How to Travel With Infants or Toddlers Safely
Trying to travel with infants and toddlers can be a stressful process that poses unique difficulties. There are many factors to consider when traveling with your young child, including but not limited to: weather, the noise level of your location, travel time, where and when you can do things like feed or change diapers, and even germ exposure.
Whether you’re taking a family vacation, or taking your first trip out of the house with a new baby, there are ways that you can destress the process of traveling with a toddler or infant while keeping you and your child safe and happy.
Pack Essential Items
Having what you need for your child’s care readily available, no matter where you are, is the first step to achieving travel success with an infant or toddler. Knowing what you’re going to need ahead of time or packing several different bags can seem like an incredibly involved process. What you will need to bring will largely depend on your child’s needs and routines, but here are some basic essentials.
Tech Toys For Infants and Toddlers
Tech toys are easy ways to keep infants and toddlers occupied for longer periods of time. This can be helpful when waiting at an airport, in a doctor’s office, or for long car journeys. Tablets, where they can play games or watch movies and even battery-operated toys that light up or play music, are all good options. When packing these toys, try to be mindful of the other travelers that may be around you and your child; if possible, pack headphones or bring toys with volume control to avoid disrupting other passengers.
You can customize your emergency kit depending on the type of trip you’re taking, but it’s always a good idea to have one handy. Your kit should include bandaids, antibacterial ointment, children’s ibuprofen, and any other medical necessities, like an EpiPen or medical identification cards. You can also pack things like batteries for toys, extra pacifiers, sunscreen, and bug spray. These kits are easy to tuck into a diaper bag or suitcase, depending on their size. If you’re traveling by plane, you’ll want to be mindful of product sizes so you don’t have to leave anything behind.
Similar to emergency items, it’s a good idea to keep baby gear like diapers, wipes, and clean clothes on hand. All parents of young children know that sometimes bathroom accidents happen, and it’s not any fun for you or your child to have to sit in dirty clothes. You may also want to carry around hand sanitizer, in case there’s no soap and water around to keep hands clean.
No matter how long your trip is, keeping a snack on hand is always a good idea. Snacks can keep your child occupied, prevent blood sugar crashes which can affect their mood and energy, and even make them feel special. Here are some great snack options:
- Dried cereal;
- Fruit pouches;
- Cheese sticks;
- Fresh fruit and vegetable slices;
- Graham crackers;
- Hard-boiled eggs;
If you’re doing something new, like going on a plane for the first time, or something your child finds scary, such as a doctor’s appointment, you may want to keep a special treat — something like chocolate chips or yogurt-covered berries — to reward and encourage positive behavior.
Know Where to Stay
For vacations and other longer trips, you’ll want to choose the right place to stay. Hotels often offer convenience for families with infants or toddlers, as well as 24/7 security. You can also use standard hotel amenities to your advantage when traveling with a toddler or infant — for example, ice bucket bags can be used for diaper disposal to contain smells, and you can use the desk or ironing board as a makeshift changing table if your room doesn’t have one.
When traveling anywhere with infants or toddlers, organization is key. You’ll want to know where their diapers are when you need them, and the same goes for snacks, toys, and emergency items. A diaper bag or diaper caddy can help you keep your child’s items organized, and make accessing them a breeze. You can also give your toddler their own personal bag with a selection of snacks and toys, which can make them feel independent by having a responsibility that’s all their own.
Plan Activities in Advance
This can be specific, such as having a vacation itinerary, or more conceptual, such as simply gathering some ideas about how to keep your kids from getting bored while traveling. Great activities for toddlers and infants include:
- Making up a story or game together;
- Talking a walk or stroller ride;
- Doing a mess-free craft;
- Having a sensory box;
- Running a race together;
- Tracing patterns or shapes in furniture.
Something as simple as a change of scenery or a burst of movement can help keep your kids from feeling bored and becoming irritable or restless.
Traveling with infants or toddlers doesn’t have to be stressful. With a little preparation and by staying organized, you can make any trip a smoother experience.