Travelling by plane

Travelling by plane
Travelling by plane

Do you dream of going on vacation or visiting relatives who live abroad? Even if you have to follow certain rules, it is quite possible to travel by plane with a child.


To help you prepare for this trip, we present you some things to consider before you go.


Only newborn babies under seven days old are not accepted on board aircraft. Beyond this age, the carriers have no particular restrictions. It is still recommended to check with your airline to avoid unpleasant surprises. For example, it is recommended that a child be at least three weeks old for a transatlantic trip.

Free or not?

If you are traveling to Canada or the United States, most carriers will allow infants to travel for free provided they are seated on an adult's lap. For international flights, it is possible to obtain reduced fares which vary according to the airlines. To be more comfortable going to the bathroom regularly or walking the hallway with baby, choose a seat that overlooks the aisle or, even better, the first bench in a section, which will leave youmore room to move. Some airlines even have small bunks you can put a sleeping baby in!

An infant under the age of two for whom a seat has been reserved must be placed in a child restraint.


As of December 11, 2001, Canadian children – including newborns – who travel must have their own travel document. This policy was put in place to combat the illegal trafficking of millions of children around the world, who are often sold into slavery, child prostitution or worse. Ensuring that all children traveling have their own valid travel document that includes a photograph and other identifying information increases their protection. If you are a parent and hold a valid passport with your child's name on it, the travel document will remain valid for you and your child until its expiry date.


However, there are two exceptions. If your child intends to travel without you or if they reach the age of 16, they are required to have their own travel document. By visiting the Passport Canada website, you will be able to download the appropriate forms. It is also recommended to bring the birth certificate of the child, it does not take up much space and it can avoid confusion at customs. If only one parent is traveling with the child, provide a letter of authorization from the absent parent. The Ministry ofForeign Affairs provides a sample letter on its website.

Pregnant Women

A pregnant woman who has never given birth prematurely and whose pregnancy is progressing normally can travel up to the 36th week of her pregnancy. Still ask your carrier directly.

He alth

Even if baby is in good he alth, a pre-trip medical visit could be a good idea, especially if baby has not yet received the vaccines listed in his he alth record. In fact, a hepatitis A vaccine would be appropriate if you are traveling to a tropical country. However, the travel clinic does not vaccinate babies under one year old. Ask your doctor for advice, who is in the best position to direct you to the right place.

If your child has medication to take, make sure you have the original containers with the official prescription. This precaution can save you annoying trouble with the local authorities.

Before your departure, consult the reports en titled Travel Advice from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for very useful information on security, visas and he alth conditions in more of 200 destinations worldwide.



There are items you can leave in your luggage that are carried in the hold, but remember to keep the most practical items with you in hand luggage.


Beware of the safety rules that prohibit gel, liquid or aerosol containers of any kind over 100ml or 100g. These containers must be placed in checked baggage (in the hold) and not in your carry-on baggage. If such containers of more than 100ml of liquid are found in your carry-on or handbag, they will be seized at the search station, without compensation.

However, food for baby are allowed:

  • If you are traveling with a child under two years of age (0-24 months), baby food, milk, infant formula, water and juice in small containers in reasonable quantities for your trip. Cooler packs are also allowed;
  • Passengers traveling with or without children may carry quantities of breast milk exceeding 100ml provided they inform the screening officer, who will carry out a prior inspection. Cooler packs are also allowed.

Here are some handy items to bring on your travels with baby!

  • Snacks, purees in jars, juice, already diluted formula (if applicable).
  • Spare clothes
  • Wet Washcloths
  • Bottles, if needed
  • First aid kit (thermometer, acetaminophen, Oragel, zinc paste,)
  • Toys: For slightly older children, if possible buy a new toy to give them on the plane, which shouldhold his attention a little longer than a familiar toy.
  • Doudou
  • Inflatable mini pool: it doesn't take up much space in your luggage and it will allow you to wash your baby in your room and refresh it, in the shade, when you are under the parasol.
  • Backpack: for your trips, it is better to have a backpack to put everything you need in it than to have a bag with handles!
  • Bring enough diapers: paper diapers are not available everywhere and if they are, they are often expensive.

Note: Air Canada and Air Transat carry certain items free of charge in the baggage hold, such as car seats, baby seats, cribs and strollers. Each carrier has its own free policy, however, so check with yours before the day of departure.

Clogged ears

Just like adults, take-offs and landings often cause discomfort in children's sensitive ears due to changes in pressure. The only tip that really works is to have the child chew. Whether through breastfeeding, a bottle, a pacifier or food, swallowing helps unclog your ears. Giving a pacifier, breast or bottle especially during take off and landing will decrease the chances of blocked ears.


Several planes – but not all – have beds for babies under 25books. It must be requested at the time of reservation because these beds are in limited supply. The small bed will be installed in the aisle, at your side.

Before you leave, ask your doctor if your child can take Benadryl, an antihistamine that causes drowsiness and can help baby recover during travel. As this product should be used sparingly and the dose calculated according to the weight of the child, your doctor can tell you what to do. Some pediatricians advise against the use of antihistamines, as they can cause the opposite effect and make the child more restless. Nothing better than rocking the child in our arms while humming a little song!


Most airlines provide special meals for young children. Air Canada, for example, offers mashed potatoes for children under 2 years old and hamburgers, chicken fingers and sandwiches for children over 2 years old. It is necessary to mention when booking that you wish to have these meals. Plan ahead and bring your child's favorite snacks. He may not like what he is offered on the plane.


Even though motion sickness is more common after the age of three, babies can still show discomfort on planes or in cars. If he is old enough to eat, give him small amounts, but frequently, which will limit the effect of motion sickness.


Time difference

Toddlers are often less affected than adults by changes in time zones. But it also happens that baby is awake when he should be sleeping or that he is hungry at odd times. Ideally, you will have to play with his schedule, the time to adjust, on arrival and return, to the local schedule. By delaying bedtime or advancing a meal, for example, you can limit the inconvenience; however, allow a day or two before everyone is in tune with the country visited.


Reserve a good space in your luggage (hold) to bring bottled water, especially for babies. Many diseases, including hepatitis, are transmitted through local water and not all hotels offer bottled water. If baby is fed with milk preparations, favor already diluted preparations, it will make you less water to carry with you. If you are not using bottles with disposable bags, bring antibacterial dish soap to wash your bottles.


Your child should be exposed to the sun's rays as little as possible. He ABSOLUTELY needs a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses that you will find at the pharmacy (pay attention to the quality) or at an optometrist and bring a good quantity of SPF 30 sunscreen that you renew every 2-3 hours, even if the child is in the shade, because the sun reflects on sand, water, concrete, etc.


  • Several diseases such as hepatitisA and B, typhoid fever, tetanus, diphtheria, polio, malaria, meningitis, measles, rubella pose a serious threat to the unprotected traveler.
  • Consult a travel he alth clinic or your doctor 4 to 6 weeks before departure, so that the vaccine or immunizing agent has time to become active. It is particularly important to take this step if you want to bring a baby or young children: it may be necessary to make certain changes to their routine vaccination program and to plan certain additional vaccinations, in accordance with the recommendations of the Canadian Immunization Guide.
  • The Public He alth Agency of Canada is posting on its website information for travelers regarding the outbreak of certain diseases abroad.
  • For a list of travel he alth clinics, click here.

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