Tips for flying with your baby during coronavirus (Covid-19)
Travelling with your baby or toddler during an uncertain and dangerous time can be difficult. Flying with baby/toddler on an aeroplane can be a challenge in itself. A confined space full of people, tens of thousands of feet in the air, and lots of noise is not the best environment for some babies. The extra challenge of protecting your baby/toddler from coronavirus/COVID 19, while flying, makes the experience more troublesome than usual. Using scientific facts, along with parents flight experience with babies, we will share some tips to make the experience more comfortable and more protected.
1) Assuming that you have checked your flight status and its policies on various aspects like face masks and how their rebooking system works.
Your first step is to book a window seat. This is a crucial step; you should book a window seat to keep your baby further away from people passing through the aisle. According to research, the window seat is the best place/ safest to sit on an aeroplane to reduce the risk of catching a virus.
2) Book a bassinette seat. These are extremely helpful and useful for anyone with a baby. Even if your baby doesn’t sleep there, at least you can rest your arms while they play. You must book these well in advance as they are very popular and there are only a limited number of them.
3) Use your air conditioning. Air conditioning can bring fresh air into the aeroplane, as most aeroplanes have HEPA air filters, the air coming out of the AC is cleaned. These are incredibly efficient as they can capture 99.9% of particles and replace them with fresh air. These systems are similar to what you would find in a hospital operating theatre.
4) We know the trouble of making your child fall asleep on a plane. You can use a white noise machine or a sound machine. These can prove to be extremely useful. A quick and brief introduction to white noise can be found on my other blog post about baby room setup. These are fantastic as they can block out noise and create a peaceful space for your child to fall asleep.
5) Hand sanitiser and disinfecting/sanitising wipes are your best friends. Although airlines try to wipe down tray tables, it better if you wipe it down before sitting. The least number of surfaces you touch the fewer chances you have of catching the coronavirus.
- Wipe everything from the tray table, seatbelt, armrests, and everything you may contact.
- Wearing gloves can be beneficial. However, it is not always possible to wear gloves for long periods. Hand sanitisers are an excellent option and alternative.
- The best way to clean your child’s hand is soap and water. On a flight, it can be risky using the toilets; however, you can use disinfectant/sanitising wipes to wipe down the tap and doorknob before touching.
- You can put hand sanitiser on your child if you are sure that they will not put it in their mouths or eyes. If they are old enough to do so, then you may use some. However, we urge you to seek a doctor before using any products that can be harmful and also read the minium age stated on the back.
- You may wish to buy gloves for your little one.
- Remember, in the UK you can not take liquid that is more than 100ml, so take a travel-sized hand sanitiser.
6) Disposable bibs are a must. Disposable bibs prevent your child’s clothes from getting dirty, and you can dispose of it once you are done without the need to sterilise. These can fold into much smaller packets taking up no room at all. Some bibs are soft, allowing you to clean their faces with them without requesting for tissue to prevent transfer for COVID 19.
7) Try to eat before your flight or consider taking your own spoon.
You could try to eat at home where you control the environment than in an airport. In the UK, you are allowed to take food onboard, however, avoid anything liquidy. This can be a safer option as you are minimising the number of contacts. You can also take your own spoon; it is safer to take plastic as metal may be confiscated. Baby milk and sterilised water can be over 100ml to be taken on board in the UK. However, they may need to undergo extra screening.
8) Wear a mask. You should, and it is sometimes compulsory to do so, wear a mask as they can reduce the transmission of coronavirus/COVID 19.