With spring break and summer approaching, airline tickets are reserved with thoughts of pleasant vacations dancing in our heads. And then the thought occurs…
Crap! I am traveling with a toddler.
*insert ominous music here*
Traveling with a toddler can be like buying a lottery ticket. Rolling the dice on toddler behavior can cause even the calmest parent’s hearts to skip a beat.
There are the obvious suggestions of scheduling trips around naps, packing snacks, binkies, extra toys, activities, etc. Those are all good and should be investigated.
As the mother of three boys I want to introduce you to what we have come up with after years of experimentation:
The rolling car seat:
We learned early on that a car seat on the plane is a MUST. Our children were conditioned to sit in a car seat after hours/days/months/years of car travel. The ONE AND ONLY time we traveled on a plane without a car seat and with that child in our lap we vowed to never travel again…
After recovering from the trip, we reconsidered and evaluated where we had gone wrong.
The car seat is a must when traveling with a toddler.
So, this is the latest contraption. It is a large luggage cart with wheels that the car seat can be strapped onto with one strap. It is important not to make it too complicated because about 50% of the time you will be required to dismantle it through security.
This allows you to strap your toddler into the car seat while negotiating the airport. It gives you an extra hand to tote all the toddler stuff you need. The bonus is that the toddler is strapped in so he won’t be lost in the airport.
I usually wheel the toddler/car seat down to the plane assembled and take the car seat off at the plane entrance. Most plane aisles past first class will not accommodate it’s width.
The first thing I do when I find our seats is to install the car seat and strap the child in ASAP. The less time they realize that they can walk around the plane, the better.
The other recommendation I have is to prime the child. For weeks leading up to the trip I talk about how we will be on a plane.
How he will sit in his seat on the plane.
How he will fall asleep in his seat on the plane…
And when it works, it is PURE MAGIC!