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Tips for Traveling With Baby
Armin Brott

Dear Mr. Dad: Weapostrophere about to take our first plane trip together as a family. Any tips for traveling with a baby?

A: Of course! Hereapostrophes what I suggest:

  • Get to the airport early. Going through security with a baby can be a real adventure. Youapostrophell have to fold up the stroller to put it through the x-ray machine and in most cases youapostrophell have to carry the baby through the metal detectors. And be prepared: if you set off any alarms, the security people may pat your baby down too.

  • Use your stroller to haul your carry-ons, car seat and other stuff and carry the baby in a front-pack or sling along. Most airlines will let you check the stroller at the gate.

  • Try to get bulkhead seats (usually the first row)-they generally offer a little more room, and you wonapostrophet have to worry that your child will kick the seat of the people in front of you. Also, ask to be seated next to an empty seat if possible. Be sure to hold your absolutely adorable baby in your arms while youapostrophere asking-this can improve your chances of getting what you want.

  • Donapostrophet board early. Instead, send your partner on with the carry-on stuff while you stay out in the lounge, letting the kids run themselves ragged until the last minute. Why spend any more time cooped up in the airplane than you absolutely have to?

  • If youapostrophere going on a long trip and your child is particularly restless or active, schedule a stopover or two to give you all a chance to get off the plane, stretch, and run around.

  • Every child under two years old should suck on something-breast, bottle, or pacifier-on the way up and the way down. This will counteract the pressurization and reduce the chances of painful earaches. It may also make your baby a little drowsier.

  • Make sure your child drinks a lot on board and try to keep his nasal passages moist. Airplane travel can dry out your babyapostrophes (and your) mucous membranes, making him more susceptible to colds or sinus infections.

  • Buy your baby his own seat. Yes, itapostrophes more expensive, but holding a baby on your lap for a few hours, especially in a packed plane, can be a real pain. Itapostrophes also not nearly as safe as having the baby neatly secured in a car-seat.

  • Check as many bags as you can, but take one carry-on thatapostrophes stocked with diapers, wipes, an extra outfit or two, and enough toys for the journey (one per hour, including the hour or two youapostrophell be waiting at the airport).

A nationally recognized parenting expert, Armin Brott is the author of The New Father: A Dadapostrophes Guide to the First Year, Father for Life, The Expectant Father: Facts, Tips, and Advice for Dads-to-Be; A Dadapostrophes Guide to the Toddler Years, Throwaway Dads, and The Single Father: A Dadapostrophes Guide to Parenting without a Partner. He has written on parenting and fatherhood for the New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, Newsweek and dozens of other periodicals. He also hosts "Positive Parenting", a nationally distributed, weekly talk show, and lives with his family in Oakland, California. Visit Armin at