Air Travel: Tips For Those Traveling with Babies & Small Children

A family vacation can be just what the doctor ordered. Beaches, mountains, hiking, sailing, and just about any activity that brings relaxation and rest into your life is a welcome activity. But before you can begin to enjoy what you have planned, you have to arrive at your destination. 

For anyone who has ever traveled with small children getting to your destination can sometimes be a challenge if the children are uncomfortable on the plane. Having a medical kit handy and being prepared for the most common discomforts when flying can keep your trip on the right course.

Common Discomforts

Dehydration – keep a bottle or straw cup full at all times and encourage your child to take regular drinks. Carry at least one bottle of drinking water with you and do not hesitate to ask the airline crew for more juice or water should you run out. Remember TSA requirements and purchase liquids once you are through security. 

Changes in cabin pressure will affect your child’s ear equalization. This can be an uncomfortable and sometimes frightening experience. To decrease discomfort, encourage your child to drink from a straw cup or bottle feed your baby. You can also try offering soft sweets or even gum depending on your child’s age. If your child has an ear infection at the time you fly, the effects of any pressure changes will be more acute. It may be advisable to wait until the infection has cleared.


Although the sound of an engine is enough to lull some babies to sleep, this is not a rule for all children. Should your child have a certain routine to induce sleep, try to maintain your routine when you travel aboard an aircraft. For instance, if your child usually listens to music to fall asleep, bring along his favorite relaxing music to listen to. If your children enjoy cuddling with a toy, bring along their favorite stuffed toy. Often your child will feel safe and relaxed enough to sleep when surrounded by the same routines and loveable toys from home.

Medical Kit

Carrying a medical kit on board with you can make flying more convenient with a small child or infant. Consider packing the following items in your carry-on luggage, either in a Ziploc plastic bag or plastic container. Should you encounter an issue, you will be prepared to immediately provide some measure of relief. 

Homeopathic remedies
  • Thermometer
  • Antiseptic cream
  • Measure dropper (5-10 mil)
  • Nose Drops
  • Eye Drops


Consider purchasing travel insurance prior to your departure. Travel insurance may cover the cost of cancelled hotels and ticket changes should your journey be canceled or interrupted due to illness in the family. Some common situations which prevent children from flying are ear infections, measles or rash, flu or cold like symptoms.


US Travel Insurance Association (UStiA)
UStiA is a national association of insurance carriers, third-party administrators, insurance agencies and related businesses involved in the development, administration and marketing of travel insurance and travel assistance products.