Holding Babies on your lap – You will be required to hold children under 2 on your lap during take-off and landing whether or not they are eligible for a bassinet on the plane. The airline will provide you with an extendable safety belt which attaches to your own one and loops around your child’s waist.
Airline Bassinets – Many airlines will offer a bassinet for babies under the age of 10 months/ 10 kilos (this varies from airline to airline so check your airlines policy in advance of booking). You will be provided with a seat at the front of your cabin and the bassinet is attached securely to the bulkhead of the plane. Airlines will generally not allow you to reserve a bassinet and most of the time they will be provided, if available, on a first come, first served basis. If possible, book a night flight if you are taking a long haul trip as your child will be able to sleep soundly and there is a zip up cover which prevents him or her from falling out in the event of sudden turbulence. If the seat belt light comes on you will be required to remove your child from the bassinet and hold him or her in your lap using the extendable safety belt. This can be very disruptive but is an unavoidable safety regulation.
Car Seats – If you opt to purchase a seat for babies you can choose to use your car seat on most airlines. This is particularly good for younger babies and allows them to sleep while on the flight. Check our airlines policy page for further information.
Child Restraints – Most airlines stipulate that children over the age of 2 will need to have their own seat. In this case you can either use the seat belt on the airline or you can use the CARES Child Aviation Restraint System which is designed specifically for aviation use for children age 1 and older who weigh between 22 and 44 pounds. Certain airlines will provide you with this or a similar device or you can opt to buy it if you wish.
If you have a wriggly toddler then make sure that he or she does not sit in a aisle seat as curious children can be injured by service trolleys and passengers walking around on the plane. Also, ensure that your child does not go to the toilet alone as sudden turbulence might cause a fall for unsteady legs.
Using Taxis – Many countries offer an exemption to taxi drivers when it comes to using car seats however, you can pre book taxis with a car seat in most countries. If a taxi or rental company is to provide the car seat inspect it before use and make sure that it has not been in an accident previously as this could make it less effective. Also make sure that it is a reputable model; a quick google search should tell you this. Some taxi drivers may start to drive off before your baby is securely fastened into the seat so stand your ground and ask them to wait until you are finished.
Seat Belt Vests – A seat belt vest is useful for toddlers in taxis trains and buses where they are too small for the seat belt provided. They provide upper body restraint and some impact protection in case of accident however nothing will protect your child as well as a car seat. The Rider Safety Travel Vest (is suitable for kids aged 3 and over and provides extra protection in case of an accident. It is used in conjunction with a lap belt (and booster seat if the child requires one – see below for travel booster seat ideas).
Booster Seats – You could also bring a Booster seat such as the The Trunki boost-a-Pak which is not just a booster seat, it’s also a backpack which makes it perfect for travel. It is suitable for kids aged 4-11.You can buy them from the Trunki website. Inflatable, portable booster seat for cars are suitable for older kids. Bubblebum sell portable, lightweight, brightly coloured, inflatable car booster seat for children aged between 4 and 11 easily deflates and folds flat. Unfortunately there are no similar products for younger children.
Car seat luggage straps are a fantastic way to get through the airport if you are bringing a car seat. The car seat attaches to a roller suitcase and you can push your baby (up to a weight of 40 lbs) in the seat. The Go-Go Babyz Travelmate Car Seat Luggage Strap can be used with any car seat and can be attached to suitcases on rollers that are 13 – 20 inches in size.Go-go Babyz have some fantastic travel products, see the Go-Go Babyz website for their full range.
Travel window shades are also useful if you will be travelling by car a lot, particularly in a hot country. Clippasafe Roller Blinds are available from Amazon.
Please see our individual destination sections for country specific information on car seats and renting car safety equipment.
At the Hotel
Childproofing – Look around the room for anything dangerous and decide if child proofing is required. Travel childproofing kits may also be useful if you will be staying in accommodation where there are dangers to toddlers but remember, European countries will sell these products so you could always take a wait and see approach and decide if your accommodation needs safety proofing once you arrive.
Hotel Cots – The cots offered by 4 and 5 star hotels are usually good quality travel cots with sheets and a baby duvet or blanket on them. Make sure to check first to see if a hotel has a crib before booking. (most online booking sites will say whether cots are available). When hotel staff set up a travel cot make sure that it is done correctly as if it is not it could buckle when you put your child in. Also, check the crib is generally clean and safe by moving it around a bit and if it is not right ask for another.
Hotel Babysitters – If you plan on using child care facilities make sure that you enquire about the child care providers references, experience and police vetting results. Please see Using Hotel Babysitting Services for more information.
ID Bracelets – If you are going to busier locations it might be a good idea to put an identity bracelet on your toddler just in case he or she wanders off. Ladybird ID bracelet which is available in Boots. This ID Strap is a neat Velcro wrist band which incorporates a folded information card for contact details and medical information. You can put these on your child’s wrist or ankle.
Harness – You may also opt to buy a baby harness to prevent your child from wandering off. These are attached to your child’s body by a harness and you can then hold a rein which allows your child to walk alone and to have a degree of mobility while ensuring that they do not get away from you. Boots Padded Baby Harness with Safety Reins are safe and comfortable for your child to wear (€14.99/£1150). Jojo Maman Bebe adjustable safety reigns are available for £5.00 or a wrist link rein for £6.00. This will give you peace of mind when you’re out and about, particularly in busy towns and cities.
Seeking Medical Care & Medical Insurance
Bring the phone number of your child’s GP. If you are going to a tropical area or to a country with mosquito borne diseases or if your child has any specific medical issues, talk to your GP in advance of your trip to find out what precautions you should take.
You should also visit the NHS ‘Fit for Travel’ website to get up to date health information regarding the country you are visiting.
If you are travelling within the EU make sure you have your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which will allow you to access the local public health services at the same rate as the nationals of the country you are visiting. If you are travelling outside of the EU make sure you have up to date travel insurance for the whole family which covers medical care.
Make sure to bring a list of all your child’s immunizations and if you are travelling to an area where malaria and also tropical diseases are present, make sure you protect your baby from insect bites.
Other Safety Tips
Bath Safety – Another safety product that you might consider bringing is a portable, inflatable bath tub. These are particularly useful for smaller babies who are not yet used to the bath. They fold away and can be packed easily. Tiny Tots Baby Infant Travel Inflatable Bath Tubs are available from Amazon and the Munchkin Inflatable Safety Duck Bath, which is suitable for babies aged 6 months plus can be purchased at Jojo Maman Bebe.