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Tips for Traveling With Infants and Young Children

Published March 26, 2008        by Nicole

Traveling with infants and young children may not be a formidable task, though any trip-even across town-requires common sense, planning, and organization. You must always keep three important factors in mind, the child’s safety, physical comfort, and contentment.

Safety Restraints

Even before the baby’s birth, parents should buy a quality child safety restraint for use in the family car. Several good models are on the market, but each of them must be installed properly to be effective.

Beginning with baby’s first trip home, develop the habit of using the safety restraint each time the child rides in the car regardless of the distance involved. Under no circumstances should any child be allowed to ride "loose"; the lap of an adult passenger is an especially dangerous place for a baby or young child.

Planning Your Trip

When including your baby in major traveling, begin planning for your trip several weeks before departure. Tell your pediatrician about it and ask his advice. A few doctors do restrict infant travel.

If you will be traveling by commercial carrier-plane, train, or bus-ask the ticket agent about infant passengers and special services. One domestic airline, for example, requires a doctor’s written consent before it will transport an infant under seven days old. Most carriers need advance notice to supply children’s meals and provide bassinets for use on route.

Prepare separate lists-the things you will need for the baby during the trip, the things you will want at your destination, the things you might like to have easily accessible [in the trunk of your car, for example, if you’re planning to drive. Then organize your packing according to your lists, using a lightweight carry-along bag for traveling, and a separate suitcase for the rest of the baby’s things.

Gather the necessary items in a single spot so that they will not be forgotten. As you locate and pack each item, check it off the appropriate list and take the list with you-they perform admirably for the return trip too.

What to Pack

What you take with you is mostly a matter of common sense; it depends primarily on the age of your child and your mode of transportation.

Formula can be refrigerated in insulated coolers packed with ice, although commercial carriers frequently have refrigerator space for a bottle or two. If necessary, you can warm bottles under a hot water faucet.

Traveling is infinitely easier since the advent of disposable diapers. Even if you use washable ones at home, consider taking throwaways with you on the trip. You need only take a few since the supply can be replenished readily while traveling and after you arrive at your destination. Disposable diapers eliminate the problem of storing soiled ones. Soiled washable diapers should be rinsed out in a restroom before being stowed in a plastic bag until laundry facilities are available.

Dress your youngster in loose, comfortable clothing suitable to the particular travel environment; if the vehicle is air-conditioned, take along a sweater or lightweight blanket for the child’s comfort.

Facial tissues are “musts” when traveling with young children. Commercially packaged, moistened towels are handy, but you can also carry washcloths in a plastic bag.

A plastic trash bag functions well as a laundry bag, and a plastic sheet protects beds from accidents, but be sure to place the plastic under the bed-sheet to avoid the danger of suffocation. Take a large bed-sheet with you-it provides a clean, instant play area on a motel floor or on a bed or even on a grassy area by the side of the road.