[Parentsgroup-list] Tips for traveling with an infant?

Amanda Alvine amueller at math.harvard.edu
Wed Jun 27 20:48:46 EDT 2007

For what it's worth, we have chosen to always buy a seat for our under-2 
child.  First, it guarantees a place, and gives the carseat a place to 
travel.  They will check the carseat, but they are only liable for loss, 
not damage.  Second, we have felt strongly about the safety aspect.  The 
reason the flight attendents will generally not allow you to strap your 
child to you, with a Baby Bjorn or sling or what-have-you, is that you 
could end up crushing him in the event of severe turbulence--it's not just 
the belty thing, but since the others have carrier uses, they haven't 
banned them although they may ask you to take them off during flight.... 
And a buckled child, like a buckled adult, will not take flight on a big 
bump.  Third, it makes the plane flight more like a car flight, and gives 
the child a place to be (and sleep!!) more effectively than a lap does. 
If you have a child who sleeps in the car (or even if not, as our first 
did not) the carseat may be a helpful sleep-inducer.  It makes 
nursing-during-takeoff more challenging, though.  But we have found that 
the child who slept during takeoff did not wake up screaming.  The 
secret--nurse contortionist -style, or give bottle, whichever the child is 
used to, with child IN SEAT already, before the seatbelt sign goes on for 
takeoff.  If you're lucky, it may be naptime!  Otherwise, pinky fingers 
can make great sucking tools, with the nail against baby's tongue.

The down side to buying a seat (besides the obvious financial one) is that 
every airline employee really REALLY wants to take the carseat away from 
you and check it.  Those of you who have had such good luck with extra 
seats must have been flying different airlines :) but we have actually 
discussed pinning the ticket to the seat bag or something, to answer the 
string of "you'll have to check that, ma'am"s.

Re soothing, I'll put in a plug for slings, but I doubt it would be 
soothing if you aren't already carrying her in one.... Pulling up the 
sides can create her own little space, not so bright or overstimulating, 
and she'll know she's safely snuggled with one of her favorite people.

Overall, enjoy the trip and take a moment to think how glad you are she 
hasn't just learned to walk and wants to practice ALL the TIME :)


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