WHAT CAN BABY BRING ON A PLANE?
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by Kristin Young | Updated On: July 27, 2019
Flying with a baby just inherently brings up a lot of unknowns, but one of the most commonly asked questions is “what can baby bring on a plane?”. Not only are there things like baby food, wipes, and formula to worry about, but also gear like strollers and car seats. Here we will break it all down for you so you can pack accordingly, and be prepared for navigating the airport with a baby.
LIQUIDS BABY CAN BRING
We are all well versed in the 3-1-1 TSA Liquids Rule, but baby gets some exceptions. All of the following are allowed for infants and toddlers, in “reasonable quantities”. These items will require additional security checks, so make sure to have them well packaged and easily accessible. Official TSA Documentation
WATER, JUICE, FORMULA, BREASTMILK, AND GEL OR ICE PACKS
Notify the TSA agent that you have larger quantities of liquids, and place them in a separate bin for additional screening. Typically each bottle or pouch of liquid must be tested individually.
Breastmilk and accompanying gel or ice packs are allowed to be carried on even if not traveling with a child.
I wrap my packets of breastmilk in newspaper(an insulating trick I learned from a caterer), and pack it in a smashable cooler like this one.
Remember that rules are constantly changing, so check with the TSA and airline before traveling.
READ MORE: FLYING WHILE BREASTFEEDING OR PUMPING
BABY FOOD AND BABY FOOD POUCHES
Cans, jars, and pouches of baby food are allowed in excess of the liquids rule. Recently, we have been asked to take out not only these kinds of food but ALL food, and place it in a separate tray for screening.
Save the spoons for home, and bring easy squeezable baby food pouches with you on the plane.
WIPES, DIAPER CREAM, & GEL OR LIQUID TEETHERS
Don’t forget that these items will need special screening as well. If left in your bag, it will slow the security process.
Essentially any “reasonable amounts” of extra liquids are allowed, as long as they are for a baby or toddler (described as a child needing adult assistance to walk through the screening process).
This TSA Youtube video will give you a pretty good idea of what TSA will be like with a baby, although the lines of impatient passengers behind you seem to be missing.
A stroller is often a necessity when traveling with a baby. However, they can quickly turn into a headache without proper planning.
WHAT TYPE OF STROLLER TO BRING
Our tried and true travel stroller is an umbrella stroller with a yoga strap for easy carrying. They are inexpensive to buy, so you won’t feel too bad if it gets torn up by cobble stone streets or rough baggage handling. Plus, if it breaks, you can generally pick another one up pretty inexpensively just about anywhere, even while on the road.
Since most umbrella strollers are for children over 4 months old, those traveling with a newborn will probably need to bring along something more substantial. We love the City Mini GT. It folds up pretty compact, handles all kinds of terrain, and will keep a sleeping baby comfortably napping in the shade during a long day of hiking or city wandering.
TICKET COUNTER OR GATE CHECK
Typically we are big proponents of checking our stroller through at the ticket counter. The less gear to tote around the airport and through security, the better.
Although you can take the stroller all the way to the gate, at security you will have to REMOVE THE BABY, BREAK DOWN THE STROLLER, AND PUT IT THROUGH THE SCREENER, ALL WHILE CARRYING BABY. We always use a carrier like this through the airport.
Toddlers are often too big to fit in a baby carrier, but still can’t be relied upon to walk through the airport. When traveling with toddlers, we usually take the umbrella stroller to the gate.
READ MORE: SURVIVING THE AIRPORT WITH A BABY
If baby is traveling with his own seat, and not as a lap infant, you can bring the car seat on the plane. This is the safest way for babies to fly. We, however, like the convenience of either leaving the car seat at home, or checking it. So, whether buying a seat for our guys or not, we have never brought the seat on the plane.
READ MORE: LAP INFANT VS. SEAT INFANT
If you do check your car seat, make sure you have a car seat travel bag. There are lots of straps and pads that need to be kept together, and we’ve all seen how carefully checked bags are loaded. Bonus: they usually include backpack-style straps for easy carrying. Oh, and there’s often room to squish in a few last-minute items.
If you purchased a seat for baby, he will get the same baggage allowance as any other passenger. But, if baby is flying as a lap infant, he will typically be limited to a carry-on diaper bag, and the extras listed above.
Always make sure to check with your airline on their baggage policy.
Airlines and airport security make many exceptions for parents traveling with babies and young children, but make sure to always double check allowances before you go. The rules are constantly being tweaked, so it's better safe than sorry.