[Parentsgroup-list] toddler traveling - harness pros/cons?

Andrea Heberlein heberlein at wjh.harvard.edu
Mon Nov 10 11:21:26 EST 2008

Seconding the present idea-- I took a couple of 13-hour flights with 
my son at 15 months and books of stickers (with pads of paper for 
sticking them on), and various other doodads (spinning light-up toys, 
etc.) were a life-saver.

Another thing to consider: I'm not sure if your kid is still nursing 
(or ever did), but pressure changes on planes can be extra painful 
for little ears, and swallowing during take-off and landing can help 
a lot.  (One less reason to scream en route!)  Our ped. recommended 
tangy candies (e.g. Skittles) for our kid when he was a little older 
than yours is now-- he now thinks of Skittles as "airplane candy". 
Bottles or sippy cups of some favored liquid are good too-- the only 
time our kid got undiluted apple juice was for flights, because we 
could be sure he'd guzzle it at take-off and landing.

Good luck--

At 10:43 AM -0500 11/10/08, Ceceley Chambers wrote:
Content-class: urn:content-classes:message
Content-Type: multipart/alternative;

The best advice I got about traveling with toddlers is the present 
idea:  You get a bunch of little toys, books, small activity set type 
things and wrap them.  As the trip progresses you give her one toy to 
unwrap and play with, and as gets bored with one item you give her a 
new item to unwrap!  This worked so well for my daughter when she was 
that age and it still works when they get older (the last time we 
traveled she was 4 and it still worked beautifully).  Also, you don't 
necessarily have to buy new things, you might even be able to take 
some of her older toys that she doesn't play with as much and wrap 
those.  The fun is in the unwrapping and discovery.

As for the harness, I have always frowned upon them for many reasons- 
but the main one being that it really doesn't gave her that much more 
freedom.  I always found that a back-carrier or stroller and lots of 
snacks worked well for us as we walked around the airport and pointed 
out all of the new and exciting things.

Good luck!


Ceceley Chambers
Harvard Divintity School

-----Original Message-----
From: parentsgroup-list-bounces at lists.hcs.harvard.edu on behalf of 
Judith Scott-Clayton
Sent: Mon 11/10/2008 9:45 AM
To: parentsgroup-list at lists.hcs.harvard.edu
Subject: [Parentsgroup-list] toddler traveling - harness pros/cons?

Dear group,

We're taking our 18-month old on a big adventure for thanksgiving 
involving two 3-hr flights with a layover in between.  From what I 
understand from other parents, 18 months is a rough age for traveling 
and I have to admit we're a bit worried as she really doesn't want to 
sit still for any length of time.

Two separate but related questions:

1. We're considering looking for one of those harness-y type things 
so that Astrid can have some degree of freedom to run around the 
airport without straying too far.  I've seen these in use before but 
have never actually talked to anyone who's used one. Are they 
inhumane?  Thoughts? Better ideas?  It's difficult to imagine how one 
actually gets the child in the harness, given that right now it's a 
struggle to get her in the stroller or even the backpack, but maybe 
kids like it?

2. Any other miracle tips for plane travel with 18-month old who 
doesn't want to sit still?  Or is it just a matter of "grin & bear 
it" until we get to our destination?

Advice appreciated,


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