Travelling safely with children
Travelling can be stressful and hectic, no matter how you plan to get from A to B. It’s vital that you don’t let the journey distract you from keeping your child safe…
Travelling by aeroplane
• Allow plenty of time to get through security, especially when travelling with younger children:
Log onto the Department of Transport to check up-to-date security rules before you travel.
• Explain the airport screening process to your children ahead of your trip:
Let them know that their bags and toys will be put in the X-ray machine and will come out the other end and be returned to them.
• Warn them to watch what they say:
Threats made jokingly (even by a child) can result in the entire family being delayed and could result in fines.
• Seat your child safely:
As with car travel, your baby or toddler is best protected on an aeroplane when properly restrained in a car safety seat appropriate for her age, weight and height, and which meets airline safety requirements. Belt-positioning booster seats cannot be used on aeroplanes, but they can be checked in as luggage so you have them for use in rental cars and taxis.
• Seat kids separately:
Although you can fly with a baby under two seated on your lap, your child will be safer in her own seat. Discounted fares may be available, but if it isn’t feasible for you to purchase a ticket for a small child, try to select a flight that’s likely to have empty seats.
• Keep them occupied:
Pack a bag of toys and snacks to keep your child occupied during the flight.
• Ensure they’re comfortable:
In order to decrease ear pain during descent, encourage your infant to nurse or suck on a bottle. Older children can try chewing gum or filling up a cup of water and blowing bubbles through a straw (4+) or blowing up a balloon (8+).
• Get health advice from your doctor before flying with a newborn or infant who has chronic heart or lung problems, or upper or lower respiratory symptoms.
Consult your doctor if flying within two weeks of an episode of an ear infection or ear surgery.
Travelling by car
• Always use a car safety seat for infants and children weighing under 18kg/40Ib.
A rear-facing car seat should be used until your child is around 12 months of age, or weighs at least 9kg/20Ib After he has reached those milestones, he can ride in a forward-facing car seat – however, it is better to keep him rear-facing to the highest weight and/or height allowed by his car safety seat.
• Boost bigger children
A child who has outgrown her car safety seat with a harness (she has reached the top weight or height allowed for her seat, her shoulders are above the top harness slots, or her ears have reached the top of the seat) should ride in a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle’s seat belt fits her properly (usually when the child reaches about 4' 9" in height and is between 8 and 12 years of age).
• Seat kids behind you.
All children under 13 years of age should ride in the rear seat of vehicles.
• Airbag safety
Never place a child in a rear-facing car safety seat in the front seat of a vehicle that has an airbag.
• Keep them entertained:
Children can easily become restless or irritable on a long road trip. Try to keep them occupied by pointing out interesting sights along the way and by bringing soft, lightweight toys and favourite CDs for a sing-along.
• Have a break:
Plan to stop driving and give yourself and your child a break about every two hours.
• Never leave your child alone in a car:
Temperatures inside the car can reach deadly levels in minutes, and a child can die of heat stroke.
• Check your child’s immunizations are up to date and ask your doctor if she might need additional vaccines.
• Adjust her body clock In order to avoid jet lag:
Adjust your child’s sleep schedule two or three days before departure. After arrival, children should be encouraged to be active outside or in brightly lit areas during daylight hours to promote adjustment.
• Ensure hotels are safe:
Conditions at hotels and other lodging may not be as safe as those in the UK. Carefully inspect for exposed wiring, pest poisons, paint chips or inadequate stairway or balcony railings.