Baby + Toddler

Flying with Children: Child Free Zones

I’m sure we’ve all heard the debate about “child free zones” on certain airlines lately. I personally am in total favor of this! I think it would great for everyone! The kids and parents wouldn’t feel pressure to get their children to be quiet the entire flight and the sleeping or annoyed adults could sit their flight in peace without worrying about a crying baby or a toddler kicking the back of their seat. (Trust me, no one likes a kid kicking their seat, even their mom.)

I once had a toddler sitting behind me on a long flight across country. He was so rambunctious and antsy. I repeatedly asked him to stop and his mom just ignored me every time. After almost an hour of nonstop kicking and screaming, I was defeated. His mom left me no other choice but to push the call button. Once the flight attendant arrived, I just simply asked her to ask the mom to make her kid stop. I wasn’t looking to make a scene, but she left me no choice. She gave me the dirtiest look (of course), but I didn’t have any more problems with the kid. If she would have just listened to me in the first place and put down her movie and actually paid attention to her boy, maybe she wouldn’t have had to be publicly embarrassed. I have sympathy for parents, especially those who are alone, but when you are obviously ignoring your child, at others expense, my tolerance is slim.

When you have trips planned with your kids, make sure to have plenty of fun toys and activities for them to do. I always try to get her one or two new toys to play with during our flight so she’s always intrigued and interested. I always make sure to wear some chewable jewelry that I can just hand over to Lucy when she gets fussy. My favorite is from Mama & Little. The grapple toy is a must have so you can keep all the toys on the table and close by. No one likes getting toys thrown at them. Crinkle books and plastic link-it toys are usually my go to when on long flights. And when all else fails, look to “the screen”. I hardly ever let Lucy watch TV or look at my phone/tablet (unless we’re face timing with family members/friends), but when we are on a flight and she gets crabby, it’s a life saver. Animated or Disney movies will usually do the trick for a little bit, at least to get her tired enough to sleep. Otherwise the Baby Sensory videos on Youtube will never fail. You can find hours of high contrast, colorful videos made specifically for babies. I wouldn’t recommend letting your little one watch for too long, but in certain situations, it can definitely come in handy.

It’s also important to plan for the worst. A friend of mine recently went on a flight to Hawaii, which was suppose to be just under 6 hours. They ended up having a medial emergency half way through and had to turn around. This meant spending 10+ hours on the aircraft, between the air and the tarmac. She ended up running out of diapers and had to go around to other passengers to find a diaper in the same size. It worked out in the end, but it could have been a total disaster. I am totally one to pack light when I can, but I have also learned the hard way to not do that, especially with a baby. I always make sure to pack extra formula, diapers and wipes when traveling. If you’re nursing, consider getting a travel nursing pillow for the plane. They’re compact and really convenient for feeds on the go. An extra outfit and plenty of spit rags are always handy and having a back up toy or book isn’t a bad idea either. And always be sure to carry extra medicine or other medical items you may need over the next couple days. You never know where you might get stranded and you may not always have access to the things you need.

I’ve heard people say that it’s ridiculous and discriminatory to have child free zones, but it’s not like the airline would force you to sit in this said child zone. You, as the parent, still decides where to sit. If you feel like your child doesn’t bother anyone, sit with everyone else, by all means! But if you know your child is rambunctious and loud, maybe do everyone a favor and sit in the child zone. This also gives your kids a chance to meet other children and possibly even have a flight friend to preoccupy them, and wouldn’t that be lovely? Everyone wins!

If you try to look at the positive sides of this decision, it really does make sense for everyone. But if you are looking at it as a negative thing or see it as your family being discriminated, I can see why people might get upset. So what do you think? Would you be pleased or pissed to be asked to sit in the “child zone” with your children on your next flight?




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