Flying with small children can be exciting for airplane-crazy toddlers, but not so much for parents. Even passengers seated around your little ones seem wary of your bundle of joy. The ordeal from airport to airport feels exhausting and stressful, not to mention all the germs. Encountering so many people in public spaces, how can you keep your little ones from getting sick while flying? Check out these handy flying tips designed to keep your child as healthy as possible as you fly.
Where The Germs Live
Millions of germs are everywhere — at the airport, baggage claim area, and all over the entire aircraft. Your infant wrapped up in a blanket may be still young enough that they are not touching everything in sight (yet), but you certainly are. And your older kids are even more touchy. For this reason, make sure two essential items you pack in your diaper bag or carry-on bag are a bottle of hand sanitizer and a pack of anti-bacterial wipes. These two things are pretty small and will fit nicely among the snacks, toys, phone, and that book you think your kids are going to let you read during the flight.
Think of all the infected surfaces that you, loaded with a baby or toddler, are required to touch on just the airplane alone:
- overhead bin
- seatbelt buckles
- tray tables
- window shade
- controls for light and fan
- your seat
- the bathroom
Now think of all the other things you are touching, like your face, your child's face, their snacks, bottles, and a pacifier that may have fallen on the floor. You and your kids are going to need hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes to keep from getting sick. Clean your hands especially right before eating and feeding your children and after touching those dirty surfaces. Also, keep any open wounds covered well the entire travel day.
The airplane bathroom deserves its own special consideration because of the amount of traffic it sees. There's usually only one bathroom for every 43 passengers, and by nature the bathroom is already heavily infected with bacteria. This presents a problem. Those airplane sinks are so tiny it's difficult to wash hands properly. And what if you have to change a diaper? What do you do?
Try to get everyone to use the restroom and change that diaper as close to boarding time as you can. Hopefully you will not need to visit the bathroom on board. If you do, remember those wipes and sanitizer and use them religiously. You are the adult and you can be in control, to some degree, of how much contact everyone has with germ-ridden areas. Sanitize everyone's hands after visiting this cubicle.
Stay strong during the flight — and not just a stiff upper lip in the face of critical stares from angry passengers if your baby cries. You can stay strong by making sure your resistance levels remain high. Travel is stressful, and jet lag can make you tired. Get plenty of rest before and after flying. Also, recirculated air on the plane is very dry, so keep everyone hydrated by offering water frequently. By being rested and hydrated, you boost your body's own ability to fight infection.
Flying is stressful enough without your kids getting sick when it's all over and the bags are unpacked. By packing along hand sanitizer and wipes and being aware of what you are touching, you can lessen the chances of getting infected. Keeping your resistance level up helps too. If you're concerned about illnesses before or after traveling, talk with a doctor from a clinic like Rural Health Services Consortium Inc.