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Flying With a Baby: Is Air Travel Safe for Infants?

Tips for Air Travel

  • Keep admiring strangers from coming up close to your little one and then spewing or coughing germs directly into her face.
  • As always, use good hand washing before and after feeding, etc. Bring an antibacterial 'hand sanitizer' to cleanse your hands in the seat.
  • Feed her (or let her suck on a pacifier) while taking off and landing to prevent the pressure in the ears from building up.
  • Come prepared! Bring all essentials in a tote bag (e.g., diaper change, wipes, plastic baggies, extra bottles, a clean blouse, a spit-up cleaner towel, etc.). See the approved list from the TSA:
  • Keep yourself well hydrated (remember: airplane air is dry) if you are breastfeeding, so there's plenty of milk for baby.
  • Use a really absorbent diaper before takeoff to avoid diaper changes on the plane. Diapering in the postage stamp size bathrooms on the plane is no fun.
  • Call ahead of time and ask for a "bulkhead" seat, which has more legroom and may be a bit more comfortable.
  • If you are holding your infant on your lap, do not put the safety belt around her during takeoff and landing.
  • It is true that in the unlikely event of severe turbulence, simply holding on to the baby may not work. Put her in a front carrier/Snugli. Even better, consider purchasing a special "turbulence protection" vest that attaches to your seatbelt. The carrier or vest are often not be approved for use during taxiing. takeoff, or landing.

Dr. P's Pearl

With sensible precautions, air travel is quite safe with a healthy infant at any age. (Most airlines give 7 days as the minimum age for air travel.)

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Reviewed on October 15, 2013

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