How to be a travel savvy parent

dreamstime_xl_40448421A parent’s worst nightmare is being confined on a plane with their sick or upset child. Children screaming and crying on an airplane will happen, but there are some things you can do to make your trip more enjoyable.

Carry-on Checklist for Older Children & Infants
□ Prescription medications
□ Tylenol and Gravol are also handy to have in your carry-on
□ Snacks
□ A few favourite toys – not too small or noisy
□ Favourite books
□ Movie player and movies or digital devices
□ Child-friendly headphones
□ No-spill or sippy cup
□ Plastic bag or two – great for garbage, dirty diapers or wet clothes
□ Change of clothes – in case of spills/accidents
□ “Surprise” toy or activity book
For infants also include:
□ Diapers and wipes
□ Change pad
□ Bottles with pre-measured formula (powder is best for travel)
□ Bib
□ Fork/spoon
□ Soother
For more information on travelling with children visit

Before you Go:

• Remember to pack all necessary documentation for customs. See Border Basics on page 59 for more information.

• “Reasonable amounts” of baby food, formula and medication are permitted for children under two years of age. Pack these items separately as they will need to be reported to and checked by security.

• While air travel is safe for infants, some airlines will not allow newborns to fly. Check to see if your airline has any restrictions prior to booking.

• Travelling with more than one infant? Canadian aviation regulations require one adult per child under the age of two to ensure the safety of both persons.

• Being less immune to disease, it is important that children’s vaccinations are up to date. Check with your doctor at least six weeks prior to planned travel as some destinations may require additional vaccinations.

• Most airlines offer stroller pickup and drop off at the gate and one complimentary stroller and car seat allowance per child. Check your airline’s policies.

• Safety restraints such as straps that attach to an adult’s safety belt, boosters, child vests and harnesses are not approved by the Canadian government for airline use as they fail to protect the child from injury. AmSafe, an aviation seatbelt and pilot restraint manufacturer has developed the CARES device for children over one year of age and weighing less than 40 pounds. Car seats may be used on board but should have a Canadian motor vehicle safety standard compliance label on them. Prior to using any device, check with your airline.

Flight Sanity Savers:

• Pack toys in your child’s carry-on to keep them occupied, but avoid toys that are noisy, resemble weapons or have small parts that can get lost.

• Have a surprise toy, story or activity book to help hold your child’s attention and pass the time. Don’t forget to pack a spare “surprise” for the flight home.

• Take advantage of pre-boarding. It will save you the grief of trying to juggle everything and everyone through packed narrow aisles, giving you extra time to get settled.

• Check with your child and take them to the washroom periodically as unexpected turbulence or long line-ups can lead to accidents even with older children.

• Ear pain caused by changes in air pressure, especially during landing, affect children more than adults. Some measures to reduce ear pain include having infants breast feed, drink from a bottle or use a soother. Older children can practice yawning, swallowing, sucking on a lollipop, or chewing gum.

• While less common, air sickness can happen. Be prepared by having a change of clothes in your carry-on and an empty plastic bag for soiled clothing. If your child is feeling ill on the plane turn on the air vent above you and have them avoid reading or leaning forward.