Are the TSA’s rules the same for safe covid travel?
The Transportation Security Administration or TSA strives to work with families as they’re going through airport security and make the process as efficient and streamlined as possible. Their rules and regulations regarding babywearing and bringing formula, breastmilk, or juice for your toddler largely remain the same. Breastmilk, formula, and juice are allowed in carry-ons and are exempt from the TSA’s quantity regulations of 3.4-4oz bottles. This means that breastfeeding moms can continue to pump when away from baby and safely travel with their pumped milk without having to worry about limitations on the amounts that can pass through airport security.
Read more on the TSA website here. Traveling with formula, breastmilk, or juice for your little one does not limit the amount of carry on liquids you can travel with yourself and these regulations have not changed due to covid.
Caregivers wearing their babies or toddlers through airport security are typically not required to take baby out of the carrier or remove the carrier. Unlike pushing a baby through security in a stroller, airport security will require you to pick baby out of the stroller and remove all objects stored in any of the under-basket or storage compartments. While this isn’t great news for family travel during Covid, it is especially inconvenient if your little one is asleep or you’re traveling alone.
What extra measures are the airlines taking to keep people safe?
Quarantine hit airlines especially hard and they lost billions in revenue. It’s not hard to imagine that they are highly motivated for the return of travelers to the air. Covid-19 precautions include required face coverings for all passengers, flight crew, airport security, and employees. They follow CDC guidelines for disinfecting the planes between flights, and each plane is equipped with an air filtering system that assists in reducing the contraction of covid-19 in flight. For more information on how airlines are taking action against the spread of covid-19 visit this website.
Moving closer to 2022, it’s evident that more and more people are warming up to the idea of flying again. Domestic flights are filling up quickly and planes are selling out every seat. Close contact in the airplane is unavoidable and if your airport is large enough that you’re taking a tram to your gate, that’s another opportunity to be in packed close quarters. Vaccinations are available and encouraged for individuals over 12 but are currently unavailable for children under 12 years of age. In addition, infants and toddlers under two are not old enough to wear face coverings.
Baby wearing is a unique alternative to aid safe covid travel, keeping your infant and/or toddler protected from unwanted germs. It is not uncommon for strangers to be tempted to touch a baby’s cute chubby cheeks or arms. Unwanted physical contact is less likely to happen when your baby or toddler is snug up against your own body. To learn more about baby wearing during covid-19 (*link to first blog here*). Wearing baby in a carrier also makes maneuvering up stairs, onto escalators, or through crowds easier than attempting to push a stroller or taking time to find the nearest elevators.
What are some other tips and advice for family travel during Covid?
When going anywhere with young children it’s always a good idea to leave early and give yourself time for the unexpected.
Bring entertainment. The Amphiba Baby Infant to Toddler Baby Carrier has three large pockets and two elastic loops that can also double as hooks to attach small toys, snacks, soft books, etc to keep baby engaged while you’re waiting to get to your destination.
Plan to do naps and nurse or bottle feed while in the airport or plane. Even short domestic flights are long enough to run into a nap or meal time.
If your baby isn’t used to spending time in the carrier, practice at home first.
Air pressure changes upon ascent and descent of the plane can cause pressure to build up in your little one’s ears. Nursing or bottle feeding during these times cause baby to swallow and will help their ears pop and get rid of the pressure. A pacifier will also help accomplish the same goal.
Consider the car seat. You can either choose to get a car seat carrying case to protect the car seat during travel and check it under the plane, or you can rent a car in your new location that offers a car seat.
The flight crew will request that you take your little one out of the carrier during take-off and descent and place him or her in your lap or the seat next to you.
Pack a floor blanket. A blanket specifically used to lay out on the floor next to your seat at the gate will allow you to lay or sit baby down next to you with a few toys while you wait to board the plane. This will help if you’re waiting a long time and need a break from carrying. Laying a small blanket in an out-of-the-way spot, perhaps next to the window or at the very least next to a chair you’ve secured for yourself, will prevent baby from touching the floor that people have walked on while allowing them to move around.
Have a good experience baby wearing at the airport to share? We’d love to hear your ideas to make safe covid travel with a baby or toddler a positive experience. Leave a comment in the section below.