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Flying With a Baby

Updated on July 11, 2019
Bob Schroeder profile image

I love to travel with my family, but I have discovered that flying with a baby can be very stressful if you are not fully prepared.

Airline travel with children can be difficult and confusing

Get it right or ruin your trip.

What in the world does that mean???

It means that taking the time to plan your airline trip will save you a great deal of grief and insure that you and your family will enjoy each other and the vacation you have planned. Take them to beautiful places, fun places and interesting places, all with a minimum of stress.

One of the first rules to remember when traveling with your family is this, "they are still passengers" and are subject to the same rules and regulations as their parents. What does this mean?

  • A their luggage will be scanned and possibly searched
  • Everyone MUST go through the scanning device
  • Liquids are subject to the same rules as the parent
  • Formula or mother's milk can be in containers larger than 3.4 oz,(but only if declared before screening)

Be Prepared For Airline Travel With Small Kids are passengers too are passengers too | Source

The first step in travelling with your baby, book your flight

Booking the flight for your family

You have to book the flight for your entire family regardless of everyone's age. Make sure you check with your airline about the child's ticket. Here is a good rule of thumb:

  • Children over 2 years of age must have their own seat purchased
  • Under 2 may be held in your lap, but a seat is suggested
  • The airline may be unable to make a reservation for a baby traveling as a lapchild

Even on an International flight, everyone must have a ticket regardless of age!!!

Don't get caught offguard, check with the airline before hand and get all the information you can,

When You Have To Travel With an Infant

Do you prefer to fly or go by car

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What About Luggage



They will be allowed the same amount of luggage as you, if you have purchased a ticket for them. Some airlines will allow you to check the first bag for free and then charge for each bag thereafter, some credit cards (that you use to purchase the ticket) have arrangements for you to check the first bag for free. Each airline is different, so please check before you book your ticket.


Each ticketed person can take one carry on item and one personal item (ie. purse, small backpack or briefcase). Additional items can be: approved safety seat for lap or ticketed child, umbrella stroller for lap or ticketed infant, diaper bag.


This can be another major problem when traveling alone or when traveling with family. Get there too late, security lines too long, problem with luggage and BINGO you might just miss your flight. Here are a couple of rules of thumb that most airlines follow:

When travel is completely within the U.S., recommended check-in time is at least 90 minutes prior to departure when checking baggage, and at least 60 minutes prior to departure if not checking baggage.

NEVER EVER check in with less than 30 minutes before departure time, your seat can be given away and you will be "out of luck". Always make certain that you are at the gate ready for boarding 15 minutes prior to departure.

Your Child Has Many Items Of Their Own

I have found that packing for my little ones is every bit as hard as packing for myself.

They have to have their special socks, favorite jeans or the one and only shirt that they love.

Allowing them to select a piece of special luggage and letting them help you pack their bag, will result in a much smoother trip, because they will feel more a part of the process.

Luggage of their own makes the child feel important and more ready to fly

Note To Self

Plan, plan, plan

Make sure I have all the information I need for the flight

Get games etc. for the flight

Don't let my child get bored!

Security Security Security

The TSA Agents have rules to follow and regulations that dictate their actions. When traveling with a child, you should always "stay calm", "be cool" and remember, these people are doing their jobs to protect you.


They will never ask you to do anything that will separate you from your child. The Security Officers are specially trained and they understand your concerns. They will approach your children gently and treat them with respect.

This is the time where you must "be cool". If your child becomes uncomfortable or upset, they will consult you about the best way to relieve their concern. And keep this in mind....everyone, including must go through the screening process. If they can walk, it is best if they walk through on their own, if not, then you can carry them through the scanner.

Have your tickets and other documents out and ready for the TSA Agent to check. If traveling with another adult, one of you keep track of the documents and the other keep track of the children.

Don't You Just Love Little Kids

Don't forget diapers and baby food
Don't forget diapers and baby food | Source

Liquids Can Be A Problem


The following information comes from the WWW.TSA.GOV website, it's kind of long but reading and understanding this will get you and your children through the process much quicker.

TSA and our security partners conducted extensive explosives testing since August 10, 2006 and determined that liquids, aerosols and gels, in limited quantities, are safe to bring aboard an aircraft. The one bag limit per traveler limits the total amount each traveler can bring. Consolidating the bottles into one bag and X-raying them separately from the carry-on bag enables security officers to quickly clear the items.

3-1-1 for carry-ons = 3.4 ounce (100ml) bottle or less (by volume) ; 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; 1 bag per passenger placed in screening bin. One-quart bag per person limits the total liquid volume each traveler can bring. 3.4 ounce (100ml) container size is a security measure.

Be prepared.

Each time TSA searches a carry-on it slows down the line. Practicing 3-1-1 will ensure a faster and easier checkpoint experience.

3-1-1 is for short trips. If in doubt, put your liquids in checked luggage.

Declare larger liquids. Medications, baby formula and food, and breast milk are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding three ounces and are not required to be in the zip-top bag. Declare these items for inspection at the checkpoint.

All liquids, gels and aerosols must be in 3.4 ounce (100ml) or smaller containers. Larger containers that are half-full or toothpaste tubes rolled up are not allowed. Each container must be 3.4 ounces (100ml) or smaller.

Important Information on Traveling With Formula, Breast Milk, and Juice

Now, a mother flying without her child will be able to bring breast milk through the checkpoint, provided it is declared prior to screening.

TSA is also modifying the rules associated with carrying breast milk through security checkpoints.

Mothers flying with, and now without, their child will be permitted to bring breast milk in quantities greater than three ounces as long as it is declared for inspection at the security checkpoint.

Breast milk is in the same category as liquid medications.

When carrying formula, breast milk, or juice through the checkpoint, they will be inspected, however, you or your infant or toddler will not be asked to test or taste breast milk, formula, or juice. Our Security Officers may test liquid exemptions (exempt items more than 3 ounces) for explosives.

When traveling with your infant or toddler, in the absence of suspicious activity or items, greater than 3 ounces of baby formula, breast milk, or juice are permitted through the security checkpoint in reasonable quantities for the duration of your itinerary, if you perform the following:

Separate these items from the liquids, gels, and aerosols in your quart-size and zip-top bag.

Declare you have the items to one of our Security Officers at the security checkpoint.

Present these items for additional inspection once reaching the X-ray. These items are subject to additional screening.

You are encouraged to travel with only as much formula, breast milk, or juice in your carry-on needed to reach your destination.

You are allowed to bring gel or liquid-filled teethers, canned, jarred, or processed baby food in your carry-on baggage and aboard your plane.

Liquids and gels, including baby formula, breast milk, or juice, may be packed in your luggage and checked with your airline.

After clearing security, travelers can now bring beverages and other items purchased in the secure boarding area on-board aircraft.

Travel Documents Need to Be Safe

Have you ever spent LONG LONG minutes digging through your luggage trying to find your passports or other important documents. The fear and panic can almost be overwhelming!!!! Keep your important papers safe and within easy reach.

You can find many document holders that go around your neck for easy access to all your travel tickets and documents.

If you get in line and can't find what you need, it is very embarrassing and can result in you missing your flight.

Bored Children Are Not Fun

When you are packing the carry on for your little ones, don't forget to bring something to occupy them in the terminal and on the airplane.

More rules of thumb:

How about packing them a snack, food can keep them quite and happy

If they have favorite toys, dolls or blankets, bring them along

Others do well with activity books, portable DVD players or video games (with headphones)

The old saying, "a little planning goes a long way" certainly applies when you are planning a trip on an airline with your child or infant. Try to think of every possible thing that could go wrong, try to anticipate every disaster (a dirty diaper, when you don't have a replacement can ruin a trip), but most importantly....always remember, your baby can make or break your trip, do all that you can "TO GET IT RIGHT".




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