Traveling With an Infant or Toddler: Care Instructions

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Traveling with an infant or toddler can be difficult. Your child probably will cry at least once in a while on a plane or train. It happens to most children. But with some planning and careful packing, you can make travel easier for you and your child.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

What do you need to pack?

For an infant

  • Keep all the baby items—and some things for you—in your carry-on bag.
    • Pack bottled water and snacks (for you if you're breastfeeding and for your child who eats solid foods), bottles, pacifiers if your baby uses them, and plenty of diapers and wipes. Include a blanket and a change of clothes for the baby.
    • Pack some plastic kitchen bags to hold dirty diapers.
    • Pack an extra shirt for each parent.
    • If your baby has a stuffy nose, pack a nasal bulb syringe.
    • Include a toy or teething ring to keep the baby occupied.
  • If you can, bring a stroller that also includes a car seat. You can wheel your baby to the gate, where airline staff can check the stroller. If you plan to buy a separate seat for the baby, make sure your car seat is approved for air travel.
  • Consider bringing a travel crib if you do not have a crib at your destination.
  • Ask hotel staff whether they have kits to childproof your room. If not, bring your own plastic outlet covers and garbage bag twist ties to keep electrical and drapery cords away from your baby.

For a toddler

Much of the same advice for babies applies to toddlers, with a few additions.

  • In your carry-on bag, pack a toy or book that your child has not seen. The surprise might keep them busy for a good part of the flight.
  • Pack a few snacks for your toddler. Try to get your child to eat or drink from a sippy cup during takeoff and especially during landing to help with ear pain.

Other tips

  • Breastfeed, bottle-feed, or have your baby suck on a pacifier during takeoff and landing, if possible. The sucking will help ease ear pain from air pressure.
  • If you can be flexible, try to schedule off-peak flights, such as midweek during the day. Ask the airline to help you pick the least-full flights. If seats are empty, you may be able to have an extra seat for your child to spread out with their toys.
  • Get a window seat if you can. Many toddlers enjoy looking outside.
  • If you are traveling by car, take several breaks to let your child run around. If there are two adults in the car, take turns sitting in the back with your child to read some books, sing, or play games.

Where can you learn more?

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.