Dad

Travelling with kids

You have been dreaming about going on a vacation or visiting your family that lives far away? Travelling with children is possible; all you have to do is follow a couple simple rules.

Only newborns under 7 days old are not accepted on an airplane. If your little one is older, there are no particular restrictions on flying. However, it is recommended to check with your airline to avoid any upsetting surprises. For example, it is recommended to wait until your child is at least 3 weeks old before sitting through a transatlantic flight.

Is it free or not?

If you are travelling in Canada or in the United States, most carriers will allow your little one to travel for free as long as he sits on an adult’s lap.  For international flights, it may be possible to obtain a reduced price depending on which airline company you are flying with. Also, try to book seats near the aisle to be more comfortable if you need to walk around with the baby or make frequent trips to the washroom. Some airline companies even have small beds for you to place your sleeping baby in.

In addition, take note that a baby over two years of age who has his own seat must be placed in a restraining child seat for safety purposes.

Passport

Since December 11th 2001, travelling Canadian children, including newborns, must have their own travelling documents. This policy was implanted to fight trafficking of millions of children around the world. These children are often sold for slavery, prostitution or worse. By making sure that every child has his own identification documents including a valid picture, the child’s protection was thereby increased. If you are a parent and you have a valid passport in which your name and your child’s name are registered, this document will only be valid for your child and yourself until its expiration date.

There are two exceptions. If your child plans to travel without you or if he turns 16 years old, he must have his own documents. By visiting the website Passport Canada, you will be able to download the required documents. It is also recommended to bring your child’s birth certificate. It is easy to carry and will solve any misunderstanding at the customs. Also, if only one parent is travelling with a child, prepare a written letter stating the other parent’s consent. Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada has posted an example of a letter on its website.

Pregnant women

A pregnant woman who has never had a premature delivery and is having a healthy pregnancy can travel up until the 36th week of pregnancy. However, it is recommended to call your carrier before booking your flight.

Health

Even if your little one is in great health, a visit to the doctor’s office before leaving is always a good idea. It is even more important if your baby hasn’t received all the recommended vaccines. Also, a vaccine against Hepatitis A is appropriate if you are heading to a tropical destination. However, the traveller’s clinic does not give vaccines to children under the age of one. Asking your doctor for advice remains the best way to be pointed into the right direction.

If your child takes any form of medication, make sure to have the original containers showing the official prescription. This precaution could save you a lot of trouble with the authorities at the airport.

Before taking off, take a look at different reports entitled Travel Advice Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. These reports hold very useful advice on security, visas and health conditions in over 200 destinations.

Suitcases

You can leave many items in your suitcase that will be transported to the airplane’s baggage hold but remember to keep a handbag with you to carry useful items

Beware of new rules forbidding water bottles, hygienic products and bottles of all sorts. Make sure to contact your airline company to have all the necessary information.

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