Post by Jessica R.

A good friend of mine is heading to Hawaii in a few weeks. She’d be looking forward to her time on the beach if she could stop worrying about actually getting there. Right now she’s wondering whether or not she should lug her toddler’s car seat onto the plane or just hold her in her lap during take off. Once she’s figured that out I know she’s going to start thinking of ways to keep her daughter entertained during the flight.

I’ve tried every technique while flying with my girls – baby on lap, baby in sling, baby in Baby Bjorn, car seat, no car seat, on a transatlantic flight we even got to try the airplane supplied bassinet. Each option has it’s pros and cons. Anything with a harness is good for a particularly wriggly toddlers, though it does make it hard to lower the tray table, severely limiting the available activities.

Speaking of activities, I’ve also tried pretty much everything I could think of to keep my daughters entertained on planes. Crayons and markers are great until you hit turbulence and they roll off down the aisle. Same with small portable toys. Books are only fun for one or two read throughs. Movies are a pretty safe bet as long as you have enough battery life in your laptop or DVD player to last through at least one showing. It almost goes without saying that the toys that keep them entertained the longest are things the airline gives out. No, not little airplanes and badges, just cups, spoons and sugar packets.

We’re not due to get on a plane as a family again until this summer, but what advice do you have for my friend? Should she pack her car seat, splurge on a harness or just use her lap? And what in flight entertainment should she plan? What has worked for you in the past?

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Category: Mom Talk, You Tell Us
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2 Responses

  1. Susan Ella says:

    A week before we have to fly somewhere, I hide some of my toddler’s favorite toys and books so that she’s excited to see them again once we’re on the plane. We have a flight planned for May and this time I might go to the dollar store and buy a bunch of cheap toys, gadgets, etc. to keep her entertained. JetBlue and Virgin have TV’s at every seat, so we try to fly those airlines whenever possible. When all else fails, we make sure to download tons of Sesame Street on our iPhones.

    Re: car seat — next time we might try buying a seat for her on the phone but checking the car seat so that she can actually sit in the seat that we paid for! Last time she wound up in my seat, forcing me to stand in the aisle the whole flight!

  2. I will be traveling in April with my husband and son who will be 5 months old when we go. While I don’t really have to worry about entertainment (talking to him entertains him, 🙂 ) I do have the carseat/harness/lap dilemma.

    Although I do have to say that it’s somewhat figured out, for me… Kind of. Our flight has been paid for by my husband’s company and they’ve purchased two seats so he will be sitting on my lap, UNLESS of course there is a free seat, then we will be able to bring his car seat on board. Otherwise it will be checked at the gate.

    We’re praying all goes well.

    Now my dilemma is.. what kind of crap do I bring for a 5 days stay across country.

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