If you’ve ever read an article or Facebook post about flying, you’ll know that many passengers say that travelling near a baby or small child is top of the list for their worst flight experiences. This can mean that most people feel at least a little anxious before flying with young children, so Schofields has some great tips for parents planning to take a flight with their little bundles of joy.

The first thing you want to keep in my while booking your flights is whether that airline allows you to pre-book seats. Then, use Seatguru to find the best seats possible for your family. If you can afford to buy an extra seat for your baby or toddler, it’s likely to make the experience better for everyone involved. Consider booking the window and aisle seats in a row, and if the flight isn’t full you may even end up with an extra seat (plus it’s unlikely that anyone wouldn’t want to switch if the flight does happen to be full).

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It’s also crucial to pack wisely and plan ahead for every conceivable outcome. That means sickness, accidents, spills, and anything else that could happen while you’re flying. Check that your hand luggage has plastic bags, medication, extra clothes, plastic bags, toys, pillows, and anything else your child requires to be happy and comfortable.

Security can be a nightmare with young kids, and it seems like the lines just keep getting longer. Consider prebooking a security fast-track voucher, so you can avoid these lines and have less time waiting around with the children. Not sure you want to invest in the fast track? Stick to lines on the left hand side since most people will naturally choose to go right.

Many airlines will invite families with young children to board early, so take this chance to avoid needing to check a bag at the gate. If you have the option, it can be worth paying for priority boarding so you’re not separated from your bags, and you have time to get the kids nice and comfortable and settled before everyone else begins boarding. For those who have kids who like to run around, consider splitting up and having one partner go on ahead and get settled while the other gives the kids more time before they’re in a confined space.

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We’ve all been on a plane with a baby that won’t stop screaming, and it’s because their little ears are unable to regulate the pressure like ours. If you’ve ever flown with a cold and been unable to clear your ears, this is often what small babies are feeling, so it’s easy to have some sympathy. Consider scheduling feeds so that they’re during take-off and landing as the sucking and swallowing will help relieve the pressure on their ears, and for toddlers or older kids, give them a lollipop so they can suck it while the plane is ascending or descending.