Is it Safe To Travel With A Baby By Plane?
Having a newborn doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t travel altogether. However, whether you plan to go on vacation or visit the grandparents, there are some considerations you should keep in mind before bringing your precious little one on a plane. Read on to find out if it is safe to fly with your baby.
How Old Does A Baby Need To Be To Fly?
Assuming that both baby and mother are in good health, you can start flying when your little one is two weeks of age. In some cases, you can start traveling sooner than that, but you want to hold off unless it is necessary. If your baby was born early, or you had delivery complications, you must check with your doctor beforehand.
Factors To Consider When Traveling With A Baby
- Airline Policies
One of the first things you do when considering flying with an infant is to check an airline’s policies on traveling with babies. Some airlines have a minimum age requirement, ranging from 2 days to 2 weeks old. Some airlines may require that you provide a letter from your doctor that indicates you're fit to fly if your little one is less than two weeks old. You might also be required to provide proof of your baby’s age.
- Air Pressure
Your little one may experience uncomfortable ear-popping when traveling by air due to the sudden shift in air pressure. A baby is especially susceptible to this unpleasant experience if he/she has a cold, cough, or ear infection. To help your infant’s ear pressure adjust to this sudden change, consider breastfeeding or bottle-feeding during take-off and landing.
Because many planes rely on recirculated air, germs can be easily spread from one person to another through the ventilation system. While most adults have well-developed immune systems that can handle these germs, an infant is fragile and prone to the bacteria and viruses that may be floating around in a plane or airport.
The unfamiliar surroundings in an airplane, coupled with a sudden shift in pressure and general discomfort may cause your infant to cry and scream more than usual. Make sure you're prepared for fussy behavior on a plane.
Infants are prone to dehydration, so if you plan to travel with a child that is younger than six months, make sure he gets enough fluids. If you breastfeed, make sure that he/she gets enough milk, and if he/she is formula-fed, you may need to give small amounts of water in between feeding.
- Breathing Issues
The interior of planes has lower air pressure which may cause breathing problems in some babies, especially if they were born prematurely or have respiratory, heart, or lung issues. Consult with your doctor beforehand if this is the case.
Flying with an infant can be quite hectic, so you can never be too prepared. Make sure you talk to your doctor before buying your tickets to confirm if it is safe to fly. You also check the policies of the airline that you plan to use to confirm that you meet their requirements. Finally, ensure that all your baby's needs are met – keep him/her well-fed, comfortable, and well-rested.