Taking a infant on a aircraft is miscellaneous that many parents technique with trepidation—with good reason. 

Babies and air travel have the right to both be unpredictable, and they don"t constantly mix well. Yet some advanced planning and also preparation can help make for a far better experience for your baby, because that you, and also for anyone else on the plane.

​In this article, the American Academy the Pediatrics (AAP) answers some usual questions you might have prior to traveling with your baby and offers tips because that a smoother and safer flight.


When is my infant old enough to paris on one airplane?

Generally, that is discouraged for babies to fly unnecessarily soon after birth. Waiting travel rises a newborn"s danger of catching an transmittable disease. Babies born prematurely, with chronic love or lung problems, or with upper or reduced respiratory symptoms may additionally have problems with the adjust in oxygen level in ~ the wait cabin. Parents have to talk with their child"s pediatrician before flying.

If there is a measles outbreak in your area, or you setup on traveling somewhere where there is a measles outbreak, your pediatrician may recommend your baby obtain an extra dose of the MMR vaccine. This may be given as at an early stage as 6 month of age. Learn an ext here.

​Does my baby need a passport for worldwide travel?

Yes. Every U.S. Citizens, including infants, need a present passport to travel internationally. Parents or guardians need to use with their infant in human being using the form DS-11. Be sure to lug your baby"s birth certificate and a picture taken within the last 6 months. Passport photos must be taken with nobody rather in the photo, which deserve to be tricky through infants. To execute this safely if her baby can"t sit increase yet, the U.S. Room of State recommends laying her baby ~ above her earlier on a white ceiling or sheet to ensure head support without having actually to hold her. One more option is extending a vehicle seat v a plain white sheet and taking a snapshot of your son while she sit in it.

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What around domestic flights?

​A valid passport is typically the only identification her baby will have to fly on a residential flight, unless you require to present proof of age for a discounted boy fare. Examine with your airline prior to you leave. 

Note: children under age 18 will not be required to acquire a Real ID. 


Should my baby sit on mine lap during the flight?

Ideally, no. The FAA doesn"t call for a ticket for kids under the age of 2 years, yet that means your baby will certainly be on her lap. If over there is turbulence, or worse, you may not be able to protect your baby in her arms. If you carry out not buy a ticket for her child, ask if her airline will allow you to use an empty seat. If your airline"s policy enables this, stop the busiest days and times to increase the likelihood of detect an empty seat beside you.

The safest way for infant to fly:

The AAP recommends the the safest way for your baby to fly is in a child security restraint―an FAA-approved auto seat or airplane harness device approved for your child"s age and also size mounted with the airplane"s chair belt. Booster seat cannot be provided on airplanes.


Should I carry our car seat ~ above the aircraft with us? Does the count as luggage?


Car seats, booster seats, and strollers usually don"t count together luggage, however policies vary by airline; examine with yours prior to flying. In most cases they have the right to be checked at the gate, where the hazard of damage is lower, at no cost. If her baby has actually his or she own airplane seat, carry your automobile seat v you.

​Not all automobile seats space certified for usage in airplanes. 

Make certain a brand on the vehicle seat says: "This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and also aircraft."


Which chair on the airplane is best for a baby?


Look because that rows ~ above the aircraft with more space, like the bulkhead. Exit rows space out, for safety reasons.


Is there a method my baby have the right to lie down flat on lengthy flights?

Buckling your baby into a automobile seat or security restraint continues to be the most safe option. However, there are other options obtainable to aid baby sleep comfortably, specifically on long-haul flights.

Airline bassinets. Some airlines market airline bassinets attached to the airplane bulkhead wall―the wall behind the galley, or bathrooms or an additional cabin. In some premium cabins, they deserve to be built into the chair compartment.to usage in bulkhead rows. Many airline bassinets need the baby to be under 6 month old and/or 20 pounds, and also not yet able come sit up unassisted. This bassinets are sometimes referred to as "skycots," baskets, and cots. Inspect with her airline when booking.

Sleeper seat. For an included fee, some international airlines permit you book three seats in a row with locking chair extensions, creating a "sky couch" or sleeper-seat big enough because that both parent and child.

Inflatable seat extensions. Part airlines permit you lug your very own inflatable, separation, personal, instance seat extension for her baby come snooze on lied down. These space fairly new products, and not all airlines permit them to be used, so check ahead that time. Your boy will need his or her very own seat to use one.

Note: because that all options above, your baby would certainly still should be buckled right into a auto seat or hosted on her lap throughout takeoff, turbulence, and also landing.

Safe sleep techniques still apply on the airplane. 

If her baby sleeps on her lap throughout the flight: stay alert and check on your baby often. Make certain he or she can breathe easily, and her challenge is uncovered.

If her baby sleeps on another device during the flight: check that the is firm and flat, v no soft bedding.


Will I be able to get liquid formula or expressed chest milk with security?

Yes, however you have to follow the reasonable quantities rules. This method you"re exempt from the 3-1-1 rule limiting liquids to 3.4 ounces.

Pack formula, express breastmilk, or water because that mixing through powder separately and be ready to permit the TSA recognize you have it. You might ask that they not go through the x-ray maker (although this shouldn"t reason a wellness problem). Visit the TSA website for much more information. 

Any tips for maintaining my baby comfortable and also content ~ above the plane?

Keep in mind the sleeping babies are much easier for everyone. If possible, take trip at a time when your baby normally sleeps, or consider trying to placed off a nap until it"s time to fly. Trip delays can reason this to backfire if your tired baby decides come scream instead of sleep. However it may be precious a try.


​Do not usage diphenhydramine, or Benadryl, to assist your baby sleep without talk to your doctor. 

This medication deserve to have serious side effects, especially if recurring doses are given on long flights. If you acquire the go-ahead and appropriate dose from her doctor, try it at house first. Some youngsters react come the medicine by getting more awake rather of sleepy.

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Don"t allow the glares get to you. Despite the best progressed planning and efforts, babies cry sometimes. Understand that girlfriend did, and are doing, every you can. At that point, among the best ways you can calm her baby may be to remain calm yourself. And remember that for every human being who is glaring in ~ you, there space plenty of people who have actually been with it themselves and also have several sympathy.

Ask for help. Species for her airline to assist you if you need help making a connecting flight. Transferring a child safety restraint, your baby, and luggage v a busy airport deserve to be challenging.

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About Dr. McCarthy:


Claire McCarthy, MD, FAAP is a primary treatment pediatrician at Boston Children"s Hospital, one Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard clinical School, a senior editor because that Harvard wellness Publications, and an main spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics. She writes around health and parenting for the Harvard wellness Blog, Huffington Post, and countless other online and also print publications.