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Flying with a Toddler

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Airplane entertainment for a 2 year old

Jan 2009

Before a long plane trip, we gave our 2 1/2 year old son a Bob the Builder imaginetics magnet set, and it kept him busy for 3 hours straight. We have more trips coming up. Can anyone recommend other toys to keep a toddler busy on a plane? Jenny


I have traveled a lot with my now 2.5 year old daughter. We ALWAYS take our magnadoodle. They come in all sorts of sizes, but we take the big one made by ''Parents'' brand. It has a big board and 4 magnet animal heads to move around the board. It is large but I pack a duffle bag with her favorite snacks and toys and squeeze it in there.

Also the crayola wonder markers are great for coloring (they come in all sorts of coloring books). The markers only color on the ''special paper'' crayola sells.

You can get all this stuff at Target or any other toy store. Flying Mama


We have had a lot of success with some large magnetic ''Create A Scene'' boards. There are about 20 or so...here is an example of one:

http://www.amazon.com/Create-A-Scene-Magnetic-Playset-Construction-Site/dp/B00000ISKK

We bought about 10 different ones from another website, but I can't find the website right now. Nikki


Our nearly two and a half year old is entertained by playdough, coloring books, stickers, finger puppets, stories, dinosaur lacing cards (cardboard shaped like dinosaurs with shoelaces to lace in and out of little holes, from Mr. Mopps on MLK in Berkeley), and a reusable vinyl sticker book also with a dinosaur theme (from the Ark on 4th street). All of these are small and lightweight for airplane travel. -frequent flyer
Here's what worked for me (and still does):
-Playdough works well in a small ziplock bag.
-Color Wonder markers and coloring books or blank paper.
-books
-DVD player with their favorite shows burned on DVD
-Story Reader (with headphones) and different books that are read 
to them
-magnetic pattern blocks
-small magic doodle boards
We pack a carry-on just for her things. Snacks are good too. travelling mom too
We just took our 21 month old on a trip to the midwest (SFO - Dayton, OH, 1 hour layover in Minneapolis, first leg about 4 hours, 2nd leg, 2 hours). We brought small board books, crayons & scribble pad, and an iPod with Thomas the Train videos on it. Some small toys such as wooden airplane, truck and car. He loved to read and color and he napped during the first leg for at least 2 hours. His favorite blanket and sippie cup were also brought along. Marisa
We've always flown a lot with our two kids, since both sets of grandparents live far away. I've kept a list of some of the airplane activities that have managed to keep us sane during cross-country flights. Each of our kids preferred slightly different things, so your kid may vary!

Best general tip I can give: Get new toys and books for the plane -- novelty goes a long way -- and wrap them in wrapping paper. Unwrapping the toys takes some time, and wrapping paper is a fun toy by itself!

Also, bring plenty of snacks, including some special treats that you may not ordinarily have around. For example, we sometimes give lollipops on descent (can help with ear trouble to suck on something).

We often fly JetBlue -- they have TV screens in each seat back with Animal Planet, Nick, and cartoons. A few years ago we also invested in a cheap portable DVD player, which has been a lifesaver on long flights.

Here are a few specific toys that have entertained our kids as 
toddlers, in addition to magnet sets:
- Small photo album with pictures of family & friends
- Toy cell phone
- Eggs-in-carton puzzle
- Small plastic tea set, or pan with spoon (cooking, tea party)
- Finger puppets
- Sticker activity book with reusable vinyl ''cling'' stickers -- 
if you can find one of these, the stickers will stick to the window 
of the plane, lots of fun
- the famous Magna Doodle
- Color Wonder markers & coloring books
- Little tubes of plastic animals
- Tiny squeeze flashlight
- Post-it notes
- Tiny tub of play-doh
- Matchbox cars
- Small cotton blanket and stuffed animal (if your child likes to 
put things to bed... animal can also come to the tea party)
When all else fails, the seat back tray is very entertaining, along with the safety instructions in the seat pocket! Alison

14-hour-flight with a 16-month-old

April 2008

We will fly with our then 16 month old daughter from SF to Germany this summer. I am looking forward to seeing my relatives and showing my little girl where I grew up but I am terrified of the flight which is supposed to take at least 14 hours (we will have a 2-hour stop-over in Denver). In addition, my baby will travel on my and my husband's lap! She does not have her own seat. Does anyone have any long-distance flight advice? I appreciate anything that you can suggest. Anon


Fourteen hours is far too long to hold a baby on one's lap. It would not only be more pleasant, but also safer, to have a separate seat for your baby. Airplanes are so cramped these days, that there isn't adequate room for the baby's things, plus your and your husband's things, if you are all packed into only two seats.

There would not even be room to lower your tray table to feed your baby. My advice is to buy an additional seat, at least for the Denver-Germany leg of the trip. Frequent flyer


A few ideas that should help the long flight:

In SFO let her run around and also on your layover in Denver, get out and move around a lot.

When we did a trip to London on British Airways, you could get a bassinet or other seat for your child for about $100. See if your airline has something similar for your longer leg. Or at least see if you can secure a bulkhead seat so she can have that area to play around in.

Pack lots of goodie bags for her waking hours. Some ideas: colorful paperclips that she can string together. Scotch tape, key and locks (keeps him really occupied for a decent stretch of time), stickers and paper, little board books, string. I know on the old lists there are many other good ideas. Good luck! KIM


We took our then 14 month old to Switzerland last September. It is doable and we had a good time. However, it is work. The biggest thing we learned from the experience was to take less stuff. We took a stroller and realized it doesn't make a lot of sense in Europe with all the stairs, plus we had a car. We took our daughter everywhere in an ergo instead. Also, taking a pack n play was just too much unless someone is picking you up at the airport on the other end. If you are visiting family ask them to borrow as much stuff for you as possible. As for the flight itself. Our daughter only slept for 3 of the first 24 hours we were gone. Some things that worked well for entertainment were lift a flap books (I highly recommend My Little People School Bus), crayons (my daughter just liked putting them in and taking them out of the box) and a travel magna doodle. My daughter also liked lifting the arm rests a lot and playing on the floor in front of us. Once you get there keep in mind that all the change is stressful to them. Good Luck! Traveling Mama
Hi- We began flying overseas with our daughter (and her subsequent siblings) when she was five months old. They always sat in our laps until age two, when we were forced to buy seats.

At 16 months, I would suggest getting a small bag or backpack for her, and buying several small toys, magnet toys, paint-with-water books, crayola no-mark paper and pens, and so on. Wrap each one in paper (tissue paper or wrapping paper). She can open one at a time. You can spread them out over the length of the flight (one an hour type of thing, or half an hour). They LOVE this! Some of the little packages can be snacks, too. She will sleep part of the time, so you don't actually need 15 items.

On many overseas flights, there is often an empty seat for her anyway, so don't worry about having to hold her the whole way. You may luck out! Happy Flying! Happy Traveler


We took our 11 month old baby to London a few years ago. If possible, I would highly recommend you buying your child her own airplane seat. By doing so, you can place her in her carseat so she can rest and therefore, you can rest too. A 14 hour long flight is very long and it would be very difficult to keep her on your lap throughout the flight. monique
Go to elephant pharmacy and get children's rescue remedy (flower essences) and calms forte homeopathics for kids. You could also look for a bottle of passionflower or skullcap glycerite tincture. Those should help immeasurably, if you need them at all. You can give them all at the same time, or alternate during the flight. A little lavender essential oil is very calming--you could put a drop or two on yourself and just hold your baby close. Nursing during take off and landing will help with the ear popping.

A drink or glass of wine for yourself during the flight would also probably make you less tense. People are generally very sympathetic to parents traveling with little ones. Use the flight attendants for any help or assistance they can offer--it is their job and a friendly smile and a ''thank you'' from you goes a long way! frequent flier


We've taken our kids to FRA/MUC when they were 6 months old and 18 months old a few times. No matter which way you do it, you'll have trouble in Germany with the time difference i.e. their waking up late at night and keeping you up. So you can only improve the quality of your flight time.

Based on our experience, I'd suggest the following:

1. Take a flight that's at least partially in the night PST. Excellent options would be UA954 through Heathrow, UA8882 through Munich, UA926/UA 940/UA8879 through Frankfurt. You'll get a good 8-10 hours of peace!

2. Try to get a bulkhead seat so your kid has a bit of space to move around, if flying Econ.Class. You could also request a bassinet and makes it easier for everyone to sleep a bit better.

3. Fly Lufthansa. Kids get little toys to keep them occupied and the flight attendants are much nicer.

Good luck. lalith


Very active toddler on a 20-hour flight

Sept 2006

My husband and I are living on tour in Brazil with Cirque Du Soleil. We have a daughter aged 4 and a very active son aged 1 1/2 years old. I will have to fly home with our two children without my husband due to an incredible price difference to extend our tickets. We are not happy about this-and I am really dreading the 20- flight home from Rio. The main problem is our son is a very active and loud toddler and it is very, very difficult to contain him for any flight-much less one this long. We have had 4 very long flights this year like this. We have not resorted to Benadryl or anything else to try to make our son more manageable. However-we are tempted now. Can anyone give us some advice and/or feedback on what we could do to get through this flight? It is an incredibly hard and miserable experience flying without my husband with our son constantly playing with the shade, kicking the seats and other passengers, screaming, throwing anything he gets his hands on. He does nurse but not for the entire time. We didn't expect that we couldn't extend our tickets ensuring travel home all together as a family. If there are some sure-fire herbal remedies that would be great too. At this point anything that could slow him down without harming him would be welcome. If possible. Cynthia


Would getting a portable DVD player and turning him into a Disney zombie for some of the flight help? You run some risk with Benedryl because it can have the opposite effect on some kids (making them even more hyper) and you don't want to be drugging your kid unless absolutely necessary anyway. Good luck! I'm a little nervous about traveling the 14-hr flight to Spain this winter with my 3-yr old spaz, but hopefully people around you will understand and sympathize -Anon
I too flew with my wild child several times on extended flights. Many times the foreign flight attendents were much more understanding and helpful than the Americans. Ditto the passengers. Try to fly at least business class. (well, we can always dream...) If possible a good idea might be to break the flight into a couple of segments...? Or maybe just grit your teeth and tough it out. Everyone will survive. That said: my son NEVER slept anyway and by the time he was 3 I was frantic. I remember dosing him with Chloral Hydrate(!)one time, in desperation, but the upshot was it didn't work and he stood swaying in his crib and singing for all the world like a little drunken sailor. It would have been funny if I hadn't felt so guilty, not to mention, still completely fried. So the moral: if you do decide to try Benedryl (which also didn't work for us!), make sure you try it out first! And best of luck. signed, anon

Long Flight with 1 year old

August 2006

Against my better judgement I am flying across country with my one year old. (going to visit my husbands family) It is a direct 6+ hour flight. I am loosing sleep over it already. I have purchased and extra seat so at least there will be no one sitting in our row, but I am in need of some advice. He has a lot of energy and is walking now and I am not sure how we are going to make it without him going ballistic the entire flight. The flight takes off right about the time he takes his morning nap. How do you get a child to nap on a plane? Any tricks for entertaining a toddles for 6 hours in a seat? Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Nervous Mother


You are going to be just fine. I travel with my VERY ACTIVE kids all of the time. It can be done with a minimal amount of pain.

Don't try to get your child to sleep before the flight. Let the airplane engines do it naturally. Don't stress too much about getting off schedule a little. If you can get an hour of awake time for him at the beginning, then the nap time in the middle will help break up the trip a little.

Bring cool stuff for your child to play with...I always pack art clay (it is easy to manipulate and has a cool texture...sort of silly putty and sort of play-dough. Crayola makes it.), crayons, color wonder, books, things that are quiet but still make some noise (I found some cool tube things that are bendable and can compact and stretch out and some other fun things at the Lawrence Hall of Science) and just something that fills whatever need that child is going through (for instance, my then one year old played with a plastic mug filled with plastic spoons that I borrowed from my elder daughters tea set for more than an hour on a trip last spring...she was in that emptying and filling stage of her life then).

If you are flying jetblue then turn on animal planet. My now 18-month old and I have fabulous 'conversations' about whatever is on the screen. If your child watches tv at home in some form, then bring along a dvd player and show him whatever he watches. Don't stress about headphones, but just keep the volume low.

Take your child for walks during periods of time when fasten seat belt sign is not lit. Many passengers are going to stop your little guy for a chat (many won't). Head to rear galley and make friends with the flight attendent for about five minutes.

Alternate every hour or so with your partner with who is 'in charge.' If you are not 'in charge,' then try to find another row in the plane where you can go hang out and read and recharge.

Finally, don't stress about your kids behavior. Do your best. Most people on the plane have kids or grandkids and remember what it is like to be in your shoes. Those who don't have kids may be empathetic or not. But, who cares. You will never see them again jan mitchell janm


Maybe if you prepare for the worst it won't seem so bad! I've found that it's better to take the car seat on board and strap it in. I think that raises the chance that your kid will nap for at least part of the flight. Other than that, bring a lot of snacks, stickers, and books, and expect to be doing a lot of walking the plane. It's not fun but sometimes you just gotta do it! Good luck anon
Dimetapp, or any antihistamine to help with the ears issue. With babies/young children, if they have any sign of congestion, this could lead to a screaming baby by the end of the flight. As an adult, it's pretty painful as well, so I know it is for kids. The antihistamine makes them drowsy and they will sleep on the plane. If you're one of those parents that don't want to give drugs, then I would let go of that hangup if you want a calm baby for a 6-hour flight Anonymous
Don't stress! we have traveled to the UK - 10+ hour flight - twice with my son. first time he was 5 months, second time he was 1 1/2. the second time i took him by myself! Here's a few things to do:
1) bring the car seat on the plane. The biggest reason for that is safety & if you read the safety reports, even mild turbulence & little ones, you will not hesitate to bring this. It also helps get them to sleep.
2) s/he probably won't nap right away. he will be excited with all the new stuff, but don't worry about it. bring all the stuff you normally use to put to sleep like blankie, etc. & when he starts being a little tired, do your routine as much as possible. He may not sleep. but you could still have some quiet time
3) bring a portable DVD player & DVDs. even if you are someone that doesn't usually do TV, this is as a life saver
4) bring lots of toys, some new. Put them in plastic bags. crayons, paper,books, mini flip books (where they flip the little part to see what is under it).if you can go to Mr Mopps get those etch e doodle things.They also have bins of toys.
4) it's unrealistic to expect a little one to sit in their seat the whole time.if you insist they do you are asking for him to be a nightmare. take a lap around the cabin then read a book. then do it again
5) bring food! check with the airline with the recent flying situation but bring food. don't skimp. all you need is a crying child & airplane food they won't eat. (don't forget milk/formula)
6) if you haven't flown before it is very important that your child eats or drinks during take off & landing. they can't pop their ears & chewing helps. at one year old i usually gave a bottle. they say a pacifier isn't the same as they need to SWALLOW, not just suck. now that my son is 2+ we use raisins, bread, sippy cup. just think of something they can chew or drink for awhile.
7) bring an extra set of clothes for him & shirt for you
8) don't worry about the other folks on the plane. most people are really nice & helpful. there will be some jerk but ignore him. it's six hours. you will get thru it. you will get there & think 'that wasn't' so bad'. hope that helps
I was PLEASANTLY surprised to find out that my very active little one was a FANTASTIC plane traveller early on. The one- on-one attention he got from me - the entire plane ride, really made him happy. He wanted to walk some, but was incredibly sweet during most of the flight - and happy to be near me.

Here are some specific suggestions to fill the time:
*Little wind-up toys that flip, walk,etc. (I found a bunch of these in Lora's Closet on College Ave. near Ashby)
*Activities (crayons, mini-water colors, stickers, play-dough)
*Favorite books
*Portable DVD player with Baby Einstein or other videos he likes
*Also try used toy store on Solano (Toy go round) for little puzzles, other ideas. GOOD LUCK!


I had to take a long flight with my 1.5 year old. I didn't have an extra seat for him, I just had him on my lap for 5 hours and the plane was packed.

2 things. 1st, it isn't easy and will most likely be very challenging. 2nd, that doesn't really matter. Just remember that you are not the only person who has ever flown with a toddler, and flight attendants are very cool about helping keep kids calm. They have an interest in keeping everybody as happy as they can, and they generally like people, including kids. My son is generally very mellow, but even he didn't want to sit still for 5 hours. I read to him as much as I could, and then when he got all squirmy the flight attendant came back and took him for walks up and down the aisle. He got really tired eventually (planes are like cars that way) so he did nap for about an hour. Then he woke up and the flight attendant kept him busy by feeding him crackers. She seemed to enjoy interacting with him, so she was either really good at faking it or she liked kids a lot.

We did have one jerk of a passenger directly in front of us who yelled at me for letting him drum with his hands on the tray table. But the minute I put the table away he started a crying jag that lasted for about 30 minutes (he had been quiet up until then). I think she had it coming, but anyways. Don't worry about what the other passengers think. You're probably never going to see them again, and they were all once annoying screaming toddlers too. flyer


We've flown a lot with our daughter, now 16 months, with some cross-country and transatlantic flights right around your son's age. My daughter is extremely active (think dervish) and was walking well at the time. I was pretty nervous about it, since she hadn't been mobile on a plane before, but it was actually pretty easy.

Your timing is good. As soon as we were taking off, I nursed my baby and rocked her to sleep. I held her through her whole nap. She woke up almost two hours later (I watched a whole movie!). Hopefully, your son will sleep through a good part of the flight.

I had prepared a big in-flight entertainment bag, along with a snack pack of enticingly packaged favorites. The bag had a lot of books, some old standards and some new. I also included a few new and old toys (small, not too noisy), stickers to put on her hands and feet, a little purse with other small containers in it and things in those (in and out was a big interest at that age) and other things like that. Make up something new with your son's interests in mind. For example, my daughter was always trying to grab my wallet and take the credit cards out. So I bought her a little cloth wallet and filled with old video store cards, outdated school IDs, etc. She hadn't seen it before the flight, so she was pretty fascinated. Some people's babies like those Baby Einstein DVDs so they bring some and play them on the laptop. Just think about what your son likes and cater to that, with novel twists. Between her nap and these activities and snacks, would you believe my little wild child didn't get down in the aisle once? I was shocked.

The ride to London was easy, too. Coming home was a bit harder, but I think it was because the novelty was wearing off (we took some shorter flights in Europe as well), and we had some long delays.

But here's the thing: even if it is hard and he's wiggling and fussing and driving you nuts, you'll get where you're going eventually and you'll be glad you made the trip. Anon


I have 18 mo. old twins. My family is on the E. Coast and have flown with the babies 2 times. When they were 4 mo., then this summer at 15 mo. and have tickets for Christmas. We have one lap child and one in a car seat. Our rambunctious one stays in the car seat. Our twins always nap the first hour or so on their nap schedule. When they wake up their hungry and so they eat some of what we bring and some of the airplane snacks (depending on what it is, ofcourse). We bring small toys and board books to read to them...but the best thing we did was to buy a $99 portable DVD player and let them watch Baby Einstein. Each DVD is about 40 min. We do this as a last resort and it's usually the last hour or so of the flight. The sound does not bother anyone, because most cannot hear the sound over the engines of the plane. Our flights have been very resonable so far. We were very relieved. We also give them snacks at take off and landing so that the chewing will pop their ears or give him a bottle if he's on bottle feeding and so far it's worked. The airlines will allow formula, but not milk or any other liquid. You will need to buy milk after you go through security. Good luck...it will be fine I'm sure. wj
I was in your place 2 years ago when I took our first long flight alone with our 1 year old. I got great advise here and read every single thing in the archives. There were even things discussed that I didn't know to panic about yet!!

Now that is behind us, I smile because it really isn't that bad.

So with that:

1.read the archives (every word)
2. don't check the stroller with your luggage, take it down to the gate with you (ask for a tag when you check in though)
3. know in advance that security will make you take your entire stroller apart and take your child out
4. I would get your child undressed before you get in line so that you can safely store clothes & shoes (they will not help you) and not have to worry about dropping things as you try to assemble the whole lot again
5. Once checked, let your child walk, run, push his stroller around until it is time to board. Since you have the whole row and can use the place under both seats, I would get on as one of the last passengers
6. Before you leave, go to dollar store and buy 5-10 new things. This will distract him as each hour goes by. Buy extra for delays
7. If you are boarding at usual nap time, hold him in your lap and nurse or feed with bottle as soon as the plane starts moving down the runway. Don't start when you sit down because there might be a delay. Once asleep you can move him to his car seat and have that time to yourself.

Good luck and be prepared and you'll have a great time. been there before


Last Christmas break when I flew,every familyhad brought those portable DVD players. I think that this was when DVD players really reduced in price. We had also brought one, but our kids seemed content peering throught the seats at another kid's DVD player, so we saved our videos for a later ''emergency'' Susan
Try not to worry too much. You WILL make it through the flight. Children will naturally sleep on the plane because the loud drone of the jet engines lull them to sleep. My son (now two) has had several plane flights and usually starts passing out as the engines turn on as we leave the gate, or when the engines become even louder when we take off. We also try to let him walk/run around as much as possible before the flight to get some of that energy out of him. I often buy some new books or toys for the plane ride and these surprises will occupy him sometimes for a long time and sometimes for a short time. Also be prepared to walk him up and down the aisles when he needs to. We flew across the country when my son was 16 months old and he's VERY active and we walked around the plane a LOT!

Other kids will be doing this and it's totally normal on the flights. I don't let my kid watch TV much at home but I am considering renting a DVD player for our next cross-country flight at Xmas time. That is something to try too for your sanity. Good luck You'll be fine!


I have a 21-month old, very active daughter and we just got back from a trip to D.C.(6 hour flight). Try not to worry to much. You will never see these people again. You can do what you can to try to make the flight as smooth as possible, but it is ultimately in his hands. If he is a good sleeper in his car seat - bring it on board. Here are some additional suggestions that may help:

1. Portable DVD player, portable DVD player, portable DVD player. This was a life saver. We are not fans of letting our daughter watch much TV, but for the flight we let her watch as much as she wanted. I'm sure a friend has one you can borrow.
2. Get some small toys that you introduce as needed. Garage sales are good places to get some cheap ones.
3. Magnet books, sticker books and/or coloring books - new to him

Good luck! Oh, and just to warn you - people will make annoying suggestions if you child does get unruly. Try to let them roll off your back. Remember, you will never see these people again. Mother of 21-month old


Active toddler on X-country flight

July 2004

I've read the recommendations about travelling with a toddler in the past and have gleaned lots of ideas for distractions. What I am wondering is if anyone has any suggestions about helping a toddler sleep on the plane. We just flew to the east coast 2 months ago and I tried the Benadryl suggestion. Unfortunately, it had the opposite effect. Despite the fact that the flight was during naptime, she was up the entire time. On the way back, without Benedryl, she slept 1 hour, in my arms (she's never been able to really sleep in her car seat). You can imagine how wired this kid, who usually takes a 3 hour nap, was during the flight. She's already extremely active -- the added mania from lack of sleep was really challenging. Also, she didn't want to sit in her car seat and when she did finally sit in it, she kicked the seat in front of her the entire time (long legs!). We have decided not to take the car seat on board this time as it takes up too much room if she's not going to sleep in it. Any suggestions for making this an easier and more restful flight? Thanks!


We've found that taking the red-eye is what works for us. Then the little one is ready to sleep. Hyland's teething tablets also have a calmative effect, and won't cause the wired reaction like benadryl. Mike
I have no relevant personal experience, but my cousin recommends taking a nonstop red-eye going east. David
My 2.5 year old also has the opposite reaction to benadryl, and he also struggles with falling asleep on the airplane. But he does sleep well in the car. So the last time we flew (in June), we took along a portable CD player and headphones. Listening to his favorite CD mellowed him out enough to have him sleep. I would be VERY hesitant not to bring a carsea! t, because at least in the carseat he's constrained, not jumping all over, looking over the front/back seats, etc. As far as kicking goes, the only solution I have found is to sit in the front row (like on Southwest, where it's open seating), or get a non-exit-row bulkhead seat, so that there is no seat to kick. Good luck! Heather
Hi, Our baby had the same problem with Benadryl but we also experimented with ''Walcare'' which is just the Walgreen's cough supressant, antihistamine. For her, it really knocks her out and she has slept her way to Costa Rica and most of the way to Malaysia. Highlands teething tablets also mellow her out and help her sleep a bit but not as well as the Walcare...experiment with it before you leave! Good Luck! Renee
Unfortunately, there's no way you can make her sleep if she doesn't want to. The Benadryl has never worked for us either. Our solution is electronic: we bring a l! aptop, a pair of headphones, and a pile of our son's favorite DVD's. We normally limit his tv viewing, but on a flight, we leave it on as long as he will watch it. Desperate times call for desperate measures! Good luck and enjoy your trip. Catherine Scholar
If you're asking about sleep, what I'd suggest is Dramamine -- we started using it because my daughter throws up when the plane lands, but the side benefit is that she sleeps through a lot of the flight. Activity on the plane is pretty tough with a toddler or even an older kid -- the physical confinement is tough -- what we've done is lots of little toys & those small sticker books; anything new helps. WHat I find difficult for myself is that I have to play very actively to keep my daughter from getting bored, when my inclination is to doze or read on the plane. Good Luck. hates flying
I've traveled a fair bit alone with my toddler, and some of the tips that worked for us are as follows: -I make a habit of picking up inexpensive, light-weight and small toys on an ongoing basis, which I then wrap and have in a hold-all with me. Of course they LOVE getting little gifts over the course of a flight. Some of the biggest hits have been a Nemo sticker book, a little farm with all of the animals from Rainforest Cafe, Russian stacking dolls (this was the very best one--probably occupied my then 2 year old for a good hour or two!) I usually stock 5-7 of these goodies for cross country when changing planes. It always pays to have more rather than less. -I tried the Benedryl too on a friend's advice. It totally wired my kid-one of our worst flights ever. I spoke to the Advice Nurse about it. She said this happ! ens with about 10% of the kids, and if so to use the opposite. So, if I recall I may have used Sudafed then on another flight successfully, but I would check with your pediatrician. I myself only used it when he was coming down with a cold and I was afraid his little sinuses could clog. I have ear/sinus problems while flying and I definitely did not want my toddler to experience that kind of pain. -I save ''special'' snacks for airplane rides and other extreme situations-those goldfish that kids love (they now have trans- fat free ones, so I don't have to feel like I could possibly be harming him), maybe some animal crackers or for a while trail mix worked wonders. I never depend on the airline and their meals. I bring complete meals for my son, including a protein, carb and fruit/veggies. This is whether we are going to LA or cross country. You never know when or where you could get stuck. For me, hunger and being tired is what starts whining. Full and happy kids that are tired just sleep.. -Under no circumstances do I let him eat or drink the hour or so before taking off. I once did, when a flight was delayed, and lived to regret it. In my experience it is imperative that they are eating or drinking (preferably both) during take-off and landing. This is the only way to insure a cry-free flight. -I didn't take his car seat for the first time just recently (he is now 3 1/2). We both loved the fact that he could have his tray table down without it, but I think before he felt more secure with it than without---I also had a much more difficult time keeping him in a seat belt than the car seat. -In my opinion, as a million mile traveler myself, under no circumstances do I allow my son to kick the seat in front of him. I've been in that seat before, and ! did not appreciate it when a parent let that go on. They paid for a quiet, safe ride too- -My friend swears by gum for her kid, but my son simply swallowed it-- -Love that Jet Blue and their Direct TV! Fly them, if at all possible. I also found their employees to be the most helpful and sympathetic to kids. -And, of course, I always travel with several of his favorite books. Yes, I know this sounds like alot of stuff, but I bought the biggest back pack I could find and basically fill it with his stuff and two things for me-my wallet and ticket! Good luck and enjoy your little traveler! Flying Mom
I empathize. We are about to take an active one-year old on a trans-Atlantic flight. Definitely don't bring the car seat on board. It will likely be much more comfortable and interesting for your child to just sit in the seat. She will feel much more grown-up, and it will be more difficult for her to kick the seat in front. When my older son was a toddler, we used to ''rehearse'' the plane ride, so that he would know what to expect and what was expected of him. We also got books about planes to help him get excited about the flight. It helps to have at least one new toy that you introduce after you are on the flight and some new books. Be prepared to spend the entire flight working to keep the child entertained. The biggest mistake I have seen parents make on airplanes is to attempt to read and leave their small ch! ildren to entertain themselves. As for books, something about Dr. Seuss always used to put my son to sleep. We would read to him in a very quiet unexciting way, and he would go right out. World Traveler

Keeping 1.5 year old happy on 17-hour-trip

April 2004

Hi, We are planning on traveling to Malaysia from SFO in August'04. It is a 17 to 18 hour flight with couple of layovers. Our daughter will be 1.5 years then. She is a very active child who does NOT like even long car rides, especially since we have to tie her up. I am really at a loss trying to figure out how to keep her happy, while maintaining my sanity and that of other passengers. Any tips regarding food, toys, timing, activities in the plane, seating, strollers (should we take them ?) would be highly appreciated. Thanks all! Bharathi


You don't say what airline you are flying on - but I would recommend flying an airline that has individual TV screens where they show endless loops of movies and usually also have a special channel for kids. Singapore Air and Japan Air have these screens but the American carriers often do not. I flew frequently to the US from Asia when my kids were small and this was the SAVING grace of these long flights. Even if it's the same show over and over the kids would remain fairly well entranced with them which helped ease the having-to-sit part of the flight. Remember, if the flight attendants tell you to sit down and buckle up during turbulence, on the int'l flights they really mean it, no matter what your kid wants to do! SM
I do not know about international flights but we took our baby when he was 6 mths to NY. He did great. Pack toys that keep her occupied, sorting toys, pencils and paper, books, etc. Also pack a brand new toy she has not seen beforeBI suggest a Doodle Pro by Fisherprice. Our son loves this, now 11 months. We spent our time playing with everything we brought as well as with the phone attached to the seat, the tray table, the buttons on the arm of the chair, and the seat belts. We also spent a lot of time walking up and down the isle. People seem to find it cute to see little ones walking around and our son loved all the attention. We also hung out in the back of the plane where the flight attendants prepare food trays. At the end of the flight the man sitting in front of us, actually thank us, and complimented on how good our baby was. Regarding the car seat and stroller: Definitely take the stroller onto the gateway. You will park it at the plane entrance and the airline will load it on the plane. It will be there at the door when you get off your plane. We did not bring our car seat onto the planeBits bulky and another item to try to cart around. Our son seemed to do great without it, where as a couple of other babies were in their seats and cried most of the flight. I am sure it is because they were to confined. Our son loved being able to move back and forth between my husband and I. During take off and landing I held him and nursed him. This comforted him and prevented his ears from hurting, so he did not cry even once! Renee

Flying cross-country with a very active 15 month old

Feb 2004 I'm going to be flying from Oakland to Wash DC in February on a non-stop flight and in a small way I am sort of dreading it. My son is very active (not overly active, but active enough) and while he will sit in his car seat for maybe an hour in the car happy, I know he won't want to sit there for 4-5 hours. So my question is this: what ways can I distract him or play with him so he's not a totally huge nuisance? He's pretty good natured and moderately distractable, but I'm worried it won't last long. The flight is during the day, 9-12, so I hope he'll nap, but I can't count on that. As far as car seats go, should I even take it on the plane with me? If there's a big bulky seat in the way, the open seat can't be played on or whatever...I could keep him on my lap with me during takeoff and landing. I dunno-- suggestions please suggestions...
I flew to the east coast in August when my daughter was 15 months. I got lots of great ideas on keeping her entertained from the archives. One of the most succesful items was a small Magnadoodle, which was much easier and neater to use on the plane than crayons and paper and exciting for her because it was novel-- she both liked drawing and telling us what to draw. Another activity that kept her amused for quite a while was using tape to stick cut-out magazine pictures of her favorite objects (puppies, babies, kitties, etc) on the upright tray infront of us and the plane window, etc. I cut a bunch of small pictures out of catalogs and magazines and put them in an envelope before we left.

Also, I went to Mr Mopps and bought several little toys to amuse her for under a dollar each-- a few small animals, a little fan, a top, etc. I brought along some catalogs with lots of pictures of kids and toys in them and some paperback books (much lighter than board books to carry) which I hid from her for a few weeks ahead of time. I tried to avoid things that could roll away. Thanks to advice in the archives, we safety-pinned an organizer designed for cars to the back of the seat in front of us and our daughter loved opening the various pockets to get out her water and her toys, and it kept things easily accessible for us even during meal times.

Also, I didn't use this at the time, but when I got home I discovered that she is completely fascinated by Mr Potato Head, so I now keep that out of her reach normally and get it out when I need 15 minutes to myself. My daughter wouldn't sit happily in her carseat for anywhere near an hour normally, so maybe you won't need to bring quite as many distractions as I did. We have always brought the carseat in the plane because she will nap in it, but I did sort of regret it this last time. We have the Britax Roundabout and when she's in it you can't put the tray down and she pretty much tortured the person in front of her everytime she was in it kicking the back of his seat. As a result, she was basically in our laps or pacing the aisles the whole time she was awake. I think it would have been a lot more comfortable for us without the carseat, but we'd have had to trade the safety of having her in the seat for take-off and landing and the ability to have her nap well. Good luck and happy travels! Caroline


I said I would never do this, but we have recently been on lots of long flights with our 18 month old, very active son, and we bought a por! table DVD player. It saved our lives. My son normally doesn't watch a lot of TV, which made him all the more excited to watch some Elmo DVDs on the plane. I don't know what we would have done without it. In addition we also had a bag full of new small toys and books which we brought out one by one over the hours. that helped. Also, it was very very helpful to have his carseat on the plane. He was strapped in just like he is used to being in the car. He napped in his car seat too. So anyway, good luck. anon
We flew a few times when our twin boys were about that age from Hawaii to LA and from Hawaii to Chicago! The first time we tried to be safety conscious parents and bring their carseats with us but it was a huge hassle lugging them around and they never wanted to sit in them anyway. On the return flight we checked! them and they were much happier sitting in the roomy chairs playing. We had a portable DVD player for the 9 hour Chicago flight and that was a total blessing. Not cheap but worth the few hours of entertainment value. They also were very well entertained by a big sheet of stickers which they stuck to the back of the seat in front of them and by a couple of magnadoodles. I don't enjoy flying and hate it even more with kids but those were a few of the ways we made the trips bearable. Good luck, CB
OK, some people probably won't approve of this method, but it sure has made my life a lot easier. My son is two and I first discovered the magic of DVD's on the airplane after a miserable trip when he was 15 months old. I can keep him quiet for 45 minutes to an hour and he doesn't even need the sound on (I bought earphones and he uses them off a! nd on). I bring my laptop and a few DVD's (well worth the extra weight) and just pull them out and play whatever he chooses. It only works for a short period of time, but the peace is rejuvenating. That said, I almost never get direct flights, so there's always a break in a coast-to-coast trip to alleviate boredome. Other good tricks are snacks -- keeps him busy for a little while. Crayons (washable) and stickers. Books (hide the ones you want to use on the way home so that they're ''fresh.''). We also take occasional trips to the restroom and gawk at the other passengers. As far as the car seat goes, I traveled with one for the first time in December. It was heavy, but well worth it because it kept him sedentary and out of trouble, and enabled him to nap since he occasionally sleeps in it in the car -- he was used to the concept. When he was on my lap, naps ! on planes were hit or miss. I plan on using the seat for future travel until he gets big enough to sit comfortably in an adult seat. Personally, I think that airlines should provide car seats (like car rental agencies) for a small fee so we wouldn't have to lug the darn things around in the terminals! Digital Media Mom

12-hour plane trip with 15-month-old

We are going to travel overseas with our 15 month old child. It'll take about 12 hours to get there (flight + connections) and I've heard parents say one should bring lots of new toys for entertainment. Any tips on what works best? I would only get one or two things, so I'm curious to get ideas on toys/activities that keep babies fascinated for these long trips.
I do a lot of traveling with my kids and this is what I have noticed: They are fascinated by cups with ice in them, playdough with little things to manipulate (like a plastic knife, for instance), books, velcro pieces to "glue and unglue" (I used a small piece of felt, and stuck velcro on things like a ping pong ball, a small box, a lid, a large marker), stickers, a real lock and key, a couple of markers. Keep it all secret till the day of the trip. Save your cards! Space things out so that you do not run out of stuff to do. Take lots of walks in the plane if possible, and let the kid run off steam at the airport as much as possible. Bubbles are good for the airports. Good luck!
1. Have your child drink from a sippy cup during take off and landing to help the ear pressure. Bring a lightweight cooler packed with one of those ice packs to hold milk (don't bring the milk, as the airlines have it, just ask for some with each meal and keep it cool for when you need it) tissues, wipes, napkins and some cereal/snacks (the stewards are always busy when you need these things!)

2. Reserve a basinette. Most international airlines (not US ones, though) have these for babies. Your child can play in it, sleep, or sit there a while so you can eat (except during take off or landing). We lucked out because the family next to us didn't use theirs -- our 18 month old slept all the way from New York to Frankfurt.

3. Bring some brand new toys/books that your child has never before seen. Sometimes inexpensive disposible things work well. Large, colorful plastic paper clips were a surprisingly cheap and fun hit for our kids. We made chains, necklaces and bracelets and passed them out to other passengers and the stewards. I paid $1.49 for them, so no loss when they fall into the seat cracks and on the floor. (Of course closely supervised in case of choking).

4. Our doc recommended bringing Benedryll to help the kids sleep, just in case we needed it. We did-- our 3 year old had a major night terror (due to lack of sleep?) it calmed him and he slept thru a layover!

5. Do laps around the plane when the fasten seat belts sign is off. They need to get the energy out.


We took our daughter to Australia when she was 18 months old... with flights of 1 hour (SF-LA), then 14 hrs (LA-Sydney) then 2.5 hours (Sydney to Adelaide). It actually wasn't too bad... jet lag once we got there was a bigger pain in my opinion. Anyway, here are my ideas: you asked specifically about new toys as gifts. At that age, kids love anything wrapped up in pretty paper even if it's just a box of goldfish or a juice box. So wrap up all the snacks, wrap up some of her books, etc. You can hide some of her small books or toys away a month before the flight, then they'll seem really new to her once she opens them. If your kid is not already drinking juice boxes, she is old enough to figure them out and will probably be quite excited by them. They're good for sipping on (or sippy cups, too) during take-off and landing to equalize pressure. Bring a salty snack to give her so she'll want to sip the drink! If you can possibly afford it, buy her her own seat. If the flight is full, you'll be really uncomfortable having her on your lap the whole way. Plus you can bring her carseat, which is probably very comfy for her to sleep in. Finally, it's very stressful changing planes, especially if you have to go from a domestic terminal to an international one (and LAX is especially bad), so make sure you've booked plenty of time for a layover. Good luck!
Travelling overseas w/15 month old child. Sorry, there is no magic toy that will keep your baby fAscinated for 12 hours. The good news is that the movement of people, stewardesses etc. are likely to be much more interesting to your baby. Be ready for a squirmy baby who wants to explore and take the baby for walks up and down and around the aisles. Also, your baby will probably sleep for a lot of the trip as the motion/sound of the plane is very soothing. Have lots of snacks, a cozy blanket and plenty of changes of clothes and diapers, favorite stuffed toys, and lots of small things your baby likes to do-I used to take small picture books, and small toys (variety and distraction are key here). Most importantly, take something for baby to suck on if not breastfeeding-bottle or pacifier as this helps with the ear pressure during take off and landing, and take plenty of powdered milk or formula or whatever your baby drinks. If your baby is used to falling asleep in the carseat, take it on and strap the baby in, they fall asleep and you can rest or read without having to hold onto the baby, and of course its safer for them. ( I used to cover my daughter like a canary with her baby blanket and she'd fall asleep without the lights bothering her, or being distracted by the unfamiliar exciting surroundings). Also take a change of top for you as baby's have a way of making the meal end up all over you too.
For a trip that long, I would bring about six or seven new toys for my toddler to play with on the plane. I have found that they don't need to be "major" toys, just something new. I buy them very cheap at the Salvation Army or a used toy store or at a "99 cent" store (or at a very cheap kiosk in Moscow). I try to avoid things that roll very much, because it's bound to end up on the floor, rolling halfway down the airplane, or things with many small parts, because they're bound to get lost in the seat crack. A little stuffed animal or puppet is great. One recent success was a little Eeyore with a suction cup--my daughter delighted sticking the suction cup on and off the tray table in front of her. A new book is good, or stickers. I once has great luck with an electronic noise-making toy (with a cotton ball taped over the speaker to mufle the noise a bit). I also bring lots of my own snacks for my daughter, and several juice boxes -- sure, snacks and juice are available on the plane, but are they there are available on the plane, but are they there quickly enough? I also bring about a liter of water for me to drink. Bon Voyage!!
Our longest flight has been 5 1/2 hours non-stop to Hawaii and we've travelled a lot cross country non-stop for business along with our daughter. I always put together a set of things to do on the plane that are either new from the store or I've stashed several weeks before the flight so it seems new again. People always comment on 'how good' our daughter is at the end of the flight. Normally she's hell on wheels so I attribute our success to the combination of distractions we successfully deploy. Here's our list:

Mr. Potato Head (unbelievable how long she enjoys this, ears on top of the head or in the nose, tongue in her mouth, mommie's mouth, daddie's mouth, hat on all of us, etc.)

A baggie full of about 10 to 12 Lego parts (the big ones), I always include some of the new type that have eyes imprinted on them or some of the people and animals that plug in (not too many to drop on the floor but enough to build interesting configurations over and over again)

Crayola stamp pens, I try to get a new kind for each trip, if your child hasn't played with these before they'll really be a hit

Polly Pocket or variation, these are miniature plastic doll houses or locket style houses that have little characters, the Minnie and Mickey mouse castle locket provided at least an hour of fun

Paper back picture books, they're light and easier to carry than hard backs and board books

A baggie full of Cheerios


I used to buy several new paperback children's books and wrap them up. I used newspaper to wrap them figuring it was cheaper than real wrapping paper and that my 2 year old wouldn't notice what they were wrapped in. Then I would have her unwrap them one at a time and then I would read it to her. This worked pretty well to keep her occupied, quiet and relaxed.

I'd also bring way more clothes on the plane than you think you'll need. I ran out of clean clothes once - really awful. Also lots of food. Either they're asleep when the airline food comes or they get hungry in between or they won't eat what's offered. Definitely call ahead of time and reserve a child's meal. At least that way they'll be a greater likelihood that your child will eat something.


Other than sleep we brought lots of diversions for the trip: snacks, snacks and more snacks, books, small toys. One trick with the toys that I got from the Neighborhood Moms newsletter is to gift wrap many small toys and bring them out gradually. This worked well.
I can't think of any great travel tricks except to wear clothes ready to be totally encrusted with juice/crackers/drool/crayon by arrival and expect the worst--sometimes it's actually not bad at all and then you're pleasantly surprised. And allow plenty of time to get to the airport early--it's actually not a bad place to kill time with a kid, watching the planes through the window--and nothing makes a long plane ride harder than parents frazzled by a rush to the plane.
This is not about how to keep you child occupied/happy on the flight, but... you probably want to find out ahead of time, if possible, what movie(s) will be shown on the flight, and if it is NOT something you want your child to be seeing request a seat where it is at least difficult to see the movie. I have had a few unpleasant experiences where I didn't do this and then had to try to cope with my child being stuck right in front of a movie that was TOTALLY unappropriate for someone her age (sex, violence, gore, you name it). Anyway this is something to keep in mind... Caroline

Entertainment for toddler on plane trip to Europe

Jan 2002

i have a 15 month old and am planning a trip to europe. we are looking for good, not too bulky plane entertainment. we have books what else is worth shclepping? jessica


We have been taking long plane rides ( some as far as from the US to India, which is the other end of the earth) with our son since he was 6 months old. He is six now . The following things have worked well for us----- a new book that your child has never seen before( on a topic that is interesting to him/her), a tape which had all his favorite songs in one ( you will have to make the effort to put all favorites together so that you carry only one tape) with one of those little casette players with headphones -- the sporty ones, small objects with sparkles and materials and fluids filled inside that you can shake and look at ( like those Las Vegas key chains), good thin activity book ( you can buy good ones for your child's age at sweet dreams on college), favorite small soft toys, favorite snack in a funny colorful box ( preferably one that takes a long time to eat like dry cereal) and even though we are not big on TV watching on international flights the cartoons have rescued us many times. They give you food many times on international flights and I have seen that many children like to open up the silverware and generally like to play with all the small salt and pepper packets etc. Bipasha
One thing I always took (once I thought of it) was a length of 1/4 inch wide elastic a yard or two long (your can take two and give one away!). If you tie one end to something like your wrist, you can tie a toy to the other end and "reel it in" instead of spending the whole trip retrieving it from under the seat. You can tie the neck of a baby bottle to it, instead, or a pacifier, or almost anything. If you tie both ends to the seat in front of you and/or the baby, thread toys onto the elastic and they move back and forth. Your little guy can even play games snapping it on the back of the seat (not too obnoxious).

Part of the difficulty is packing what you need, and no more. Definitely a toy or two (that you can attach to the elastic), and a book or two. I also always took finger food like Cheerios, diapers for 24 hours (in case you are delayed) a change of clothes for me, and two changes for the toddler. Cabin attendants are often very helpful, if you ask them. Have fun! Heather


I've done this trip to Europe many times with small kids. For a 15 month old I recommend small puppets of some kind. They (or rather, your fingers operating them) distract the child from the overwhelming and repeated desire to run up into First Class from about hour four of a 10 hour flight. Good Luck! Hilary
I swear by the mini Magna Doodle for long airplane flights. It's very engaging and doesn't have any parts that can drop on the ground, roll away, or otherwise get lost. We also got a lot of entertainment mileage out of a simple hand puppet and a big sticker book. And of course, we saved all these new items for the plane ride so they were extra exciting. Janet
I recommend a travel Magna Doodle. ( Mr. Mopps probably has them) It's the small size of one of those drawing tablets that is magnetic or something and you slide the levor to wipe away the old and start a new drawing. My kids traveled with them for years. Also if your child likes music or stories you might try an inexpensive walkman tape player. This works great with older kids but 15mos maybe young for that. lynn
on a recent plane ride, another mother lent my daughter (21 mos.) a set of those Russian dolls, one inside another. Kept her busy for probably 40 minutes! Might be a bit advanced for a 15-month-old to manipulate, but just thought i'd pass that on. Nice and compact for travelling. The main thing is new toys. Or new objects of any sort. Mary
My daughter loved the following at that age: small amount of playdough (in a baggie) and a plastic garlic press to make playdough noodles, a child's rolling pin and a few cookie cutters; those boards that have holes in them where you can weave yarn through to complete cute pictures; a child's tape recorder with headset (they are light) with favorite music tapes (this occupied her a great deal of the time!); crayons/paper/coloring books; sticker books (Mr. Mops and Cody's have nice ones). I always bring a koosch ball to keep in my purse for the long airport lines to toss back and forth (15 months may be too young for tossing/catching; I can't remember!). I also always wrap age-appropriate surprises (tiny little dolls, fairy items, small jewelry) that I dole out at intervals on the plane.

A trick that saved us: bring an EagleCreek type of zippered bag that has several mesh (see-through) compartments to store your crayons/etc in. Attach two large safety pins to the top of it. When you board the plane, pin the bag onto the seat in front of you. You will be able to pull the tray down under it for eating and drawing (because the bottom of it is free). It enables you to have ready access to the toys, crayons, etc. without having to close up the tray to get to that woefully inadequate and hard-to-get to pocket storage that's already too full of barf bags and airline programming magazines. Good luck! Linda


As for toys, depends on your child's age, but Target offered a good selection of small, new things--colorform storyboards, stickers, playdough keychain. Once on a trip to Ixtapa our daughter (then two and a half) played with a .99 set of plastic animals from Toys R Us for an hour. Consignment stores also sometimes have great finds for small bucks. carolyn
I see you got some good responses but here are some from flights with my 15 mo old:
* stickers - not for art but for sticking/peeling over and over
* tiny squeeze flashlight - I bring one anyway, but it's my "ace in
the hole" on the plane in case he gets really bored
* bubbles in a tiny container (wedding favors)- can be messy but fun 
* new tiny popup book

Ideas you don't have to carry with you:
* familiar songs/rhymes - these I whisper in his ear to stop wails
* in flight magazine - usually magazines are off limits but I let 
him mangle every one, and spent a LOT of time pointing out every 
doggy,phone, etc. in the pictures
* looking around/standing on my lap - friendly fellow passengers 
can be a great distraction
* generally, think creatively - use tone of voice, repeating movement
games, and take advantage of their fascination with manual
dexterity (ie playing with a jacket zipper) to distract and amuse.
Enjoy! Frankly after a 2.5 week trip (7 flights in late Sept.) with our 15 mo. old we decided that travelling with him we had more fun than we would have before he was born, despite twice the hassle and three times more gear. -Charis
I got this trick from a "Reader Tip" section in one of my Parenting magazines a couple years ago.

If you have a hand-held camcorder, you can record your child's favorite videos onto 8mm tapes (my husband put the camcorder right in front of the TV, turned the volume very high and put the speakers next to the camcorder, then pushed play on the TV and record on the camcorder and that's how we did it! \) and then play them for your child on the plane.

This trick also works well if you don't have a TV/VCR or DVD/LCD screen in your vehicle on long trips. Our camcorder is a SHARP Viewcam so it's perfect because we got the larger screen (4 inch) and it's not flip-out so it can actually rest on something facing the children. I'm sure if you're creative enoughand desparate enough, you could figure out a way to use the flip-out screen model as well.

On the plane, however, either model would work as you could just place it in your lap for the child to see. We used this for our then 11 month old and 23 month old on a trip from Oakland to Florida (we actually switched three times and rode 5 different planes) last year and it worked like a CHARM. And everyone around us was so grateful for our creativity and ingenuity in keeping our children occupied during the five PACKED-OUT (four of which had not ONE seat left available) flights (which could have been a NIGHTMARE with two toddlers!). Happy flying! April


I traveled alone with my then 22 month old back East last year. It was a grand tour that involved 12 hour, and two 9 hour train rides in addition to the flights there and back. I couldn't carry as much as liked since I had all of our baggage and equipment to manage. I did bring a variety of new toys and books, but these were not worth their weight. The things that really saved the day were construction paper, scissors, and a roll of scotch tape. I cut out animal shapes and let Isaac tape them onto to the window to create dioramas. Then we made puppets. Then we made collages. You can use a paintbrush dipped in water to make Zen paintings on the colored paper. Try paper dolls or little farms with cabbages. It was a lot of work but very fun. Debra
Re: Entertainment on Long Plane Rides & Editing Ads out of Kid's Videos Both of these pieces of advice involved re-recording video using a camcorder.

Double check your camcorder's manual. Many modern camcorders, such as the Canon ZR-10, or any of the Firewire cameras compatible with Macintosh iMovie, can be directly connected to a VCR, to make a high resolution, copy of a video tape. Much higher quality than pointing your camera at a TV. I just did a test on a Disney tape, and got a high quality copy (even though the original Disney tape is presumably protected with the Macrovision copy-protection system.) Once you've made a copy in the camera, you can make a second copy back onto conventional VHS tape to omit the ads. (I didn't test this.)

Also, many modern laptop computers can record VHS quality signals onto DiVX;-) format video. See the web site: for more information. You can either leave the movie as a file on your laptop's hard disk, or you can burn it onto a CD-R. The http://www.ati.com/na/pages/products/mac/xclaim_tv_usb/ and http://www.ati.com/na/pages/products/pc/tv_wonder_usb/ are two inexpensize video digitizers.

-- David


I've seen previous posts asking for advice on plane trips with babies, and wanted to share what I feel was a flash of genius on my last trip with my 15-month old during our four hour flight to Chicago. He had his own seat (an expenditure I personally believe to be well worth the money), and before I buckled his car seat in, I took one of the big blankets that the airline provides and anchored one end under the seat and tucked the other end into the seat pocket, creating a "sling" in front of his seat. That way when he got tired of a toy and dropped or threw it down, I didn't have to repeatedly unbuckle my seat belt and wedge myself into the tiny space between my seat and the seat in front of me and wrench my back trying to reach the toy on the floor, but instead I could simply pluck it out of the sling. Also, his favorite toy was the strap on my carryon bag - I detached it and gave it to him to work with, because it has a similar mechanism to the straps on his stroller and high chair, which he finds fascinating. Fran (July 2000)
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