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What is the best way to travel with a 3-year old and a 10 month old on a 3hr international flight?

I’ll be travelling alone and the only flight that I could get is at night. Any suggestions for what I should carry, what I should pack for my two kids?

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2 Responses to “What is the best way to travel with a 3-year old and a 10 month old on a 3hr international flight?”

  1. tunisianbelle said :

    I’ve been flying internationally and domestically with my children since they were 2 months (now 8&5 and baby number 3 was born 23 December). At least three trips a year are the children and I traveling internationally (14+ hours each way) alone. In addition to that, we do another 8-10 international and domestic flights a year as a family. I have never had any problems with my children on any of the flights. Here are a few tips and suggestions:

    1.) Car seats are not mandatory, but are highly recommended. Your three year old needs to have his/her own seat, but the problem is that s/he may be too small for the seat belts to fit him/her and restrain him/her properly (they’ll be too loose).

    Since your youngest child is under two, you are allowed to hold him/her as a lap child, meaning that s/he will have to sit in your lap the entire time. The Flight Attendants *should* place you in a front seat where you will have more room. Depending on space and availability, the Flight Attendants might give you a bassinet that attaches to the front wall to put your child in (however you can not uses this during taxi, take-offs, landings, or turbulence).

    I advise using a CRS (Child Restraint System) for both children because it is safer for them – especially during turbulence, makes them feel secure, is more comfortable for both parent and child, will help your children relax a bit.

    A CRS is a hard-backed child or infant or child safety seat that is approved by the government for use in both motor vehicles and aircraft.

    In order to be certified for use on an airplane, the car seat has to met the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Check the labels on the side of your car restraint for a sticker (words will be printed in red) for verification that your seat is safe for airplane use. Almost all car seats pass this requirement.

    There is also a new device that is approved by the FAA for airline use ONLY. It is called CARES (Child Aviation Restraint System) and costs $75. It weighs 1 pound, is certified for all phases of flight (taxiing, take off, turbulence and landing), adjusts to fit ALL size airplane seats, and is approved for kids 22–44 lbs.

    Many airlines offer half-price tickets so parents can be guaranteed that their children can travel in a CRS device. You should call your airline to ask for a discount.

    If you haven’t booked a separate seat for your youngest child, be nice on check-in and see if they can “block” the seat next to you. They will then only use it if they absolutely need it. I must tell you that on international flights this is harder to have done.

    2.) You will need to have all your childrens documents in order. It is a good idea to keep a copy of their notarized birth certificates with you.

    Since it is an international flight, you will need passports and possibly visas for them as well.

    Keep your doctors name and number with you. Also get the name and number of a doctor where you are visiting in case an emergency should come up.

    Another thing you should consider bringing with you is your childs immunization book. That way if any emergency should arise while you are on vacation (no matter where you are) the treating physician will at least have some verifiable information to go on. This book also usually includes what your child is allergic to, and some small but very helpful notes from your doctor.

    Verify what travel documents you will need in advance to make sure you have everything.

    3.) Keep your diaper bag well stocked with plenty of diapers, wipes, ointments and other essential things. Just remember the new law regulating liquids, gels, and such and pack accordingly.
    You can usually find travel size baby products in stores and they are wonderful for plane use. One thing I always like to carry with me is hand sanitizer! I always wipe the trays down with that (followed by a baby wipe) and use it for my kids after taking them to the bathroom (even though they wash their hands). I know that airplane bathrooms are not the cleanest, so that is why I try to be vigilant.

    Be sure to pack 2-3 changes of clothes for your children. You will need this in case they get sick, spill something on themselves, or in case your luggage gets lost.

    Bring any medications that you might need for your children should they get sick or that they take regularly. Remember that if they are not prescription medications, the 3oz (100ml) rule applies to them and they must be kept in a clear plastic bag.

    Do NOT give your child medicine with the hopes of it making them sleep. This is not only cruel, but dangerous as well. I have also seen where it backfires; a parent gives their child a dose of Benedryl to make them sleep, but instead it gets the child more hyper and the parents get absolutely no rest on the flight (and neither does anyone else).

    Try to have your child use the toilet or change their diaper as close to boarding as possible. This will help to make your child feel fresh and more comfortable for take-off (which could also mean less problems).

    4.) Bring Snacks! just add water packets of food, cheerios, goldfish, animal crackers, dried fruit, etc. are great. New regulations also allow you to take beverages (including water) from home as long as they are less than 3oz (100ml), -OR- beverages (including water) of any size that you have purchased from inside the security area onto planes. You can also bring a limited amount of baby food, yogurt, cheese, puddings, etc. with you also as long as they are in containers less than 3oz (100ml)

    As long as your children are with you, you are able to take as much formula, breast milk, or regular milk that you will need for you child for the duration of the time you will spend in the airport and on the flight (as long as it is within reason).And no, you will NOT have to taste it – no matter what form you bring it in.

    All that you must do is:

    1. Separate the milk from the liquids, gels, and aerosols in your quart-size (1 liter) zip-top bag.
    2. Declare you have the items to one of the Security Officers at the security checkpoint.
    3. Present these items for additional inspection once reaching the X-ray. These items are subject to additional screening

    Save your money when it comes to buying water though because the Flight Attendants will provide you with hot or cold water (or any other drink) free at any time that you request, no matter how many times you request it.

    5.) Make sure to pack plenty of things to entertain your children, such as a few books, toys, a portable DVD player (be sure to bring extra batteries) or let them use your laptop (make sure it’s fully charged) with a few movies, and one or two comfort things such as a favorite blankie or stuffed animal. I always bring a small pillow and blanket from home for my children (even now) because I know 100% that they are clean, and my children are accustomed to them.

    My children like to bring along their own coloring books, a Doodle Pad, their Leap Pads (with a few booklets), and scrap paper that they can make their own drawings with and play games such as tic-tac-toe. My daughter used to like to bring along a doodle bear when she was younger so that she could draw on that as well, and my son likes to bring along some action figures to play with. I found that buying a Rose Art kit is great! It has crayons, markers, coloring books, coloring sheets, and stickers that they can color. It definitely keeps them entertained!

    You can also play games like pat-a-cake, or I-spy, and tell stories to your children as well. If you tell a story, try to make it an interactive one where your children have a part in it so they stay interested.

    You might also consider going to the store and letting your children (I let my children start this at the age of one) pick out their own carry on bag and a few inexpensive toys that will be used only once you are on the plane. Be sure to pick out a few toys without them seeing so that they have an extra surprise when they open their carry ons.

    6.) Not all children have a problem with the pressure changes in their ears. If yours does however you’ll want to know how to help. For take-offs and landings (the WHOLE way up, and starting from the BEGINNING, or TOP of descent), the best ways to alleviate ear pressure are to:

    *Give them something to drink (formula, milk, water, juice – it doesn’t matter)
    *Give them a pacifier to suck on
    *Give your oldest hard candy or mints to suck on
    *Give your oldest gum to chew
    *Place hot damp towels (usually like the ones distributed to first and business class before take-off and landing to freshen up with – just ask a flight attendant for them) or paper towels that have been soaked in hot water and wrung out, at the bottom of two paper or styrofoam cups, then hold the cups over the ears
    *Gently but with some pressure, rub their necks repeatedly from the chin to the base of the neck. This will cause a swallowing motion that will relieve pressure build-up in the ears.

    You can also try using a decongestant. It is always best to check with your doctor before using any type of medications though, to make sure you are using the one best suited to your childs needs. I personally have found pain relief medications don’t really help, and at least in my experience, decongestants are a waste of money.

    7.) Don’t worry about what the other passengers are going to think or say should your children cry. This will only add stress, which your children can pick up on, and it could make them cry longer and harder. Instead, just relax, and handle the situation like you would if you were at home. Most times the other passengers are very understanding anyways and some will even try to help you. Which reminds me, if help is offered to you, TAKE it!

    I wrote a small article about flying with children that goes more in-depth, gives airport security rules and regulations for the US, EU, and UK, plus offers tips and tricks for the travel, etc.

    If I can be of any more help or assistance, please feel free to contact me.

  2. Melania Rueck said :

    This website looks exactly like my outdated one!


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