Airplane Travel with Toddlers

iStock_000014362043_LargeIt’s safe to say that most parents fear their first flight with their toddler(s). There are a multitude of horror stories, however there are certain ways you can avoid becoming one. The childcare professionals at Celebree Learning Center provide some tips on how to avoid an unpleasant flight.

Choosing Your Flight

The flight you choose can have a big impact on your trip. If your child falls asleep easily and is a heavy sleeper, find a flight close to their naptime. On the other hand, if your child is a light sleeper, avoid traveling when they would otherwise be sound asleep. If your trip is less than a few hours long, find a flight without layovers. If the flight is longer, choose one with longer layovers so that you and your little one can stretch your legs and explore the new airport. Do some research on kid-friendly airports.


Be sure to pack your carry-on with the essentials: a lot of diapers, wet wipes, an extra set of clothes for you and the baby and a first aid kit with pediatrician-approved child pain relievers (note: being 35,000 feet in the air is not the best time to test out new medications). Bring more entertainment than you think you’ll need such as books, stickers, an iPad with earbuds safe for children and small quiet toys. If you feel so inclined, you may want to purchase inexpensive ear plugs to pass around to the people sitting near you as a courtesy gift.

Before Boarding

Get to the airport early. Change your child’s diaper immediately before boarding, but try to wait until you are seated and settled before feeding. Most airlines have pre-boarding for travelers with young children, so take advantage of that time to find a seat where you and your child will be comfortable if your seat is not already assigned.


Children tend to be the fussiest for the duration of takeoff and landing due to the pressure change. To help fight the ear pain, encourage your child to swallow by giving him or her a bottle, pacifier or a drink. Show your child how to yawn and stretch their jaw as well. Remember that flying high can cause slight dehydration, especially in young children, so keep your child hydrated with juice, water or milk.


Despite all the planning ahead, your child may still get cranky. Stay calm, take a deep breath, and try your best to keep them comfortable. For more information on airplane travel with your toddler, contact Celebree Learning Centers today.