Flying with kids this Christmas

Preparation is half the battle, so make sure that you have the essentials close at hand such as baby monitors, nappies and plenty of babygrows, along with your travel documentation.

As new parents, you’ll be on a constant learning curve as you adjust to doing just about everything for a another little person. Preparation is half the battle, so making sure that you have the essentials close at hand such as baby monitors, nappies and plenty of babygrows, along with your travel documentation, is key.

When it comes to travelling with your new arrival, it can be difficult to know how to prepare both yourself and your child for what could potentially be a very long flight.

Everyone needs a passport to fly out of the UK

You will need to get your child’s first passport as soon as you want them to travel outside of the country. By whichever the means you are travelling, car, plane or ferry, if there are border controls you will need identification.

The exemption to this rule is flying to another country within the UK, such as Scotland or Northern Ireland. While you do not need a passport specifically to fly to these countries, you are required to provide some identification. The passport is considered the most convenient.

Check with your airline what forms of ID they accept if you are unsure.

A child passport lasts for five years

Independant passports advice service, Passports Office caution ‘‘you should make sure that you receive your child’s passport before booking flights.’’

Before the 5th October 1998, a child was able to travel on a parent (or guardian)’s passport. This is no longer possible.

UK child passports last for five years. This is because your child’s face will change quickly over the first years of their life and the passport needs to look as much like them as feasible.

Once your child reaches eighteen, or as soon as their child passport runs out after their eighteenth birthday, they will be able to get an adult passport. Every UK adult passport lasts for ten years.

Babies have to be at least two days old to fly

Most airlines should be happy for your baby to fly at just two days old. However, there is no legal requirement for them to allow your child on the plane so soon after their birth.

Some airlines require your child to be at least two weeks old before flying. So always check with your booking agent, or airline when purchasing your flights, to make sure what their policy is.

But even if your airline allows your child to travel from two days old, it may not be such a good idea to travel with your newborn at such an early age.

In fact, some parents choose not to fly with their infants until after the first month of their life. Due in no small part to the fact that your baby is more vulnerable to germs, and as such more prone to infection, during this time.

Children over two years old need their own seat

Many airlines require you to purchase a ticket for your baby when flying, even if they are going to be seated on your lap during the flight.

Once your child has reached two years old, or is large enough to sit on their own (with the aid of a car seat) you will need to purchase them a seat on the plane. This is not only for your comfort during the flight but, more importantly, your child’s safety.

Most car seats are approved for use on airplanes, but you should always check the label or the manufacturer if you aren’t sure. Alternatively, consider renting or buying a travel cot to give your child a safe and familiar space to travel in.

Prevent ear popping by feeding during takeoff and landing

For babies, children, even some adults, the sensation of their ears popping as the cabin pressure changes can be uncomfortable or painful.

So to help ease your baby’s discomfort you should breastfeed or bottle feed during takeoff and landing. This will help your child’s ears to adjust.

Your child will have their own routine for sleeping and meal times but try to time their time with your flight for their and your own happiness. Have some entertainment pieces for your journey such as toys or games, as your child gets old, and make sure that they stay hydrated.

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