Years ago, traveling with young children and small babies would be considered taboo. Now a days, with the popularity of travel on the rise, especially family travel, airlines and airports are making it even easier for families to travel and create those bonding memories at an early age. Below you will find some helpful tips when traveling with your family.
Know the airport's amenities, there are many airports around the U.S. making an effort to improve travelers' experiences. Some of them are installing nursing rooms so moms have a private place to nurse or pump when traveling with babies. A few airports have even added kids' play rooms or areas, kids will have time to burn off energy before or after being stuck up on a plane for hours. Another airport amenity that is grabbing attention is the addition of quiet rooms for children on the autism spectrum. In April 2016, the Myrtle Beach International Airport opened a quiet room near the baggage claim area to provide families with a calming place to go, away from the busyness of the airport. The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport also opened a multi sensory room in a quiet space on the F concourse, designed to be soothing. A bubbling water sculpture, mini ball pit and tactile activity panel are intended to help children with autism adjust to the travel environment before getting on an airplane. These are important monuments in history that will make it easier on parents traveling with children.
Understanding TSA rules is very important when traveling with small children. You should know the rules and exceptions. For example, formula, breast milk and juice for infants in excess of 3.4 ounces can be in a carry-on bag, but travelers must notify TSA officers of it before they're screened. Ice packs are also allowed, so travelers don't have to worry about the liquids getting warm. TSA has a web page specifically dedicated to traveling with children with more details. Click here to read more about the TSA.
Car seats are no longer required for children on airplanes. If a child is less than two years old, they can sit on the lap of an adult. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does recommend car seats for children who weigh less than 40 pounds, so a seat would be purchased at that point.
Every airline has different policies for the children's items travelers can carry on to the plane or check, like car seats and strollers. I have brought an umbrella stroller on flights many a times, folded it up and left it right outside the entrance of the plane. This way you can wheel your little one all the way to the plane and when you exit the plane, the stroller will be waiting for you to enter the airport. This makes it so much easier traveling around the airport.
There are some important facts to understand about passports for children, everyone needs one, even infants. Also, anyone under the age of 16 applying for a passport must do it in person, with the consent of both parents/guardians. You can always learn more about children and passports on your State Department's website.
Do not let flying scare you away from traveling with young ones. There has not been a better time than now to start traveling with your children even if they are young!