How to help your child sleep on a plane

First Class Kid MAIN
A must have travel item to help your child sleep on a plane

We love to travel, but what we don’t love is the thought of being on a 9+ hour plane ride with our two young boys.

Why? Because traveling with kids sometimes sucks.

It’s difficult planning, organizing, and making sure we’ve thought of everything. What snacks, toys, activities, should we bring? And then there’s strategizing, should we or shouldn’t we bring the car seat on plane? All these thoughts were running through my head after we booked our flight to Ireland.

It is a 9 ½ hour flight to Dublin and we have young boys who need to be kept entertained – for both the sanity of us, other passengers, and for their enjoyment of the experience. Thankfully, they both love to fly.

A while back we wrote a story about bringing our car seat on board the plane. It was the best decision for us at the time, but Connor is getting older now and I started to question if this would be a good idea on such a long flight. A car seat, although great for little ones, takes up a lot of room. Connor can nap in his car seat but he’s got a max of about 2 hours before he starts to get uncomfortable. I was really hoping that both kids would sleep longer than that, so I started looking for an alternative.

First Class Kid all ready and in place

First Class Kid all ready and in place

I wanted something that didn’t take up a lot of space, and it would allow our boys to sleep comfortably on a plane. 1st Class Kid Travel Pillow came up in my research and I immediately knew that this would help.

One of the things that I hate most on a plane is that when I’m trying to sleep, I can’t prop up my legs. After a while my legs get uncomfortable, and I just want them elevated. The same goes for our kids, but for them it’s much worse. They have their little legs dangling the entire flight, and it’s impossible for them to sleep unless they rest their legs on you or somehow on the seat next you – basically pushing you off the seat (at least this is what happens to us).

I'm able to take a break and stretch out too

I’m able to take a break and stretch out too

1st Class Kid Travel Pillow is a very simple idea. It’s a blow up square that fits in the area where the kids’ feet go. It extends the seat so kids’ can stretch out without leaving their feet to dangle. But, the most important part is that it doesn’t hinder the front passenger’s ability to recline. The person in front is free to recline as they please.

Our kids loved it. They both used it the entire flight and when they weren’t using it, it allowed me to stretch out my legs to rest. We had it blown up both when they were sleeping and awake. Our older son immediately asked for it when we got on our second flight to come home. He must have liked it, because I didn’t prompt him asking if he wanted it or not.

How did the sleeping go?

It worked out really well and did exactly what I needed it to do – support their little legs. The boys both were comfy and able to stretch out more to get a better rest.

Comfy and almost asleep

Comfy and almost asleep. In this picture, I’ve stretched out onto the pillow and Connor has his feet next to me. This way also works well!

How does it work?

You can either manually blow it up or you can use the air ventilation system found on older planes. We were on a newer plane so we didn’t have the air ventilation system, but it was simple to blow up using our mouths.

Would we use it again?

Absolutely! And, I would even use it without the kids to help prop up my feet on a long haul flight. I prefer the window seat when I’m not traveling with kids, so it would work perfect.

Anything we didn’t like?

The only thing I didn’t like was that it was hard to access our kid’s toys from their suitcases that were stored under the seat. But we learned our lesson and for the second flight we put the boy’s suitcases in the overhead compartment for easy access to toys and games.

Success a sleeping toddler

Success a sleeping toddler

Anything else to mention?

Bring a big full sized pillow with you. It will make the area that much comfier for your little ones to sleep.



12 Responses to “How to help your child sleep on a plane”

  • Fitness has a ton of benefits, it doesn’t have to take all day and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune! we should all be investing time in our bodies.

  • Fitness has a ton of benefits, it doesn’t have to take all day and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune! we should all be investing time in our bodies.

  • My first step was to develop a bedtime routine. Your body needs time to wind down from the day. My routine includes a shower, a little time writing in my journal and writing my to do list for the next day.Sometimes, even after my bedtime routine is complete, I still need to quiet my brain. I’ve found that books do this.

  • Inflatable footrest pillows bridge the gap between the child’s seat and the seat in front of them, which better enables kids to sleep on the plane. Parents swear by them, but you’ll need to check with your airline to make sure these inflatable pillows are permitted.

  • For babies, feed them (either nurse or bottle) during take-off and landing to help pop their ears, since they don’t know yet how to do that on their own. For older kids, give them foods to help them sleep: think slow-release carbohydrates like oatmeal, which is well-liked and digests easily. Variety is important, too. Snacks are a must for kids, especially for picky eaters, as airplane food often does not cut it for them.

  • Useful article! I’m always torn between sleeping a film on a plane. but with kids you need to settled the things wisely.

  • Great tips for kids to sleep on a plane . we have tried some idea but still some to try.

  • Thanks for this nice piece of information

  • That’s such a useful pillow. Wished we had it when our kids were smaller. Sometimes, we were lucky as the seats were not occupied, so we can let them sleep across three seats.
    Leo Tat recently posted..What Is Vitamin D Good For? Health Benefits & Overdose ToxicityMy Profile

  • Haha! You are a perfect planner. Making baby sleep on its own is a job and to make them sleep on the plane during travel? Thanks for these great ideas, will be very useful for an inexperienced dad!
    Loqman recently posted..Best Outdoor Baby Swing 2017My Profile

  • Whenever the plane takes off, my 3-year-old child will start cying. I will try your method for our next trip.

  • What a brilliant idea. Cam and Nicole, good to see this post for baby “HOW TO HELP YOUR CHILD SLEEP ON A PLANE” and I like your post very much. I really very admire your work and I think it is the best example to keep our baby comfortable for travelling.

    I hope you like my comment and my infographic: keep your baby comfortable for travelling.

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