused by dehydration or changes in diet. Give babies water to drink, use a light oil to massage their tummies, and bring their knees up to their chests a few times. You can also gently rub a button of Vaseline over their anus. Give older children water and a few teaspoons of a light vegetable oil to drink, as well as trying the Vaseline and abdominal massage.
42 Most hotels do not provide mosquito nets for baby cots so you’ll need to take your own. The easiest way to protect babies from insect bites (apart from mosquito nets), is to put them in a light cotton fabric sleeping bag, with a long-sleeved top, and slather a healthy dose of insect repellent on the fabric.
43 Most tourist accommodation isn’t particularly child-friendly, so once you’ve checked in you’ll probably need to make some adaptations yourself. Start off by checking locks on doors and windows to make sure the room is secure. Check the sturdiness of the fittings – wobbly balconies and railings are unsafe and mean you should change your accommodation straight away. Point out things such as loose towel-rails or curtain rails to the staff and either agree that you can’t be responsible should they fall down, or ask for them to be fixed or removed. Use insulating tape to cover exposed wires or sockets or block them off with furniture that’s too heavy for your children to move. It’s also a good idea to check the temperature of the hot water; it’s often scalding, so you may need to warn your children.
44 Once you’ve researched your destination, prepare a list of possible activities that take various lengths of time and suit different weather conditions. If you’ve more than one child, give each a turn to make choices from the activities list.
45 If you’re travelling with more than one adult, try splitting up from time to time, either having time with the children, or heading off without them to do something on your own.
46 If you plan on walking or cycling, remember that young children won’t want to focus on getting from A to B, but on following their interests, so allow time for exploring. Plan your route around the capacity of your youngest child and your ability to carry them. Try to choose a route where the scenery will change frequently. Good choices for walks or rides include following a river or canal towpath; there are no hills to negotiate, and there’s the possible bonus of water to play in and birds to feed. It’s also a good idea to combine walks or rides with an activity such as swimming or taking a short train ride.
47 Children might get more exposure to sunshine than adults if carried in backpacks or on a child seat at the front of a bike; and if they’re not walking or cycling themselves, they’ll get colder than everyone else as they won’t be warmed up with exercise – protect them accordingly and have layers to pull on and take off.
48 Apart from taking photographs, there are lots of ways to help your children preserve memories of your trip. You could buy a postcard for each destination and help them to note a single memory on the back, alongside the date or their age. You could also get them started on collections of things that can be found in most places, such as badges, paperweights, model cars and boats or toy animals.
49 If your children are keeping a journal, encourage them to draw and list things they see and eat; they could also collect autographs and doodles from people they meet as well as ticket stubs and labels to stick in. If free mini-maps of places you visit are available, get extras for the children to stick into their books, and help them circle the places you’ve seen. If you’re encountering different languages, put in lists of new words and add more as they learn one set.
50 Local toys are often worth seeking out, and make great gifts to take home. Apart from the novelty value, kids tend to like playing with the same things that local children have, and it can help with making friends.
Your first break as a family is a special time, but there’s no denying that it can also be stressful. You want to have a fun and relaxing time, and you want your baby to enjoy herself too.
How can I make my baby comfortable when we’re travelling?
“Dress her in a few soft layers which are easy to put on and take off. A vest and sleepsuit may be more comfortable than trousers or tights and tops, which can bunch up when your baby is sitting still for ages.”
“If you’re worried about changing your baby’s nappy on the plane, most have a drop-down changing table in the toilets. Everyone worries about plane travel with a baby but it’s never as bad as you think it will be. When you arrive at your destination you’ll probably wonder what all the fuss is about.”
“Take a hand held battery operated fan. It’ll help to keep your baby cool in a stuffy place or car, and babies love the novelty of a light breeze.”
How can I keep my baby happy during the journey?
“Do take enough food and drinks in case you are delayed. The hand luggage restrictions on liquids don’t apply to your baby’s food and drink. Even if travelling by car you may be delayed or get stuck in traffic, so make sure you have spare supplies.”
“Pack a drink of cooled boiled water in your hand luggage if you’re going by plane. Aeroplanes can be very dry and if it’s not time for her feed she may like to sip some water.”
“If you’re flying, don’t be afraid to ask the staff for help if you need food or bottles warmed or something from the overhead lockers.”
“Take a new toy as well as a couple of favourite ones. If you wrap it up too they’ll have the fun of unwrapping it.”
“Make sure your baby isn’t too hot or too cold. If she’s in her car seat for ages she may get quite sweaty. Allow extra travelling time so you can stop and take a break every couple of hours. Even if just for a few minutes for a nappy change, she’ll like to stretch and kick her legs.”
“If you’re on a train or flying, walk about with your baby as much as you can. She’s less likely to get bored and start complaining if you’re pointing out different things to look at.”
How can I feed my baby when we’re travelling?
“Breastfeeding on planes is easy but can be a bit cramped. Ask the cabin crew and they may offer you a quiet area or unused seats. Give yourself some privacy with a carefully placed muslin.”
“Take the food you knows she likes. Readymade sachets are easy, and try them out before your holiday so you know what she enjoys.”
“It can get quite messy trying to spoon feed a baby on board a plane or train. Take a couple of spare muslins to cover you and the seat, and lots of wipes. Remember spare spoons too.”
“When we took our son abroad to Turkey, he refused to eat jars of baby food but loved the local fresh bread, fruit and vegetables on our plates. It’s definitely worth trying to introduce your little one to new tastes while you’re away. We discovered that he enjoyed all sorts of food that we would never have tried at home.”
“We took my daughter to her granddad’s holiday house in Wales when she was just three months old. It was great because she slept in her car seat for most of the journey and was still being exclusively breastfed. So we didn’t have to worry about catering for her. I had to make sure I had plenty of snacks and drinks for me, though.”
What shouldn’t I travel without?
“I packed a baby sun tent so that every day my daughter could have her nap, even when we were on the beach. It stopped her getting too grumpy.”
“I found a fantastic bucket and spade set that had been made for babies. It had no sharp edges, was really cheap and my daughter had hours of fun with it.”
“If you’re staying in a hotel find out if there is a washing machine available. If so, you won’t need to pack as many clothes for you and your baby.”
“Don’t pack too many toys if you’re travelling by plane. A few small ones to keep your baby occupied is a good idea, but once you arrive she’ll be far more interested in all the new things around her.”
Article provided by Baby Center.co.uk
Car seat safety ideas and rules are constantly changing to put crash data to better use. These car seat safety ideas are designed to provide the best protection for your baby in case of a crash, but the constant changes can be confusing for parents. Confusion often leads to car seat safety errors. Take a look at these ten common car seat safety mistakes, then learn how to fix them so baby is as safe as possible in the car.
1. Don’t Use a Car Seat At All
Just because most of today’s adult generation rode around without car seats and lived doesn’t mean this is the best car seat safety practice now. Crash data has shown us that car seats work. A car seat’s primary function is to prevent ejection from the vehicle, and preventing ejection makes death in a car crash 4 times less likely. Add that to the reduction in injuries when car seats are used, and you have good reason to blow off the old-fashioned “no car seat” advice.
2. Throw Away Car Seat Instructions
That car seat instruction book is useless, right? Wrong. The instruction book tells you nearly everything you can or can’t do to use the car seat safely. From where to place the harness height adjuster to when to use the top tether strap and where to place the car seat when installing with LATCH, the instruction book is a wealth of car seat information. If you’ve lost it, call the manufacturer for a new one, look it up online or check the basic instructions on the car seat’s side label.
3. Take Bad Car Seat Advice
Unfortunately a lot of car seat advice is outdated and dangerous. Parents report bad car seat advice from friends, pediatricians and police officers, because the advice-givers often don’t have current information. When someone says you must turn your baby forward-facing at 20 pounds, or that thick towels are great under harness straps, check the advice with a certified child passenger safety technician to be sure you’re getting car seat advice from a trained, qualified source.
4. Pick the Car Seat with the Prettiest Pattern
It’s nice if your car seat cover matches your car’s interior, but the real key to car seat safety is finding a car seat that matches your car and your baby. Reputable baby products stores should let you test the car seat in your vehicle before buying, or let you return it if it doesn’t work with your car. If you can’t easily install the car seat so that there is less than one inch of wiggle at the belt path, find a new car seat.
5. Don’t Install the Seat Correctly
You need to install baby’s car seat so there is less than an inch of wiggle at the seat belt path, and so that the recline angle is correct if the seat is rear-facing. You also must learn to lock your seatbelts to keep the car seat installed tightly, and you must be sure that at least 80 percent of the car seat’s base is on the vehicle seat. A certified child passenger safety technician, car seat instruction book, and your vehicle owner’s manual are the best resources for installation help.
6. Throw the Whole Car Seat In the Washer
Car seats are specially designed with fabrics and plastics that can withstand crash forces. Once you douse the harness straps in bleach and iron them on high, they may not react the same way when baby really needs them. Buckles and other moving parts also can be damaged by soaking or rough cleaning. Babies can make incredibly gross messes in their car seats, but be sure to check the instructions or call the manufacturer for help before cleaning the car seat.
7. Buy All of the Car Seat Accessories
Car seat accessories packages are sneaky, claiming to meet all federal car seat safety standards. The problem is that there are no standards for these car seat add-ons. Federal standards govern only the car seats and LATCH systems. Car seat safety experts say toy bars, neck rolls, fabric covers, seat belt ratchets and other after-market accessories should not be used. If it didn’t come with your car seat, leave it off. Manufacturers often void the car seat warranty if extras are used, too.
8. Don’t Use All of the Car Seat Parts
Sometimes you have to re-thread the harness straps or take off the car seat cover. Getting the whole car seat put back together properly is a challenge, but it’s important to get all of the parts back into the car seat correctly without leaving a spare parts pile. I’ve seen car seats used without chest clips and overhead shields, and with duct tape or bungee cords where other parts should be. Always use your car seat according to manufacturer’s instructions. Ask for help if you’re stuck!
9. Ignore the Height and Weight Limits for Baby’s Car Seat
Most parents end up buying several car seats as baby grows, especially if baby starts out in a rear-facing-only infant car seat. With many states now requiring boosters to age 6 or 8, one car seat just won’t do. Watch the height and weight limits for baby’s car seat. Babies that are too tall or too heavy for their car seat are not adequately protected in a crash. Harness straps can pull through the seat if baby is too heavy, and baby’s head won’t have impact protection if he or she is too tall.
10. Use the Oldest, Cheapest Yard Sale Car Seat You Can Find
Lots of people try to recoup their car seat cost by selling the car seat at a yard sale, or they give it to a friend to help out with new baby costs. Most parents aren’t aware that car seats have an expiration date, though. Many car seats expire after 5 years, some after 6 years. Check with the manufacturer for details. You should never use a secondhand car seat if you don’t know its crash history or recall history. The worst possible choice is buying a used car seat online, sight unseen.
As harrowing as it can be to travel to the airport, schlep all your stuff (and baby!) through the security checkpoint and then all the way across the terminal to the gate that is absolutely the farthest one from where you entered the airport (and trust me, it will always be that gate), and then cool your heels for two hours at the gate because you did such an awesome job of getting to the airport ahead of time…as harrowing as all that can be, the scariest part of any travel experience is actually flying on the plane with your baby.
Will your baby have seven dirty nappys in a row? Spit-up on the person sitting in front of you while you are standing and digging frantically through the overhead compartment for the bag with the burp cloths? Scream so loudly and persistently that the flight attendants make you exit the plane mid-air?
Maybe! But by being creative and staying focused on your baby’s moods and needs, you can make these disasters a little less likely to happen.
First things first, you’ll want to start the flight with your baby as dry and happy as possible. If you did not already change your baby’s nappy right before boarding the plane (and that is what I would recommend), go to the bathroom now and do it before take-off. Of course, there aren’t any guarantees. One time my daughter had a huge nappy right before we boarded, and I thought I was safe, and then an hour later she had a blowout that shot all the way up her back. We coped, and once I changed her again, she was fine for the rest of the flight.
To keep the pressure in your baby’s ears equalized during take-off (and landing, too) try to nurse or feed your baby a bottle as the plane moves into the air. You can also give him or her a pacifier or something else to suck on to relieve the pressure. Time this carefully, though. Once my nephew threw up everywhere during take-off because my sister-in-law had fed him two bottles already. Twice their plane had started to take off, and then stopped and returned to the airport to wait around some more instead. By the third take-off/bottle, my nephew had had enough!
Some people recommend giving your baby some children’s Benadryl for a flight to help his or her sinuses and, as a bonus side effect, basically sedate him or her to sleep. If you are going to try this, definitely check with your pediatrician ahead of time for the proper dosage, and test it on your baby beforehand to make sure he or she doesn’t react badly to it (about 30% of people get very wired after taking this medicine!).
The most important thing to keep in mind during the flight is to focus on your baby. If your baby is sleeping peacefully in a car seat then yes, kick back with a book or iPod movie and enjoy some you-time. Otherwise, however, you need to watch your baby’s mood constantly for signals about how he or she is feeling and try to head off any trouble at the pass.
Does your baby seem hungry or thirsty? Nurse him or her or bring out the bottle and snack bag. Does he or she seem uncomfortable? Check his or her nappy or remove or add a layer of clothing. Sometimes even just taking off your baby’s socks and playing with his or her toes can cheer the baby up. Does your baby seem tired? Unfortunately, if feeding hasn’t put your baby to sleep, you may need to walk up and down the aisle and rock him or her for a while to calm him or her down.
Does your baby seem bored? Give him or her a tour of your seat. Point out the window and talk about the things you are passing. Lift him or her up to inspect the buttons and lights above (though don’t call for the flight attendant by accident). Gently lift and lower your tray or let your baby play with the safety instruction card and the air-sickness bag. I once entertained my son for almost an hour with some magazine subscription cards. Get creative and act like you are having the time of your life. Your baby will most likely pick up on your mood and start enjoying him or herself as well. Take advantage of the flight to spend some good quality time together!
Whatever else happens, don’t panic. If your baby does start fussing and wailing, it can be very easy to get flustered, embarrassed, and angry at the situation. Your baby will sense your feelings and just get more upset. It can be very hard to do this, but stay as calm as you can and just keep trying new things to soothe your baby. Other people can be very judgmental about parents who bring babies on planes, but at the same time, people also appreciate seeing parents make the effort to keep their babies settled and happy.
If all else fails, one of my friends begins each flight by buying everyone around her a drink as a sort of pre-apology. And one time one of her fellow passengers offered to buy her one in return because he suspected she could use one the most! She didn’t take him up on the offer, of course, but in general people really will be empathetic to your situation if they can tell you are doing your best to keep your baby content.
Buying a car is a big purchase, so make sure you take into consideration family friendly features.
If you’re a parent-to-be what are the features to look for when purchasing or upgrading your vehicle?
- Space is clearly a priority for young families, so you really need a car with four doors.
- Make sure you take everything you’ll need in a car with you to the dealership when you’re shopping around. That includes the pram, which is the bulkiest item parents are likely to carry. That way you make sure it’s all going to fit in the new car.
- Also keep an eye on how high (or low) the car is and how easy it is to access the rear seats. A taller car can reduce strain on your back because you won’t have to lean as far down to strap your child in.
- Above all that, though, safety should be a priority for any parents.
When you’re carrying around precious cargo, safety is clearly important. What are the key safety features worth considering?
There are many, and they’re split into two main categories – those that can help avoid a crash and those that will help save your life once you’re having a crash.
For me, crash avoidance is preferable, so I’d make sure you’ve at least got anti-lock brakes (ABS), which can reduce braking distances (particularly on a wet road) and help the driver maintain steering control in an emergency.
A more advanced crash avoidance technology is electronic stability control, or ESC (it’s also marketed as ESP, VSC, DSC and all manner of other acronyms!). ESC can help control a slide or skid and keep you on the road. It does that by using sensors and computers to determine if the car is losing control, then applying brake pressure to individual wheels (not even Michael Schumacher can do that!) to bring the car back under control. If it’s optional on the car you’re looking at then pay the extra money to get it – hopefully you’ll never use it, but if you do it could save your life.
In terms of occupant protection during a crash, a seatbelt is still one of the best things you can have. So one of the best things you can do is make sure your child is wearing their seatbelt. And make sure the seatbelts are proper lap-sash belts, not the ones that just go over your lap. Those lap-only belts can be deadly, and unfortunately they’re still being fitted to some family cars, including people-movers.
What about airbags?
Airbags can be a life saver in cushioning an impact and reducing severe injuries. There are four main types of airbags
- front airbags (housed in the steering wheel and dashboard)
- side airbags (usually in the front doors or sides of the seats)
- side curtain airbags (in the roof to protect the head in a side impact)
- knee airbags (not so much a life saver, but a way to reduce leg injuries)
Almost all new cars come with at least two front airbags, while most four-door cars over $30,000 now come with six airbags (dual front, front-side and side-curtain airbags). Then there are knee airbags, which are sometimes just on the driver’s side.
If some of the airbags are only available as an option, I’d recommend paying extra – you can never have too much safety. Also, if you’re buying a car with three rows of seats, make sure the curtain airbags protect all three rows; in some cars those curtain airbags stop in the middle of the car, which could prove fatal if you’ve got kids in the back.
I’ve heard airbags can be dangerous for children. Is that true?
Generally no, but it depends where the airbags and where your child is. It’s worth noting that airbags aren’t the pillowy devices Hollywood may have you imagine. They’re fired in milliseconds using explosives, so commonly result in minor injuries such as broken noses and bruising. The upside is they can also save your life.
Almost every modern car comes with at least two airbags, one in the steering wheel and the other in the dashboard in front of the front seat passenger. The one in the front passenger’s seat is designed to be used with a person strapped into a seatbelt and facing forward. For that reason, it’s imperative you do NOT fit a rear-facing child seat in the front seat of any car. The force of the airbag exploding could do more injury to your child than the crash itself by sending the entire seat capsule backwards.
It’s also important that anyone – including children – doesn’t rest their feet on the dashboard, because they could suffer severe leg injuries if an airbag is deployed. Some cars also have airbags in the rear doors, to protect occupants in a side impact. If your car has these fitted (check your owner’s manual or ask your dealer) don’t let your children sleep against the door. Again, the force of the airbag exploding directly on to your child’s head could have fatal consequences.
Any other features you think will keep a family safe relating to cars?
Child locks on doors are obviously a great idea, and I’d definitely recommend enabling them on at least the traffic side of the car (the driver’s side) to stop kids diving out into the traffic.
A cargo barrier is also a valuable addition, not just for helping arrange things in the back of a wagon or 4WD, but also from a safety perspective. If you have a crash at 70km/h then whatever’s in the back of the car will try to keep going at 70km/h. That can be a pretty big smack in the back of your head.
Reversing cameras are also handy for seeing if there’s a little one lurking behind the car. But even if you have a camera you should still turn around to look and keep an eye on your mirrors.
I’ve heard about NCAP and its vehicle safety ratings. What is it and should I worry about it?
NCAP is also know as the New Car Assessment Program and is the only independent crash test authority in the world. It conducts crash tests on new vehicles in a laboratory using crash test dummies. While it’s not exactly real-world, the tests are formulated to simulate conditions you could encounter in a regular crash.
The good thing with the NCAP testing is that it doesn’t just look at how many airbags a car has. Instead it effectively evaluates the overall structure of the car in terms of its crash worthiness and how well it’s likely to look after the people inside.
While the NCAP tests are not perfect – critics don’t like the fact each car gets only one chance and the tests don’t take into account every crash scenario – they provide the only comparative data when it comes to vehicle safety. Cars are rated out of five stars, and I’d recommend looking for a car that achieves at least a four-star rating.
Should you look for a car with child restraint anchor points?
Fortunately it’s mandatory for all cars with rear seats sold in Australia to come with child seat anchor points. But it’s worth looking at where those anchor points are in the vehicle.
Most sedans have the anchor points on the rear parcel shelf, near where the speakers for the stereo are. But wagons, hatchbacks and 4WDs typically have space behind the seats, so the anchor points will likely be in one of three places: in the roof, on the seatbacks, or on the floor towards the back of the car.
The worst option of those three is with the anchor points on the floor at the back of the car, because it obstructs the vehicle’s load space. Once you have the straps in place securing the child seat they will cut directly through the load area, so you may not even be able to pop the pram in the boot. It’s very restrictive and annoying. So look
for a car with the anchor points either in the roof (although, again, be mindful of where the straps will run) or on the backs of the seats.
Why don’t car makers put seatbelt warnings in the back seats?
Good question. Most new cars will beep at you if the driver or front passenger doesn’t put their seatbelt on, but it seems superfluous given those in the front are usually adults who will probably put their seatbelts on anyway. Unfortunately in most cars, the only way to check whether a kid has their seatbelt on is to turn around and look – it’s not exactly a practical solution. Thankfully, some cars now have seatbelt warning systems for the back seats, and they’re on surprisingly affordable cars, such as the Honda Accord Euro and Mazda3. They’re a great idea and provide peace of mind that your child is actually wearing what is the most important safety feature in the car.
Is the seating position important for children?
Absolutely. It’s critical kids can see out the windows, mainly for their comfort – and yours! Some cars, particularly sports models, can have high windows, so make sure your child joins you when you’re car shopping. That way you can plonk them in the back to get an idea of what they’ll be looking at and whether they’ll be comfortable.
Many modern family cars, including the Ford Territory, also have stadium-style seating, where each row of seats is slightly higher than the one in front! It’s great for helping with forward vision, which can go a long way to reducing car sickness and generally making for a happy family. Some cars, mainly Volvos, also have built-in booster seats, which give the child a better view and also ensure the seatbelt sits in the optimum position across their chest.
What are the others features we should be looking for – the ones that that will make day to day life easier?
Rear air vents are great for making kids more comfortable and potentially fending off car sickness. Many large cars and people-movers have air vents to the back seats. But if you’re buying a vehicle with three rows of seats check whether there are vents in the third row. If not, you at least want to make sure you can open the rear-most windows.
One really handy item that’s started popping up on some people movers (such as the Kia Grand Carnival and Citroen Picasso) is a child-minding rear vision mirror. They’re a small convex mirror just above the regular rear vision mirror that allows you to keep an eye on what’s happening behind you.
Another great addition is a DVD player with screens in the back for the kids. They’re standard in some cars or you can pick up aftermarket ones pretty cheap at electrical retailers. But try to make sure the screens are fitted above the heads of the children, because looking down can be a recipe for motion sickness.
Leather seats can also be a bonus. Let’s face it, kids can be pretty messy, and many are prone to motion sickness. But I’ll guarantee it’s a lot easier to wipe gunk off leather than try to sponge it out of fabric.
Sliding doors are also a plus because they’ll stop kids opening doors into adjacent cars when you’re in a car park. Be careful, though, because some can be really heavy to open and close if you’re parked on a hill. Some cars, like the Chrysler Grand Voyager and Kia Grand Carnival have electric opening doors available, so you can control them from the front seat at the push of a button.
Cupholders and storage boxes are also handy, whether it’s for keeping drink bottles upright or giving kids somewhere to store their toys. Some cars even have covered binnacles, which are a great idea. Perhaps not surprisingly it’s American brands like Chrysler that excel with these sorts of features. If you’re planning a long drive, it’s worth looking at a window shade or blind so the kids don’t spend the whole trip sheltering from the sun. Oh yeah, and keep some empty plastic bags in the car; they’re great for rubbish and can double as sick bags!
Once you’ve bought the car, what can you do to ensure it’s as safe as possible?
Number one is to have it serviced regularly. Modern cars are pretty much run by computers and most will self diagnose a problem, so if something is wrong the service centre should be able to find it quickly and rectify the issue before it becomes a bigger issue. That can also obviously help with ensuring your journey doesn’t have an unexpected interruption.
Also keep an eye on all warning lights and consult the owner’s manual – or a dealer – if there’s a problem. Another really basic but essential thing to keep an eye on is your car’s tyres – and don’t forget the spare! Tyres provide the only contact between your car and the road, so it’s essential you make sure they’re in good order.
First and foremost make sure there’s enough tread. All tyres come with wear indicators; they’re little triangles on the side of the tyre pointing to a raised section within the tread. If the raised section is at the same level as the rest of the tread, then you’re tyres are illegal and won’t get rid of water effectively on a wet road.
Whether you’ll be away from home for an afternoon, weekend or week, the key to travelling with a baby is to be prepared for anything. For the first few months with your baby you’ll probably want to keep trips short and close to home. Newborns are more susceptible to infection but that doesn’t mean they need to be quarantined. Just be protective and picky about the places and people you visit. Once you are ready for a longer trip or vacation, plan it with your baby’s schedule in mind. Select locations that are baby friendly and family oriented. Perhaps a place where you can settle in and set your own routine such as an all-suite hotel, cabin or house rental or a resort that caters specifically to families. Chances are these places will have more patience, amenities and services available to make your stay easier and worry-free.
Wherever you go, you’ll need a well-stocked diaper bag. Even if traveling far from home, you’ll eventually venture out and need a compact bag to prevent little surprises from becoming big problems. Pack plenty of diapers, wipes, ointment, tissues, a changing pad, a blanket, burp cloths, pacifiers and a change of clothing to start. Remember medications, baby aspirin, teething ointment or other doctor recommended supplies for ailments that just might creep up. Snacks and sunscreen are essential for babies and couldn’t hurt for moms too. Plus a laminated phone list in case emergencies pop up and arrangements need to be made in a hurry. Pack everything in plastic bags to keep them organized and use later for dirty diapers or wet clothing.
If traveling by air with your baby, be certain your pediatrician agrees that a trip is all right. Most babies in good health are completely safe to fly, but let common sense and your special knowledge of your baby dictate your plans. International flights usually require a greatly discounted ticketed seat for babies while most domestic flights allow a child or baby that can ride on your lap to fly for free. However, the Federal Aviation Administration recommends that babies under the age of two sit in an air travel-approved car seat which is buckled into the airline seat. Though the airline seat is an extra charge, it is often discounted and will allow you the freedom of space and convenience. When making reservations keep in mind these tips to make travel even easier: request bulkhead seats for more leg room, travel during off-peak times to increase the likelihood of an empty seat next to you, and select non-stop flights if possible. Since unfamiliar surrounding and schedules can disrupt your baby’s sleep patterns, bring their favorite blanket or toy for comfort. In addition, to ease the ear pain caused by pressure changes babies should be sucking during take off and landing. Try to schedule feedings and/or offer a pacifier or snack during this time.
Nothing can be as daunting to new parents as taking that first long car trip with the new baby. It needn’t be that way, however. These tips are sure to get you started on the right foot (or tire) with that first car ride!
If you’re feeding formula, this one’s pretty easy. Make sure you have a way to warm up the bottles in the car (there are many products on the market for this) and you’re set. Don’t forget to pack enough formula, bottles, and water. If you’re breastfeeding, this one’s even easier, actually! No need to pack anything extra. Plan to make roadside stops when baby gets hungry (these breaks are good for the grownups, too!) Alternatively, try nursing the baby while he or she is still in the car seat. This usually involves some form of dangling, draping, or leaning over the seat, but babies don’t seem to mind. This can also be an excellent comfort if baby gets fussy in the car seat, or can be the thing that helps soothe baby off to sleep.
If you can, start your trip about the time of baby’s longest nap – or even around baby’s bedtime. Many babies find the motion of the car to be soothing, and many babies take longer naps while traveling.
Give Baby a Friend
Consider having one parent sit in the backseat with the baby while the other drives. Many times, babies fuss in the car seat because they’re simply lonely and bored back there. Having someone to look at, play with, and talk to can help turn an unhappy baby into a content one.
It Will Take Longer than it used to
There’s no getting around it – trips with a baby just take longer. You’ll be making more frequent stops and the stop s will probably be longer. Plan for this upfront so you’re not stressed out once you get on the road. Calm parents help make a calm baby.
Don’t plan marathon stretches of driving. Invest in a map that shows where the roadside rest areas are – this information can come in really handy when baby starts crying in earnest and you’re trying to decide whether to pull over or keep going. And again, knowing in advance that you’ll probably be stopping a lot can help reduce your stress level!
Most of the people easily get attracted to the baby prams that have a catchy look. Though there is nothing wrong with that, you need to keep in mind, the most important reason for buying a baby pram or stroller is because of your child’s safety. So along with the catchy look, you need to check on certain parameters so that maximum safety is guaranteed.
The harness is the most important feature of the baby prams. Before buying, decide on the type of harness that suits your need. If you want to jog along with the baby or most of the road is rough, then it is better to go for 5-point adjustable safety harness otherwise 3-point is enough.
Again, if you are jogging type of person, then it is better to choose baby prams with large air-filled tires for the smooth ride over the bumpy surfaces.
Look for the baby prams with adjustable handle. This comes handy especially if you are tall or if someone who is tall is going to handle the pram or stroller. Generally most strollers are designed for average height person.
The size of the stroller matters a lot sometimes. Usually the baby prams will be of wider wheel base to give stability. However, it can also mean that the pram is limited to fit through the check-out at the local shopping mall or at the crowded market. Also make sure that the pram can fit nicely into your car when folded. Because you don’t want to buy a new car to fit the pram.
Make sure it has a reasonable area of shade and also a view window so that you can check on the baby from behind while moving.
Some accessory might come handy like, net insect protection cover, nappy bags, drink holder and so on. Though you need not look for the Swiss-army baby prams as accessories can be bought separately later.
The frame of the strollers can be made of aluminum, steel, plastic or any combination. So choose the one that is suitable for you. If you are looking for the more stable and durability then go for steel or aluminum. If you are looking for the light-weight baby pram, then probably you have to go for plastic or any other light material.
Also look for the weight of the pram while choosing the material if there are frequent lifting and fitting it into the back of the car or carrying it up-stairs.
Pram should have a sun protection cover or reversible handle so that the exposure of baby’s sensitive skin and eyes can be avoided.
Cost can be another thing that you need to consider. Are you looking for all-in-one baby pram or is it enough to have a little cheaper baby prams with all the basic features included.
After you select the baby pram, it’s time to roll your eyes all over. Make sure it has a proper brake mechanism and lock mechanism for folding and unfolding the pram. Cross check by pressing the seat of the pram when it is unfolded. Also make sure there is no damage in the frame which would hurt the baby.
Take a ride
Finally, try before buy. Take the baby pram around with baby in it(if you have one already) or with some weight in it and check if it is comfortable and the baby too is enjoying the ride.
Babylite suggestions for prams:
Budget – Maclaren Quest Sport : Fold down small, is light and easy to use
Medium price – GRaco Mirage Travel System or Peg Perego Pliko P3 : Both excellent prams with different folding mechanisms.
Expensive – Bugaboo Cameleon : Read the review for this pram here
It’s amazing how much stuff a little baby needs when they are away from their home. Use our handy checklist below to ensure you have everything you need when you go away with your little one.
One for each hour you’ll be in transit, plus extras in case of delays
|Pad to put under your baby during nappy changes|
You can buy disposable changing pads at supermarkets or reusable ones at baby stores.
Bring a few — you’ll use them to lay your baby on, cover your baby, cover yourself if you’re nursing, protect your clothes from messy burps, shade your baby, and more
Carry a variety of sizes for storing soiled nappies, clothes, and blankets.
|Bum rash cream|
|Small bottles of disinfecting hand gel, baby wash, and baby lotion|
|Extra dummies (if your baby uses one)|
|A few of your baby’s favourite toys|
|Clothes, socks, and booties or shoes|
One to two outfits per day is a good guideline.
|Lightweight plastic feeding set with utensils, and baby food|
If your baby’s eating solid foods
|Formula, water, and juice if appropriate|
|Extra bottles, nipples, and sippy cups if appropriate|
|Energy-boosting snacks for you to munch on|
|Breast pump (if you use one)|
So you can keep the room lighting soothingly low during middle-of-the-night diaper changes
Baby pain reliever and supplies for treating minor injuries
|Sling or front carrier|
Lightweight, hands-free way to keep your baby close in crowded places like airports
|Portable cot or play yard|
A safe place for your baby to sleep or play
|Inflatable baby bathtub|
Can make bath time easier at your destination.
|Car seat for safer travel by car or plane|
Can be gate-checked or stored in the overhead bin of an airplane.
- Start preparing to pack a few days before you travel. Keep a running list of things to take, or put items out on a table or dresser as you think of them.
- Use a diaper bag with a waterproof lining and a shoulder strap.
- Be prepared for leaky nappies and baby spit-up on the airplane: Tuck an extra outfit or two for your baby – and an extra shirt for you – into your carry-on bag.
- Prevent leaks by packing medicines and toiletries in resealable plastic bags.
- Pack each of your baby’s outfits in its own zipped plastic bag so you don’t have to hunt around for tiny socks, shirts, and so on.
- Take your camera, battery charger, and an extra memory card.
- Take a clip-on reading light so you can read without disturbing your baby.
- Take the phone number for your baby’s healthcare provider in case you have questions while you’re on the road.
- Use BABYLITE who can provide a lot of the items on this list so you don’t have to carry them around yourself.