Travelling with Your 0-2 Year Old
Updated: Aug 3
These winter blues may already have you clicking that book button on a sunny beach vacation for you and your family. If travelling with your baby or toddler sounds intimidating, here at Suzanne’s Table, we have compiled a comprehensive list of tips and tricks on food, hydration and even sun safety to help your trip go smoothly from booking to arrival!
Here is a quick guide for flying with kids under 2 years of age. Make sure to read on below the infographic for a comprehensive guide to travelling with your infant including where to find Nursing Pods at Toronto Pearson Airport, snacks to bring, hydration and sun safety.
When booking your family vacation there are a few things to consider in a family-friendly lodging:
Look for places that offer cribs/play pens and highchairs at restaurants.
Scope out resorts that have kiddie pools, kids’ clubs and indoor play areas.
Indoor areas are great for keeping children entertained during inclement weather.
Take a look at the layout of the rooms, determine whether there is space for a crib and if the crib can be put somewhere where baby will not be disturbed.
Suites, especially, ones with kitchen, can be ideal when traveling with young children. Access to a stove or even a microwave can make sterilizing feeding equipment easy.
Consider total travel time and means of transportation. Will there be transportation to and from the airport by bus or will there be a cab requiring a car seat?
Aside from your typical packing list there are a few other items that can make travelling with your baby and toddler a breeze:
1. Disinfecting wipes (Lysol, Clorox or alcohol wipes) – these can be used wipe down trays and arm rests on the plane as well as less commonly cleaned areas of your hotel room for example: phone, light switches, handles, tv remote and anything your baby or toddler can reach/touch
2. Feeding equipment – ensure that you have all the equipment needed for feeding. Bottles, nipples, tongs, bottle liners, microwave sterilizer bags, pump etc. Sterilized equipment should be kept in a new zipped bag or sterilized sealable container. Pre-sterilized disposable bottle liners and nipples are convenient for travelling.
3. Formula – Determine whether you want to bring powdered vs ready feed formulas.
· Powdered single serve formula eliminates the need to measure powder and are quick when on the go.
· Ready feed formula is a better option if safe water is not available at your destination and also makes for easier inflight feeding. Simply pour formula into sterilized bottles.
· Bottled water can also be used to prepare formula however it must still be sterilized. Bring water to a rolling boil for two minutes. Do not use carbonated, distilled, vitamin, mineral or flavoured water.
· Sterilized water can be kept in a vacuum sealed flask for 24 hours at room temp or 2-3 days in the fridge.
· Prepared formula should be used immediately or stored in the fridge.
· Discard any formula that has been out of the fridge for longer than 2 hours or was prepared over 24hours ago.
· Refer to the Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) for safe formula preparation guidelines!
4. Food and Snacks- Here are some suggestions:
· UHT pasteurized shelf stable milk drink boxes
· Fruit pouches – although these are liquid, they may be exempt from airplane restrictions; see below
· Dry cereal
· Granola Bars
· Cut up fruit and veggies – may need to be thrown out upon arrival if travelling internationally, but make a great snack for the plane ride
· Hummus- normally hummus needs to be refrigerated but this product by Halvana is shelf stable and so delicious!
5. Inflatable baby pool can double as a tub – if the hotel room doesn’t have a bathtub or you are concerned with the cleanliness of the tub, an inflatable pool is a great portable option.
6. Plastic dishes or reusable placemat – it is likely that hotel restaurants or buffets will only have ceramic plates, which may not be the be best option for little ones. Use bottled water to wash these items if tap water is not safe to drink.
7. Painter’s tape – this can be used to baby proof the hotel room by covering outlets or sharp corners and keeping the toilet seat shut.
8. Plastic baggies – Ziplock bags are great for storing wet or soiled clothes so they can be zipped away if they cannot be cleaned immediately. They can also be used to store food from the buffets in case kids get hungry! I definitely do this.
9. Diapers and swim diapers – if you can purchase diapers easily at your destination you may not need to pack enough for the entire trip. At the very least have enough for your travel day and throw in a few extra.
10. Inflatable pool float – takes up little space in your luggage and means you can hit the water ASAP.
11. Sun shade cover – get one that can be used on the stroller and travel crib! Great for bug protection too.
12. Sleep stuff – you might want to install a white noise app on an old phone to help drown out noise. Black out blinds and or black garbage bags held up with that trusty painters tape can be great at blocking out light.
Before heading to the airport
Whenever you are flying, it is a good idea to visit the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) website since regulations can change. They even provide a search bar to determine what should be packed in your carry on and what items should be checked. Below are some regulations especially important for family travel.
It is also important to check out the policies for the airline you are flying with. Confirm whether or not strollers and car seats are allowed to be taken on the plane. If using a child restraint device on the plane ensure that they meet Transport Canada regulations .
Find out if you can gate check your large items! This means you can keep strollers with you to use in the airport and check it at the departure gate so it will be ready for you to use at your destination.
Some large, heavy or non-foldable strollers may have to be checked at the counter and could count towards your checked bag allowance.
Some airlines offer family check in, early boarding, free family seating and inflight amenities such as bassinets, change tables, children’s meals and entertainment.
Each airline has different policies when it comes to fares, baggage allowances and restrictions. Click the airline below for more info:
Take advantage of some of the family friendly amenities at the airport. Research these in advance so you know where to go.
Pearson International Airport
Has designated nursing rooms and Mamava Nursing Pods at various gates providing a quiet place for you to pump or nurse baby. These pods also have USB outlets to charge your electronic devices, SCORE!
Pearson also offers a children’s play area in Terminal 1 at departure lounge D24.
Arrival and stay
When you arrive, inspect hotel room.
Use your duct tape and disinfecting wipes to baby proof the space
·Set- up a feeding and changing station so that you are not scrambling for items when the time comes.
Having access to a pool or beach when on vacation can be tons of fun but remember, safety first!
Consider bringing a Transport Canada approved life jacket/pfd for any non-swimmers in your family, this is still not a substitute for adults’ supervision but can make supervising easier. There are no approved floatation devices for children weighing less than 20 pounds.
Teach your child that you (the adults) always enters the water first then the child.
Remind older children to always swim with a buddy.
Try your best to not let children drink the pool water. Chlorine can be dangerous when ingested and lead to chlorine poisoning. Any bacteria living in the pool water that wasn’t killed by the chlorine can lead to Recreational Water-related Illness. Both can cause gastrointestinal upset and diarrhea and can lead to infection or irritation.
Ensure to dry ears thoroughly with a towel after swimming to prevent infection/irritation.
If you are travelling somewhere hot it is important to ensure children are protected from the sun. See what the Canadian Pediatric Society has to say about keeping kids safe.
Make use of UVA/UVB shielding swimwear and hats. These items are extremely important, especially for children under the age of 6 months who cannot wear sunscreen.
Remember to apply sunscreen 30 minutes before heading outside and reapply sunscreen often, especially after playing in the water.
Try to stick to the shade or the indoors, especially between the hours of 10-3 when the sun’s rays are the strongest.
With heat can also come dehydration. Check out UnlockFood.ca for tips on staying hydrated.
Infants aged 0-6 months should only get their fluids in the form of breastmilk or formula. Aim for 3 cups per day. Giving water to infants before 6 months of age can lead to electrolyte imbalance. In hot weather infants may need more fluids to prevent dehydration so simply give them more breastmilk or formula as needed.
From 7 to 12 months of age, water can be provided as well as breastmilk or formula. After 9-months, milk can be given to meet hydration needs.
Young children should aim for 3.5 cups of fluids per day or more depending on temperature and activity levels. This can be in the form of water, milk or juice.
To determine whether children are drinking enough fluids look for these three signs: thirst, urine and mood. Feeling thirsty or having a dry mouth, having dark yellow urine that has a strong odour and changes in mood due to tiredness and headaches could all be indicative of dehydration.
Have a blast!
Disclaimer: All the advice shared here is general information. Consult your doctor for personalized health information. Compiled January, 2020 for children 0-2 years old.
Check https://www.catsa-acsta.gc.ca before travel as the above mentioned regulations are subject to change.
Special thanks to Sabrina Mastrangelo, 3rd year nutrition student at Ryerson University who did the research for this post.
Facts on Fluids - How to Stay Hydrated. (2018, May 1). Retrieved from https://www.unlockfood.ca/en/Articles/Water/Facts-on-Fluids-How-to-Stay-Hydrated.aspx
Families. (2019, May 27). Retrieved from https://www.catsa-acsta.gc.ca/en/families
Recreational Water Illnesses. (2017, January 25). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/swimmers/rwi.html
Sun safety. (2016, July). Retrieved from https://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/handouts/sun_safety