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

Jennifer Roloff Welch roloffje at gmail.com
Mon Nov 10 11:30:06 EST 2008

Dear Judy,
I have traveled several times by plane with my little girl who is now almost
three years old.

About the harness: I got my daughter a little monkey backpack/harness from
Walmart, which worked perfectly to be able to grab onto the little "tail" so
she could be walking on her own, but I could have a hold of her in case
there was lots of pedestrian traffic (at the airport). She also loved the
backpack idea, and I put special little new toys in the little zipper
part---surprises which she could pull out along the trip. I highly recommend
this backpack/harness for peace of mind and to let the little one explore
without giving you a panic attack. When the tail/handle is not needed, I
just tuck it in the backpack itself, and then it just looks like a backpack.
I've also used it at the apple orchard where there were lots of people
walking around. I don't see anything inhumane about it, and the one I got
just looks like a regular backpack...it doesn't hurt and it's not used to
pull her around, only to grab hold if she gets too far away. She also loved
to be able to walk on her own without my holding her hand or pushing her in
the stroller. And since I was wearing a backpack too, she enjoyed having the
"same-same" as Mom.

I also recommend "various other doodads" as A. does below---little new
toys, gadgets that your child hasn't seen before, that will capture her
interest during the flight.
And drinking or sucking a pacifier or thumb during take-off and landing is
very important for their little ears.
Best wishes!
On Mon, Nov 10, 2008 at 8:21 AM, Andrea Heberlein <heberlein at wjh.harvard.edu
> wrote:

> Seconding the present idea-- I took a couple of 13-hour flights with my s=
> 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 le=
> 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 n=
> 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--
> A.
> At 10:43 AM -0500 11/10/08, Ceceley Chambers wrote:
> Content-class: urn:content-classes:message
> Content-Type: multipart/alternative;
>        boundary=3D"----_=3D_NextPart_001_01C9434B.1CC40446"
> 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 sti=
> 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 pl=
> 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
> Ceceley Chambers
> MDiv II
> 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 involvi=
> 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 th=
> 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 ide=
>  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 t=
> 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 g=
> to our destination?
> Advice appreciated,
> Judy
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-- =

Jennifer Roloff Welch
Advanced Doctoral Candidate
Harvard Graduate School of Education
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