I’m travelling with an infant, is there anything I need to be aware of?
There are a number of considerations when travelling with an infant.
Before you go
It’s advisable to wait until your child has had all of their immunisation jabs before heading overseas. Some airlines may insist a newborn baby and mum, have a GP's note to say they are fit to fly before they will allow them on board. So do check with the airline before booking your tickets.
If you are travelling outside Western Europe, North America and Australasia always make sure that your baby has had the appropriate jabs for that destination. Always visit a health professional to get the appropriate advice and try to do so at least eight weeks before you travel.
Always take out travel insurance – infants under two are usually covered free of charge on a family policy but double check the small print of your policy.
Get a European Health Insurance Card [EHIC] card, which gives you access to free state medical care throughout the EU. You will need a separate one for each of your children.
Take a basic medicine chest with you including: eye and ear drops; oral replacement salts and motion sickness tablets. If you’re travelling in Europe most countries have excellent chemists, many of which are very good at diagnosing and prescribing treatments for minor ailments. In more remote destinations, these treatments may not be readily available.
Babies need their own passports – get one in plenty of time. If you apply at quiet times of the year, this can take less than two weeks from start to finish, but if you apply in the summer months as many people do, the process may take longer and you risk missing your holiday if you leave it until the last minute.
Most airlines will make a small charge for carrying an infant under two, but only if it doesn’t take up a seat. If you’re on a long flight think of pre-booking a cot.
If your baby screams and cries while flying, this may be caused by pressure build-up in the ear. This can be avoided by giving them something to suck on such as a pacifier and obviously if you are breast feeding this is an option too.
For long haul flights try to take a night flight, babies and toddlers are more likely to sleep and they can actually find the aircraft engine hum soothing.
On flights you are allowed to take baby food, baby milk and sterilised water in your hand baggage. This includes: soya milk for babies; sterilised water for the baby (must be in a baby bottle); formula; breast milk or cow milk specifically for babies; and baby food of various consistencies. You are allowed to take enough for the journey. In some cases this may be over 100ml. The adult carrying the baby food or milk may be asked to verify it by tasting.
Don’t forget to pack extra nappies and baby wipes into your hand luggage in case of delays, plus their favourite toys.
If driving, take your own car seat and think about packing a window blind to keep the baby cool.