Know When It's Safe to Travel With a Newborn
Lifestyle • by Rita Tarnate • Oct 26, 2020 • 2 min read
Having a newborn doesn’t completely rule out travel. While you may be wondering what age your baby can start traveling, it all depends on where you’re going and how you’re getting there.
Travel has proven benefits for children of all ages. Just know that there are important factors to consider before you visit out-of-town relatives or take a family vacation.
There are many reasons to stay home for the first few weeks after birth. Mom needs time to heal, your new family is adjusting, and the baby’s schedule is not yet predictable.
Most importantly, avoiding large crowds helps your baby’s developing immune system. Babies under 6 months old cannot receive the flu vaccine, so you definitely want to take extra precautions during the cold and flu season.
When travel is essential, like taking your child home after adoption, wait for the doctor to clear you, regularly wash your hands, and sanitize things like pacifiers and bottles.
For most newborns, their first trip is the car ride home from the hospital. From errands to nearby outings, car travel is safe as long as you have an infant car seat. You can even take a taxi or ride-share service.
Most hospitals won’t discharge you without a car seat, and they’ll perform a safety check to make sure it’s properly installed. You can visit your local fire station for installation help or search for a car seat technician.
Remember to place your infant in the back of the car. They should be in a rear-facing seat until they turn two or reach the height or weight limits of the seat.
Your newborn’s spine is still developing so, keep the 2-hour rule in mind. Car seats are designed to keep your baby safe when traveling but stick to short rides that are 2 hours or less.
There is no age restriction for passenger trains, commuter rails, or your city’s local transit system. When riding trains, remember to protect your baby’s immune system by practicing good hygiene. You should also consider wearing your baby or keeping them in a car seat. The seat will provide some protection even when there is no way to secure it in place.
During their first 2 months, babies born at sea level should avoid traveling to destinations above 8,000 feet (sorry skiers!). However, air travel is safe because the cabin air on a plane is pressurized.
Most pediatricians say it’s okay to fly with a healthy newborn between 4 to 6 weeks of age, but you should always consult your doctor. If you had complications during birth, have a premature baby, or if your baby has respiratory problems, avoid travel until your doctor says it’s okay.
Unlike car and train travel, airlines impose age restrictions and may require a doctor’s note or proof of age. Some allow passengers as young as 2 days old but, the minimum age varies so, check the airline’s policy before booking a flight for your newborn.
Make sure your baby has a valid passport before taking them abroad. Passports are required for all international travel, regardless of age. If you’re entering a new country by air, car, train, or sea, you’ll need a passport.
Talk to your doctor about your child’s vaccination schedule, and ask about any risks or concerns before visiting areas where diseases like measles, mumps, chickenpox, and hepatitis B are more common.
Please leave a comment and tell us how old your little traveler was when they took their first trip?