Is it safe for a baby to travel by air? If you’re thinking to take your infant along when you travel by air, here’s good news: infant travel by air is appropriate most of the time. However, there are a few things you must consider before go on a holiday with your little one to ensure his or her safety at all times. Unlike adults, infants do not have the ability yet to adapt to various environments like airplane cabins.
Here is a guide for traveling with an infant and the important factors that can help you plan your air travel with your baby:
How to plan an air travel with your baby
1. The age of your baby
Most pediatricians advise against air travel of infants below six weeks of age, unless necessary. Babies in that age range are prone to germs that spread in the sealed cabin of an airplane. And, as you may already know, germs can cause diseases especially to younger babies because of their generally weak immune defenses.
2. The breathing of your baby
Pressurized airplane cabins contain less amounts of oxygen than other environments, thus causing irregular breathing in infants, as some studies suggest. However, this should not be a problem with healthy babies. If your infant has a respiratory issue, don’t worry because this problem can be easily solved. Your pediatrician may recommend supplemental oxygen to make up for the lack of oxygen in an enclosed cabin.
3. The ears of your baby
Do you remember you first ever ride in an airplane? Most likely, you experienced some sort of earache. Now, consider how worse air travel can be to the ears of your newborn. Ear pain happens when the pressure in the middle ear temporarily changes due to varying cabin pressure during air travel. Making your baby suck on a pacifier or baby bottle when the plane takes off and lands can make him or her feel better. It is because such sucking action helps balance the pressure in the ears of your baby.
Before you travel by air with your baby, visit your pediatrician first to check your baby for infection in the ears or upper respiratory tract. These conditions may cause discomfort to your baby during the flight, so if he or she has it, better postpone your trip until they are cured. However, if your baby only has a minor case of ear pain, the doctor may prescribe a medication to relieve the pain.
4. Infant safety seat
Some airlines permit their passengers to carry a baby on their lap during the flight. However, a safe infant travel calls for a properly secured safety seat for your baby. If you already use an infant car seat, that will do because most car seats are approved for travel by air. It is advised that you choose a bulkhead seat in the airplane that provides extra space for your baby to move around comfortably. You can take your baby out of his or her seat for occasional breaks and nursing, as long as these are approved in the cabin by the airline crew.