Keeping my kids healthy while travelling is not something I like to leave to chance. Yes, some things are out of our control as parents and sometimes our children will be unwell and pick up bugs. That’s life. That is also why I do everything in my own control before taking my kids on a long haul flight to ensure that their health and hygiene is taken care of and give them the best possible chance of staying healthy and comfortable while flying.
Here are my Top Health and Hygiene Tips for Flying with Kids.
- Check up at the Doctor’s – This will give you the peace of mind to know that your child is fit and healthy to fly. Good chance to check that ears are clear. If there is any sign of an ear infection I would not advise to fly. Also make sure they have had a recent dental check. Just reassuring to know that everything is ok before you go away. Check with your Doctor that your children are immunised specifically for your destination.
- Book travel insurance – If your child did get sick while you are away the last thing you want to be doing is worrying about the cost of hospital or ambulance.
- Rest – Ensure your children have rested pre flight, if they are tired and run down they will be more prone to picking up bugs. I know this is easier said than done, but you can only try!
- Ensure that your children have eaten healthy food and are hydrated pre flight, giving them a head start of vitamins and hydration is a good idea and will help maintain their level of health while flying the long haul.
- Pack hand sanitiser and ensure your kids use it! Children are naturally curious and like to touch things. I always make sure my kids use hand sanitiser before eating.
- Personal hygiene can go a long way in keeping kids comfortable and healthy on a flight. Once at the airport I recommend that you take your children to the bathrooms in the terminal pre boarding and assist them with brushing their teeth. I prefer to use an electric toothbrush and my latest discovery is the Colgate Proclinical. It is compact for travel and comes with a usb charging travel case. Often routines can get pushed aside while you travel, it’s important to remember your child’s dental hygiene while you are on the go.
Note. This post is sponsored by Colgate, All opinions are my own.
Looking after a baby in your home environment is a juggle, so the thought of being in a confined pressurised metal tube with hundreds of others is a daunting thought. I completely understand that. Even though I am very familiar with being in an aircraft environment and I have assisted thousands of parents flying with babies. The first time I flew as a passenger with my baby I was nervous, anxious and a little worried. I was mainly worried about the people around me. What if my baby was unsettled and cried, disturbing others around me? What if this is the worst idea I have ever had? How will I change my baby in the small aircraft toilet? What if a nappy leaks? It’s natural to worry as a new parent and I would like to share with you “My Top Ten Tips For Babies First Flight” that will hopefully make you feel more relaxed and confident flying with your little ones.
- Baby’s First Passport– Organise your baby’s passport well in advance of travel. Getting the passport photo right can be tricky. From personal experience, I found Teds Camera shop the best. You can find everything you need to know about applying for your child’s first passport here.
- Request a bassinet – As there is only a limited amount of bassinets available and with so many families travelling these days, they are in high demand, so request one well in advance of travelling. Also, do check with your airline before travel to see if your baby will meet the criteria, as there are weight restrictions. I highly recommend a Fly Babee bassinet cover that blocks out light, giving your baby more chance of a peaceful rest.
- Getting through the airport – Allow lots of extra time for nappy changes and feeds. The Ergo baby carrier was so handy as it allowed me to keep my arms free and comfort my baby while we went through the airport process of security, immigration and walking to the gate. I also preferred to ditch the nappy bag and use a backpack, meaning I could be comfortable and balanced, instead of jugging a bulky bag on one shoulder
- Try not to worry– if you are doing your best to comfort your child and they are still unsettled, please don’t pay any attention to any eye rolls you get from passengers around you. You and your baby have every right to be traveling and really we all need to be a little tolerant and patient when sharing a space with so many others. It’s not a private jet, it’s a commercial airline and we are all human. So please if you are doing all you can and your baby cries do not feel bad. I’m sure a lot of adults feel like crying when flying too.
- Nappies– Pack lots of extra nappies at least 10 more than you think you will need in hand luggage. Invest in good quality ones. Woolworths have recently launched their Little One’s range and they are fantastic quality and reasonably priced. It’s best to stock up before you travel, brands overseas (especially in Asia) don’t compare with our Australian quality. Remember to pack extra in case of delays and diversions. A little trick I did which really helps once on board with nappy changes is to keep a few nappies in a freezer bag with some wipes and keep it in the seat pocket. You don’t want to be rummaging through the overhead locker for nappies and wipes you, want them to be accessible. Wipes are your best friend; they are so handy to have. Not just for nappy changes but also for wiping little faces, wiping tray tables, getting stains out of clothing.
- First Aid – Always bring your own baby Panodol, Bonjela, etc. Always handy to have. Also keep hand sanitiser handy and be sure to use throughout the journey.
- Ask the crew – The crew are there to help you and they should offer to assist before you have to ask. Some useful questions to ask the crew are: Where is the closest infant change table? How do I use the extension seat belt? Can you please heat up this bottle? Can you please sterilise this dummy?
- Little Ears– Please make sure your baby is sucking (milk or dummy) during take off and landing. Little ears are so sensitive to the changes in aircraft pressure. That piercing scream you hear on take off and landing can be avoided if your baby is sucking during this time.
- Hydrate- Throw the meal schedule out the window and hydrate your baby with extra feeds. It is so dehydrating up there and it can really help with jetlag and recovery if you are hydrated. If you are breast-feeding make sure you are drinking lots of water.
- Clothing- Always dress your baby in layers so you can adjust accordingly as the temperature in the air can fluctuate, usually on the cooler side. Pack spare clothes for you, in case of nappy leaks or some milk comes up. If you want your baby to sleep on board dress them in their pyjamas and bring their sleeping bag and sleepy time toys. Sleep cues can help comfort a baby who is feeling disorientated and over tired during a flight. Finally pack a few wraps, as they are so handy to use during nappy changes, to add extra layers and for privacy when breastfeeding.
Hopefully “My Tips for Babies First Flight” can help you have a relaxed stress free flight with your little ones. Safe travels, Jade Szonyi
Note. This post is sponsored by Woolworths Little Ones Nappies.
My words are my own opinion and 100 per cent true.
Before a long flight and holiday you need to prepare. This is what I have been doing the week before Paris.
- Travel documents – Double checked flight details and expiry date on my passport
- Travel insurance – This time Ben and I used Insure and Go, we have also registered our trip details on Smart Traveller
- Chemist shop – Stocked up with Panodol, Hydrolyte, hand sanitiser, hair ties and tampons. Yes, Australian tampons are often very different to ones found overseas..Best to stock up before you travel.
- Waxing appointment- No need to pack a razor or worry about shaving legs on holiday if its all done prior.
- Hair appointment- I can’t stand regrowth, My pet hate. I have recently started going to Blisque Salon in Mt Eliza who do a great job. If hair is fresh at the start of a trip its a good start for me
- Hydrating – Air travel is extremely dehydrating. To keep my skin hydrated I made time for some hydrating treatments at The Wellness Manor in Mornington. Absolute heaven on earth. I arrived a little late as my daughter had a fall at school and I went to check she was ok. I hate being late to appointments as I worry about the knock on effect that to has for the staff and their other customers, However when I arrived rushed from my hectic morning I was made to feel welcome and told no problems, they can push my appointment back for me so that I will have time to enjoy the beautiful spa’s first. How accomodating! Another really nice touch was that no paperwork was thrown at me as soon as I walked in the door. This was discussed in a friendly personal way once I was within the first treatment room. The Wellness Manor is an old vicarage, a beautiful building that has been renovated and styled so tastefully. The feature tiles are stunning and when I stepped in the change room to take off my winter layers and put my bathers and robe on, it was a moment of bliss feeling the heated change room floor tiles on my bare feet. The spa was 38 degrees and so relaxing. Lovely Cartier from reception brought me an iced water to drink and on delivery reminded me its important to stay hydrated. I didn’t have to watch the clock, When it was time for my first treatment the lovely Emily reminded me. I dried off and went into the first treatment room, where a pod was installed. I had a ‘Driftaway in time which include, Exfoliation,Vichy Rain Shower,Body mud,Steam Infusion,Scalp Massage and Body Hydration. It was so relaxing. I moved outside to the sheltered relaxation area and was very comfortable snuggled on sheepskin. The next treatment I experienced was a Hydra Facial, which involved exfoliation and deep cleansing to the surface layer of the skin. Prue, the in-house nurse applied part glycolic part salicylic acid, exfoliated, then vacuumed off the dead skin. Then, antioxidants and nutrients were applied to my fresh skin and a moisturiser was applied to seal in the benefits. Prue explained that this new technology improves skin health and creates an instantly noticeable improvement in skin tone and texture. My skin was glowing after this amazing treatment! My experience was far from over, back to the day beds where I was offered and served champagne, herbal tea and an amazing platter that had all my favourites. White anchovies, marinated octopus, cheese, ham and pickled onions. I took my time relaxing and was given privacy and space to do so. I didn’t want to leave, but unfortunately school pick-up was looming. I’m definitely feeling hydrated and relaxed before my flight and holiday. You can find more information on the Wellness Manor visit their website.
note. I was a guest of The Wellness Manor.
A child’s first flight should be an exciting experience as it can set the foundations for a life long love of travel. What a beautiful gift to give our children. However, flying for the first time can be overwhelming and scary for the little ones – let alone us adults! It is for this reason I advise preparing your child for their first flight to reduce their apprehension, hopefully resulting in a more relaxed and happy child and parent.
Here are 5 ways to prepare your child for their first flight:
- Explain the airport process. There are some great children’s books that explain the whole airport process. My favourite is the Usborne Wind Up Plane Book. I read this book to my children from a young age. It covers all the steps from bag checking & security, through to take-off and landing and even getting a taxi once you land. I never forget how worried my daughter was as a toddler when we checked in our bags, asking “where are our bags going Mummy?” I explained remember in your book our bags are going on a special belt to be loaded in the undercarriage of the aircraft. I also loved telling her “that is what mummy does” when they showed the flight attendant doing the safety demo.
- Explain why the flight attendants do a safety demonstration. It’s nothing to be afraid off and we are very safe in the air, however in the unlikely chance that there was an emergency in-flight it’s important that children know to listen to the flight attendants instructions. I always show my kids the closest emergency exit in case we have to exit in a hurry. This has never scared my children and if anything they are reassured. You know your child and how to best word your safety conversation, I think its very important.
- Most general Turbulence is normal and safe. Explain to your children that the plane might be going through a few bumpy clouds once are up in the sky. Unexpected turbulence can give any of us a little shock, so best to pre warn your children that if it does happen its normal and we are safe.
- Following your journey on a map.Showing your child where you are going on a map is a great way for them to visualise the journey before you fly. Your child’s concept of the world, like travellers of all age, increases with air travel. What a gift to open your child’s perception and teach them about another place beyond their home.
- Get your child to start a travel journal before you fly. Travel journals are a great keepsake for children. Get your children to write in their travel journal before you leave, or draw some pictures that you can help annotate. Provide them some prompting questions like “how are you feeling about the trip?” or “What do you think the plane journey will be like?” You can also use the journal as a prompt to discuss the up coming flight and allow them to keep filling it in on the rest of their travels.
If you are a nervous flyer yourself, try to plan some coping strategies for the flight. For all of you though, I encourage you to take some time before you travel and use my tips to reassure and encourage your child that flying is safe and exciting, hopefully resulting in a relaxed and happy little traveller.
Traveling with kids is all about being prepared. Last Christmas I travelled to LA with my children and we took some Tiger Tribe portable play sets with us. It was great for the plane, waiting in the airport and even when out for dinner. Fast forward a year and there are some awesome new Tiger Tribe products on the market I would love to share with you.
My 6 year old daughters favourite are:
- Tiger tribe colouring Set. Ballet – Inside are stickers, activities and markers.
- PaperCrowns- Creating your own beautiful designs.
- The lovely book of lettering- Stencil, Trace, Create.
My 3 year old sons favourites are:
- Magna Play. Pirate – Treasure map backdrop and gorgeous pirate magnets.
- Perfect Pairs- Match colours patterns and numbers. Fun and educational.
- Oodles Doodle Shapes- Doodle, Colour and stick. Includes 8 stackable crayons.
With Christmas holidays coming up Tigertribe portable play sets are a great resource to keep little hands busy when on the go. If you are prepared for traveling with kids. Your journey will be a smooth one. Merry Christmas and safe travels.
Mum With Wings
Note. I was gifted tiger tribe products to review. All words posted are 100 percent true and my own opinion.
When traveling with children there are some pre-flight tips you can apply that will ensure a smoother journey when in the air. The key is to think ahead and be prepared, you know best the needs of your children. There is only so much the crew can do once in the air, What you do before the flight is the game changer. Here are my top 10 tips of things to do before you travel with children – from my family to yours:
- CHILD’S PASSPORT AND VISAS: Organise your child’s passport and visas (if required) well in advance, i.e. months. Most governments are very particular and strict with their specifications, including on photos. For Australian readers, I recommend Ted’s Camera Shop over Australia Post Office’s. In short, the cost of using professionals is often less than having to re-submit applications.
- FIRST AID KIT: I always stock up pre-travel on trusted first aid products like children’s pain and fever relief (e.g. Panodol & Nuerofen), anti-histamine (e.g. Clarintyne), antiseptic & anesthetic cream (e.g. Savlon) hydration supplements (e.g. Hydralite) and plasters & bandages. Hand Sanitizer is something I always travel with. There are chemists at most airports, but I suggest you stock up well in advance of your trip.
- SEATING REQUESTS: For those with infants, request a baby bassinet if they meet the specifications. For those with young children, I recommend an aisle seat in close proximity to a toilet with baby change facilities. You can request seats from booking your ticket and potentially as late as the boarding gate, but not once in the air.
- FOOD ON BOARD: If you would like a child’s meal you need to order this in advance of travel and confirm at check-in, as all catering is done on the ground. Once in the air, the flight attendants will do all they can to improvise for any non pre-ordered requests, but you will need to manage your expectations. I recommend packing snacks that you know your child will like, e.g. infant food packages, for the airport and during the flight, as it can be a long time between services once on board.
- CARPARKING: Think about where you will park your car. There are a lot of specials around at the moment and I advise shopping around. For my Melbourne readers, my favourite place for value and service is Andrew’s Airport Parking –there is nothing like a friendly face and sparkling clean car upon arriving home. Better still, Andrew’s are offering mum with wings readers a 10% discount, right up until Christmas. Book at http://www.andrewsairportpark.com.au/melbourne.aspx and use the Discount Code WINGS.
- LAGS: Liquid and Gel regulations are something that parent’s travelling with infants are exempt from, as long as the amounts are proportionate to the duration of the flight, with a little extra in case of delays. I strongly recommend reading up about these regulations for those airports you will be visiting to avoid any undue worries when passing through security checks. You can find everything you need here http://travelsecure.infrastructure.gov.au/international/lags/exemptions.aspx
- ENTERTAINMENT: We are very lucky that these days we have access to iPads/ tablets, but remember to charge and load it up before you travel with your children’s favourite shows, games and books. For a number of airlines, usually non-premium, you can pre-order iPads for in-flight entertainment. I still pack activities like stickers and colouring books, which are handy when electronic devices cannot be used during the flight, e.g. taxiing.
- PREP YOUR CHILDREN: Explain to your children what is about to happen and the processes at the airport. I find when children know what is about to happen they will be relaxed and not afraid of any checks.
- HYDRATE and REST: If children are hydrated and well rested before travel they will be more comfortable once in the air.
- CABIN BAGGAGE: Think about packing well in advance, especially cabin baggage. One tip I always recommend is preparing some freezer bags with nappies and wipes to keep in the seat pocket and a wrap. This means every time your child needs changing you don’t need to get your bag down from the overhead locker. Packing is a blog post of its own.coming soon.
Travelling with your family is an amazing thing to do and I want everyone to experience it. If you do these 10 things I mentioned before flying with children you will be prepared and organised for a great flight with your family. Safe travels.
Mum with Wings
I felt fantastic during my first pregnancy and with my obstetrician’s consent I was able to continue working as an international flight attendant, which included one memorable trip. Whilst stopping over in Frankfurt, Germany, I made the most of the opportunity and took a cruise along the Rhine River, where I visited a traditional riverside town and purchased my un-born daughter a Stieff teddy. She still loves playing with this teddy and hearing stories of all the places I visited, like Hong Kong, London and Singapore, whilst she was “on the inside”.
My second pregnancy unfortunately was a different experience. I was emotional over nothing and dry retching at aircraft smells, which let’s be honest, can be hard to deal with even without being pregnant. This pregnancy I only lasted one flight with work.
In short, every pregnancy experience is different for each of us. With that in mind, here are my top ten tips for airline travel during pregnancy.
- Speak with your obstetrician: Have your health checked and assessed before you travel and carry with you a note from your G.P/ obstetrician stating how many weeks pregnant you are and that you are fit to travel. Some airlines will require seeing this before you board and/or ask you to sign a waiver.
- Stay hydrated: This is crucial, but keep in mind your restricted bladder volume, so request a seat on the aisle and even near the toilets.
- Bring your own cushion or pillow: I learnt this the hard way when I was travelling home from my baby-moon in Europe. Airline pillows are not designed to provide the required support for a pregnant woman’s aching back.
- Keep mobile: Move around the cabin as often as possible, including stretching. This helps with the aches and the pregnancy puffiness. Remember though to keep your seatbelt on when seated.
- Pack smart: Your ability to lift and twist will be restricted, so travel light and think about investing in lightweight, luggage on wheels. Also, I always used the trolleys (or my husband) at the airport.
- Take snacks: Being always hungry is just a reality, after all you are growing a human, so pack snacks and keep them accessible. Try and opt for the nutritious snack varieties, but as you are most likely on holidays, don’t forget to treat yourself (caramel slices were my vice whilst pregnant).
- Inform cabin crew: You may think it is completely obvious, as you feel as big as a house, but as a crew member I can assure you if we are uncertain of your pregnancy it makes it difficult to know how to best look after you. When I know I have a pregnant passenger on board, I am empathetic and pay special attention to all of these listed tips.
- Book travel insurance: I highly recommend this, as little things can be big things when your pregnant and knowing you are covered is really important. Remember though to check the clauses.
- Allow yourself extra time: A last minute run to the gate is not advisable whilst pregnant – trust me. I had to do it on one occasion through Denpasar airport, with my then two year old, and it was not a good way to start a long flight or help with my final tip.
- Relax: Make the most of the opportunity and try to enjoy yourself. You will probably be sick of everyone telling you to relax and offering to help you before the baby comes, but I promise if you do, you will not regret it. Also, let’s face it, what better way to get a holiday started (or prolonged), than reading a great book or watching a movie you enjoy, and that is my wish for all my passengers.
If you have any specific questions or suggestions about travelling during pregnancy, please leave them in the comments section below and I will reply.
Mum With Wings
Photo credit: Black and White Image www.anyamaria.com