Travel Safely with Children

With a page title like Health and Safety you can imagine one would easily write a book not just a single page.  Here is a short list of some great advice to remove some of the uncertainly parents may feel about traveling with small children.  Success is a blend of planning, common sense and some good tips from other parents who have gone through it.  The truth is that very little extra work is involved and you can be relaxed and confident by taking just a few sensible precautions.  Be sure to take your medical insurance cards and inquire what  Some other safety tips about money can be found on the Money page.  For two sites that have fantastic advice here’s a travel checklist tool from the CDC – Center of Disease Control and another link from the American Pediatric Association.

  • Airplane Safety Tips for Small Children

    Until a child grows to 40 lbs or more, they need to be secure in a FAA-approved car safety seat appropriate for age, weight and height of the child.  Many booster seats are not approved so check here for the one you want.

    Children under 2 can be held in your lap.  For a long haul flight, we recommend that you book a seat for the infant and use an approved car safety seat.

    Older children should be supervised by an adult at all times.  Do not let a small child wander the aisles of the aircraft where they could encounter a hazard of some kind.

    Children should have shoes on if they walk with you around the aircraft to protect their feet from broken glass or other sharp objects.

    Do not have a small child in an aisle seat.  If their arms or legs are exposed they can get injured by drink/meal carts or adults using the aisle.

    Consult your pediatrician if you are traveling within two weeks of having an ear ache.  Ear discomfort due to pressure changes during takeoff and landing can be mitigated by drinking from a bottle, drinking with a straw or chewing gum.

    Take all child medications or dietary items in a carry-on.  You may need them and you don’t want them to get sidetracked by a flight delay or as lost luggage.  Bring copies of prescriptions and special instructions for any condition that you may need to communicate.

    Wipe down your seat area with a disinfectant wipe.  Airlines seats are notorious for being full of germs.  Wipe the tray table, entertainment screen and remote, the arm rests, window shade.

    At least one restroom is equipped with a changing table.  Do not attempt to change diapers at your seat!!

  • Accommodations Safety Tips for Small Children

    Ask before you leave home whether baby proofing equipment is available at your hotel or apartment. Many hotels and resorts offer childproofing supplies along with cribs and highchairs.  I would bring some of my own in any case.

    Create your own baby proofing kit.  This might include a toilet lid latch and pipe cleaners for ties up loose electrical or drapery cords. Masking tape can cover European electrical outlets and secure most anything.  Fold up some netting for hotel balconies.   See the Marketplace for an elastic table edge cover.

    Inspect the room on your hands and knees upon arrival.  Look for pills, tacks, staples … any small potentially hazardous item.  Remove any hotel provided toiletries or plastic bags that could be dangerous.

    Move furniture away from windows.  If your children are old enough to give instructions, make clear that jumping on the beds or on other furniture is strictly forbidden.
    Make the minibar off limits.

    If you have a hotel crib, make sure it’s manufactured after 1986. Make sure it’s set up correctly. Remove any loose blankets or pillows. Locate the crib away from any lamp cords or curtain cords.

    Unfamiliar bathrooms may surprise you.  Always check the temperature of bath water. Never ever leave a child unattended in the bath.

    As toddlers are the most commonly aged children injured by televisions, check the TV to be sure it’s secure or pushed back toward the wall.  Children should be instructed not to pull on the TV cord or anything about the TV.  Make sure cords are tucked behind the TV. This goes for older children as well.


  • Car Rental  Safety Tips

    Use the same rules in Europe as you do in the United States.  Always use a car safety seat for infants and young children. All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car safety seat until 2 years of age or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by the car safety seat manufacturer. Once your child has outgrown the rear-facing height or weight limit, she should ride in a forward-facing car safety seat. Updated recommendations on safe travel can be found on the American Association of Pediatricians  parenting web site:

    Although it can run up quite a bill, most large rental car companies can arrange for a car safety seat if you are unable to bring yours along.  Plus, they may have a limited selection of seats. Check that the seat they provide is appropriate for the size and age of your child, that it appears to be in good condition.  Having the instruction manual would be good.  The best option is to bring your own FAA-approved seat and use it on the plane as well.

    All children under 13 years of age should ride in the rear seat of vehicles.


  • Elevator Safety

    Keep fingers away from elevator doors.

    If a child gets on an elevator accidentally without a parent, teach them how to go to the Lobby and to the Front Desk to ask for help.

    Teach them to never leave the elevator with a stranger and go to their room.

    Discuss what to do if you get stuck in an elevator. Press the emergency button.  Never play games with the button.