Planning ahead is essential for any air trip, and even more so
when children are involved. Make sure you keep handy any supplies you
will need to take care of any normal or special needs for the child.
Assume the worst: every seat will be allocated, the toilets will not
have changing tables, the airline will not have any suitable food, you
will be delayed for several hours, and any checked luggage will be lost.
Carrying all the child's essentials is important, especially if your
child is on a special diet or on medication.
The flight attendant is not responsible for supervising your
child - YOU ARE. On a very long flight from Australia to the US a parent,
traveling alone with a toddler, fell asleep. A few minutes later a flight
attendant carrying the child woke the parent and informed her that the
child had been wandering around the one of the aircraft galleys - a
place with all sorts of dangerously hot or sharp objects that could
have easily injured the child. Also be aware that when walking about
the aircraft with your child, hot drinks and food, silverware, and other
hazards are within their reach. No matter how tired you may get, your
child is still your responsibility.
It is strongly recommended that infants be put into a child restraint
system appropriate for their weight. Most child restraint seats designed
for use in motor vehicles are suitable for use in an aircraft, if used
in accordance with the seat manufacturers instructions.
Some airlines supply their own child restraint
seats. When making your booking, check to see what arrangements the
airline you are traveling with has for the safe transport of your infant.
If the airline does not have their own child restraint seats, you may
have to deal with issues of safety, economics and convenience yourself.
- Find a way to conveniently carry an appzropriate child restraint
system through airports and into and out of aircraft,
- Check with the airline you are flying with and follow their recommendations
for using child restraint systems,
- If the child is under two, bring along an appropriate child restraint
system and arrange to sit next to an empty seat.
Turbulence can happen at any time and without warning, so keep your
child belted in as much as possible. If the child wants to get up and
move around, let them do so only if the seat belt sign is off. See our
sections on turbulence and crash positions with infants.
Small children enjoy reaching out and exploring. If they are seated
beside the aisle they could get hurt if their arms get bumped by a passing
person or serving cart. Ideally, two responsible adults should sit one
on either side of the child. Alternatively, the child can be seated
on a row with a window on one side and a responsible adult on the other.
Try to avoid bringing along toys that are sharp, heavy, or that
break easily. If the child has an electronic game, only allow them to
use it during the cruise portion of flight. Electronic games may interfere
with an aircraft's navigational system during other phases of the flight.
Make sure you are aware of emergency equipment or procedures that would
apply to your child:
- Pay attention to the standard preflight emergency briefing,
- Ask a flight attendant if that particular aircraft has emergency
equipment like life preservers specifically designed for small children,
- If your child has a medical condition that may become an issue
during the flight, make a flight attendant, counter agent, or gate
agent aware of that possibility before the flight.
If the emergency oxygen masks drop down, put your mask on first. If
the brain is starved of oxygen, you can get confused or pass out. Then
you would be unable to help yourself or your child.
Take extra precautions for children traveling alone. The older
child traveling alone needs extra protection as well:
- Escort the child onto the aircraft. Ensure the seat they are in
does not have hazards like heavy carry on items in the overhead storage
- Tell the chief flight attendant that the child is traveling unaccompanied.
- Make sure the child understands that they should report any problems
to a flight attendant, ranging from feeling sick to being seated next
to a suspicious character.
- If the child has to change planes, make arrangements for the child
to be escorted between gates. This might coss extra but is required
for small children and is recommended for older children.
- Arrange with the airline that the person meeting your child at
the destination is properly identified.
Daycare.com would like to thank The Commonwealth
of Australia for this information in striving to make daycare and childcare
a more productive and efficient service.