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Understanding Rules of Travelling for Newborn

Travelling would be the last thing on your mind after having a newborn. Feedings, diaper changing and non-stop attention would get you so exhausted that the only break you can hope for is an uninterrupted nap on your bed, let alone travelling out with your baby (even to the nearby supermarket). Parents may also be afraid of bringing their newborn out of the house and into the polluted environment as they do not want to risk their newborn getting sick. But infants are not as fragile as parent might fear. At around the age of 3 months, they are pretty good candidates for travelling, as long as it is a short trip. Once your baby is mobile or has establish a routine, which is about 7 – 9 months, travel can be a greater challenge.

With that being said, parents who have been cooped at home for the past few months would now want to go for a short holiday. But before booking any flight or rent any car, do continue reading this article on rules and laws that are in place when travelling with newborn.

Land Travel

In most countries, laws stating that “anyone below the height of 1.35m will be required to be secured with a child restraint appropriate for a person of that height and weight, use a booster seat to supplement the seat belt or an adjustable seat belt” are common. One exception to this rule would be in taxi, as it would be impractical for taxi to carry a number of variety of child seats which are of different sizes.

Some parents might still think that holding their child in their arm would be the safest. After all, which parent would harm their child right? Wrong! In the event of any collision, parents might not be fast enough to react. As child’s body is much smaller and more fragile. When collisions occur, babies and children are more susceptible to injuries, and potentially, death. Hence, the child car seat is essential in keeping the child safe and secure during rides, regardless of the distance of the journey.

Experts recommend that the safest option is to keep the child car seat rear-facing. And the further back the child is, the safer it is when it comes to impact during accidents. The child should not be placed in the co-passenger seat in front, because in the event of an accident, the child may be flung towards the windscreen. Also, one parent will be able to accompany the child and then to their needs at the backseat. In larger impacts, the frontal air bags may be activated (if your car is equipped with these) and that could potentially cause death due to the force.

Air Travel

In the case of air travel, the rules of travelling with newborn would depend on the airline you are taking.

Generally, paediatricians would not advice the newborn to take flights during the first month as both mother and baby need rest. However, if air travel is necessary, as long as your baby is healthy and fulfil the airline requirement, air travel would not be a problem.

Just like any other passenger, a newborn has to have a passport to travel overseas. So before booking any flight, do remember to make a passport for your newborn.

Here are some tips for air travelling with a newborn:

  1. Request for bulkhead seats located next to the aisle. They offer more leg and manoeuvring room and privacy. Another plus is: no seat in front of yours for baby to bang on and aisle seat would facilitate easier movement to and fro the toilet.

  2. Arrive early enough to take care of preboarding details like luggage and to get through security screenings, but not so early that you have an uncomfortably long wait at the air terminal. Typically, airlines offer parents travelling with children priority to settle in first and stow luggage in overhead compartments before the rush.

  3.  Pre-feed your newborn before flight and make sure to burp your baby. This is necessary so that your child can get a peaceful sleep as pressure change in the cabin may affect your kid’s intestine if there is air in it. During flight, do smaller and more frequent feedings. Upon landing, feed once again in order to relax the ears (due to cabin pressure). If your baby prefers  warmed feedings, you could ask flight attendants if it is possible for them to warm bottles and baby food for you.

Travelling with a newborn is possible as long as parents understand and abide to the necessary rules that are in place. You can take this chance to have a short break from your routine, and at the same time, bond with your newborn in a different setting.


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