Preparing for a flight with your little one


How to prepare for a flight with your little one

Travelling with a baby can be overwhelming – especially when trying to decide what to pack in your carry on. When we took Braydon on his first flight, we really didn’t know what we were allowed to bring.

We were newbie parents with very little experience, he was only 3 months old, and, even as seasoned travellers, we really didn’t have a clue what we were doing. And it wasn’t until we went on a few flights and asked a lot of questions to border officials that we felt we understood what items we were allowed (and not allowed) to bring.

Here are a couple tips for packing and getting through security:

  • Look for a dedicated family screening line. In many of the major airports, they will have a family/special needs lane. Most of the time, it will save a lot of time waiting in line and help get you through quicker.
  • If you are travelling with an infant younger than two years of age (0-24 months), you can bring baby food, milk, formula, water, juice, and other baby items in your carry-on baggage. But, you will be asked to take it out, so have it handy near the top of your carry-on bag or in a side pocket.
  • Passengers flying with or without their child can bring breast milk in quantities greater than 100mL.
  • Water in a sippy cup is OK to bring on the plane, so are juice boxes.
  • Put everything in bags, don’t have a bunch of loose items in the bottom of your stroller. Everything will need to go through screening, so if you have loose items it will create more hassle. Sometimes, the stroller will need to be folded down and put through the scanner (the rule of thumb is that if it fits – it goes through the scanner).
  • Depending on where you are flying (from province to province, or state to state) allowance is different for food items. For example, within Canada fruit is OK to bring on a plane. But if you are flying from Canada to the US, then you CANNOT bring fruit with you.
  • Remember to declare everything (this means food). We made this mistake once before, thinking that jarred baby food was not considered a food item. We were wrong. When travelling with any type of food – including jarred baby food and/or baby cereals – we always check the “yes” box. Worst case, you speak to a border agent to get clarity on the rules.
  • Your baby will be carried through the scanning machine in your arms. Baby will always need to be taken out of their stroller, even if they are sleeping, so try to keep them awake until after the screening process.

The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) has provided us with an infographic specific to baby travel, giving you a solid breakdown of everything you need to know – from packing before your flight to going through security screening with a small child.

Baby infographic



Do you have any tips to add for getting through security with young kids?

2 Responses to “Preparing for a flight with your little one”

  • Erica

    Thanks for posting this! Recently I travelled alone with my 5-month old baby from Madrid to Minneapolis and had an absolutely problem-free trip until I got to Chicago security where I was told I had to collapse my stroller and get it up on the conveyer belt- but the security officers were unwilling to hold my baby while I did this. Not only were they unwilling to hold the baby, they didn’t bother to tell me what I had to do with the stroller until I asked, and were unwilling to help with that part, too. Thankfully there was another passenger who was willing to hold the baby, but I’m unsure how I was supposed to follow the rules if she hadn’t been there. Am I the only person who has travelled alone with a baby through Chicago? Then because the security officer identified me as a problematic traveller he had my hands tested for drugs, but couldn’t look me in the eye to tell me what they wanted me to do (granted, the security officer he was calling over to test my hands has the same name as I do, so it really added to the confusion). So, after getting through the whole debacle, I was finally able to get my screaming baby (exhausted from a 9 hour flight and uncomfortable because of a poopy diaper I wasn’t able to change pre- security because there are no bathrooms pre-security (?!?!)) to the family bathroom that was just being cleaned (thankfully the cleaner was just finishing up!). I walked away in shock… Impossible rules… Rude and non-communicative security officers… I get that they can’t break the rules, but the rules should be made in such a way that everyone can follow them.

  • Such great tips–love seeing all those security suggestions all in one spot, and that infographic is actually super helpful! Definitely going to keep this list handy as we will soon be flying with an infant again–funny how once our older children are out of certain stages, we can forget what it was like when they were babies!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *