Have you flown with an Infant?(12 Posts)
Please let me introduce myself, my name is Lauren a final year student at Loughborough University studying Industrial Design and Technology, currently working on my final year project.
The purpose of this project is to design a product that will assist in improving the experience of people travelling with young infants under the age of 12 months; with the aim to reduce the stress for parents, other passengers and improving the comfort for infants.
To help me determine the needs of parents travelling with young children I need your help. I was wondering if it would be possible if you could possibly fill in the following survey;
Hi Lauren, I've filled out your survey. I wanted to add that I actually find travelling with a toddler (1-2y) harder than an infant. Infants are usually breast or bottle fed which is much easier to prepare for than fussy toddlers who are recently weaned and either won't eat airline meals or will
throw spill them everywhere.
For young toddlers you need endless snacks and food you know they will eat. Similarly, an infant doesn't need entertaining throughout the duration of the flight, a toddler (especially a young one) is too stimulated to switch off yet too young to sustain concentration or keep still for long and is often to little to understand the need to be calm.
Finally, one of the other major stresses of travelling with an infant or child is delays. Not only are they tiring but they deplete your carefully prepared meals / snacks / drinks / bottles and replacements are not always easily available in foreign airports.
Good luck with your project.
Completely agree with whitechoc.
Travelling with a baby under 1 is easy. They are smaller, less mobile and faaaaar less demanding.
Toddlers are big to sit on your lap, curious to clamber everywhere and run around, noisier and harder to placate.
Also - in terms of a product that will help, you seem to be suggesting something along the lines of bassinets for flights / onward travel? If that's correct, a couple of things to be aware of are:
- Any type of bassinet / carrier will normally require an extra seat. An attractive thing about travelling with an infant is that they are free until age 2 as long as they are on your lap / not taking up another seat.
- you can take a car seat on some flights which is a good option if allowed. Safe, familiar and will be used at other end too.
- babies are not allowed in exit row seats and have to be held by the parent anytime the seatbelt is off
- babies are usually happiest in parents' arms, few products will beat this in a stressful situation!
- most young infants have a bassinet on their buggy until 3-6m which they might travel with.
whitechoc is right, infants are easy to travel with - the younger the better. They don't get distracted by their surroundings easily when they're tiny, they eat all the time anyway (well, DD did - you don't get much feeding pattern disruption when you're on 15 feeds a day), they sleep a lot, they're light hence easy to carry through an airport or have them sleep on you on the plane...
You couldn't pay me to travel with a toddler - we've told family abroad (long haul) that they need to come to us if they want to see DD before she's about 4!
If you want an industrial design project, may I suggest ways to design the seats so they're easier for a child to sleep across? If I could buy a bank of three seats for DH, DD and I and know that the whole row would be totally flat and comfortable for DD to sleep on in between us (no seatbelts poking into her etc) that would be great. A way for the cabin crew to rig a blanket tent would be nice too. Extra points if you can figure out a way of making DH (who is 6'5) comfortable!
Thank you for all your responses.
I will look into these issues that you have highlighted, especially the issues of flying with slightly older infants.
I really appreciate all your feedback and it has really helped focus my project in some areas... and broadened it in others!!
Hope you all have a lovely Christmas!
something you can strap to your infant early on, and then clip to the safety belt at the last minute. the worst is when its all going fine and then you have to buckle in and the baby does mental and then it all goes wrong... otherwise until they are mobile its a breeze. standard issue airline ipad would probably do the job. or a ball pond.
SoMuch the Air New Zealand Skycouch turns a row of 3 economy seats into a comfy zone just like you describe. Not sure if there is a tent option though!
Hi Lauren, I've filled out your survey too. It is mainly talking about long haul flights, which isn't really relevant to my experience though - I've never used a bassinet, and couldn't have imagined needing one really.
I have to say, having travelled alone with babies and toddlers, the actual flight is usually the most stress-free and easiest part.
I find negotiating airport security, getting onto the plane, picking up baggage after and all those things much harder to manage. My babies usually just fell asleep on the plane on my lap, lulled by the noise of the engine, and I could just sit there.
Picking up my luggage, queuing up to get on/off the plane, negotiating the steps off the plane carrying a baby and hand luggage and holding a toddler's hand, having to balance whilst holding children on a crowded bus from the plane to the arrivals hall - all way more stressful and difficult!
I have also done your survey and can only agree with PP, flying with an infant under one is a walk in the park compared with flying with a toddler.
When my daughter was less than one I flew alone with her to Sydney. It was relatively stress free despite long delays.
The following year when she was nearly two we flew as a family on a very short flight to Jersey and it was a complete nightmare!! This put us off flying until she as a few years older.
I found travelling with an infant quite easy [using a sling]
Airlines insist that you sit beside the window so not even on the aisle end of the row with an airline so if you are travelling with strangers there's a high chance you will need to ask them to move.
The only two real issues that I found which are both related to travelling alone are:
that changing benches in airline toilets fold down over the actual loo, so when you've changed your child you have to return to your seat and ask a complete stranger to hold your child so that you can have a wee too. Otherwise you have to hold your baby in the loo which can be tricky if there is turbulence. Stewardesses generally cannot or will not assist as it is not their role and they are expected to be doing other things.
No idea how to get around this without redesigning airline loos to be honest.
From 6-12 months a baby will be weaned onto solid food so will need on average circa 2 pints of milk a day and 3-4 pots of food [about a small portion of cereal sized] These are usually in puree form so are technically a liquid under airline rules. If you are getting on an 8hr flight you will be allowed to bring on the amount of food deemed reasonable for that period. If you have a 6 hr journey at the other end you will be expected to carry that food in the hold. Therefore, if there are significant delays at the airport, you may not have sufficient milk or food to cover the flight period.
A helpful product would be basic baby food available to buy (or to be dispensed if there are delays) on all airlines, meeting a specific set of health and allergen guidelines along with disposable soft tipped plastic spoons and a disposable bibs.
I think you will have a lot more scope with the 1-3 age group to be honest if you can still change it.
Noise cancelling airline headphones that can be worn by a toddler and are volume restricted for example.
Seat restraints so you can run to the loo and leave them there.
Some sort of cushion / seat structure that will help them to sleep. Trunki do a neck ring / blanket for cars but no blow up equivalent exists for airplanes that I know of.
Activity packs that can be hung on the back of the seat in front. On average you need to do something new every 15 mins (you'll see that the average cbeebies tv episode is 10 mins) so that's a lot of time to kill on an average short-haul flight.
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