Wondering how old your baby has to be to travel? Actually, there is no standard regulation in Australia or other countries, but some airlines require babies to be at least two days old, while others have a policy of at least two weeks old. Likewise, some cruise lines have a minimum age of six months.
Parents who love to travel tend to start taking trips with their newborns as soon as their doctor gives the okay. However, whether you’re flying and then renting a car or travelling with your baby by car only, there are some important things to prepare for to ensure your travel adventure goes smoothly.
Start Planning Early
If travelling by car, plan for these situations:
- If driving across borders, check the border requirements for babies in all the countries you will be visiting and returning through. Each country has different requirements.
- Find hotels that are baby-friendly. They provide baby necessities, like changing stations, cribs, bottle warmers, baby monitors and bathing tubs, and have the room amenities you need, such as a refrigerator, microwave, etc.
- A car seat inspection. Make an appointment with your local police station for a car seat inspection to ensure it is properly installed.
If travelling by plane and car, or by rail or boat, there are additional factors to consider and prepare for in advance:
- Getting a passport for your baby.
- Airline policies for travelling with infants. Depending on the baby’s age, some may require a fit to fly letter from your doctor. Most have specific car seat requirements.
- Check with your pediatrician to make sure your baby received all the necessary immunisations for travelling in Australia and abroad.
- Research the places you will be visiting. You want to be sure there are no diseases that your infant is too young to be vaccinated against.
Decide on a Car Seat
As new parents, you’re excited to show the world to your new baby. But to do so with ease and comfort, it all comes down to the car seat.
For taking your baby on travel adventures in particular, you want a car seat that meets these three needs:
- Lightweight to carry. Remember, you will be lugging the seat through airports and in and out of cars or taxis.
- Easy to use. You want to be able to easily use the harness and strap system and take your baby in and out of the car seat with ease.
- Comfortable for the baby. The design of a car seat is important for a baby’s comfort, especially on long rides.
If your travel adventures require a lot of flying, then add a fourth item: meets the requirements of all airlines and clearly displays a label on the unit stating so.
A versatile car seat is essential. You want one that will grow with your baby, yet adapt to the travels you have in store. Some factors to consider when deciding on a car seat for travelling are:
Safety Grades: Look for top rated infant car seats. They have been engineered to meet government safety standards for protecting your baby in a crash. For instance, some car seats have been side impact tested and have energy absorbing foam.
How easy it is to clean: Just about anything can happen on a road trip, like a spilled bottle, diaper leakage and baby food stains. Look for material that is stain resistant or can be easily washed.
Activity Attachments: Some car seats allow for baby activity centers to be attached directly to them to entertain infants in rear-facing seats.
Shopping for the Best Car Seat
Several types of car seats are designed for travelling. They include:
Infant travel system – Parents who travel a lot often choose an infant travel system. It features a car seat and stroller in one, so there’s no need to switch between car seat, stroller, or carrier. They are designed for people with active lifestyles, with some models compatible with certain infant carriers. When folded, they are very compact and easy to carry.
Convertible car seat – With babies growing so quickly, this type of seat is advantageous for travellers because it adjusts to the growth of the infant. It starts out as a rear-facing infant seat, then converts into a forward-facing seat and then into a booster seat. With convertible car seats, you only need to buy one car seat for all stages of growth, from infant to elementary school age.
Infant car seat – This is for parents looking for a car seat with a removable carrier. It fits in all types of vehicles and accommodates your baby until he or she is ready to move into a forward-facing car seat.
For help in choosing the best car seat for your lifestyle and budget, try these sources of information: https://bestcarseathub.com.
A travel adventure by car with your baby is all about preparation. Advanced planning will ensure your family enjoys safe travels and wonderful memories.