Travel with children involves a little extra planning, but becomes healthier, safer, and easier with the following suggestions:
Provide Seat Safety
- Whether children are traveling in a car or plane, they require special protective seats and/or seatbelts.
- Car seats are required in every state for children under 4.
- On airplanes, children 2 and over are required to wear their own seatbelts. Children under 2 should be secured into a safety seat. Many airlines provide these, but since they aren’t required, you should bring your own. Be sure your seat has been approved by the Federal Aeronautics Administration (FAA) for airplane travel.
Some Special Travel Hints
- Do lengthy travel at night so children can sleep. Take small pillows and blankets along.
- Plan a 20 minute break every two hours so children can stretch and release built-up energy.
- Have a drink container and nutritious snacks available.
- Keep children well rested.
- Bring along favorite books, toys, and games.
Dealing With Airplanes and Ears
Help your children keep their ears unplugged when there is a change in cabin pressure during take-offs and landings. If their ears become blocked, they will experience discomfort and an ear infection may result. To prevent this:
- Babies can nurse or suck on a bottle or pacifier.
- Older children can chew gum, suck candy or yawn.
- Ask your doctor about taking a decongestant an hour before both take-offs and landings.
- Older children may do Valsalva’s maneuver–pinching nostrils together, then trying to blow gently out of them with their mouth closed.