Skip to flight searchSkip to main content

Child Safety on Flights

Essential tips for keeping your child safe on a flight

Keeping your child safe on a flight

Travelling with children can be an amazing experience, but also very challenging, especially when you want to keep them as safe as possible on the flight. This guide will walk you through the essentials of keeping your child safe and happy during your flight.

A child holding a flight ticket and passport with hands in the air

Before the flight

The first thing you'll want to prepare is your child's required travel documents such as their passport. For some destinations, a travel visa may also be required so it's best to check with the airline or embassy website of the country you're flying to beforehand.

To keep your child safe and with you at all times, you should consider booking seats in advance for more availability on seats that are next to each other. If you need to bring a car seat for your child, some airlines may have restrictions depending on the seat type (e.g., not allowed in emergency exit rows) so you'll need to factor this in when picking your seats.

As well as keeping your child safe, you will want to keep them entertained on the flight - you can do this by packing a variety of entertainment options such as books, games or downloaded content for tablets. Snacks and drinks are also a great way to keep your child satisfied on the flight.

It's also wise to pack a change of clothes for your child in case of spills or accidents, as well as any essential medication that your child requires.

A family going through airport security together

Keeping your child safe at the airport

Navigating unknown places like airports can be scary and overwhelming for children, but your journey to your gate doesn't have to be stressful if you follow these tips.

Before reaching the queue for security make sure to take out any laptops and liquids (following TSA guidelines). It's a good idea to briefly explain the security process to your child in a calm and fun way. Let them know that they might need to walk through a scanner so they can be prepared.

Any snacks and activities that you're bringing to keep your child entertained on the flight should be packed in their carry-on bag - this is so that your child can also stay occupied while waiting in line at security.

To help you and your family stick together, many airlines offer priority boarding for families with young children - you won't need to wait in a long line which can often be stressful. When your boarding group has been called, keep your child close by to avoid them getting separated in the crowd. A small toy or activity will also keep your child entertained while boarding.

A toddler keeping entertained on a flight

Child safety on the flight

You've managed to get your child into their seat, but the most critical part is yet to come.

Staying seated

Takeoff can be either really exciting for your child or a scary experience. However they feel about the plane taking off, you should always ensure that your child is securely fastened in their car seat or aeroplane seat with the provided child safety belt. For older children who might be more fidgety, explain the importance of staying seated and keeping the seatbelt fastened during takeoff and landing.


Ear discomfort is common in young children during takeoff and landing due to the changes in cabin pressure. To tackle this, you can encourage your child to frequently swallow (especially for older children), offer a pacifier for infants, or have them suck on candy.


Turbulence is normal on flights but it might startle your child. It's a good idea to tell your child that turbulence is a normal part of flying and doesn't mean there's any danger. You can hold your child close or let them hold their favourite stuffed animal for comfort. If your child is scared during turbulence, calmly explain what's happening, or distract them with a favourite book or game.

A toddler looking out a plane window


Staying seated is important on a flight, however, a little movement can help restless children. To keep your child safe while out of their seat, accompany them to the restroom or do laps around your cabin. Light stretches in your seats will also help.


Boredom on flights is common for children - being stuck in one place for a long time can be tough. Keep your child entertained by providing age-appropriate activities like colouring books, small toys or games. If your flight has in-flight entertainment, take advantage of the family-friendly movies and watch them together with your child! These are all great ways to pass the time on a flight.

What about the safety of unaccompanied minors?

Unaccompanied minors are children aged between 5-11 travelling alone, without a parent, guardian or immediate family member. Many airlines offer UMNR services - these are programs that provide supervision and assistance for your child throughout the entire travel process, making sure your child gets to their destination safely.

Each airline has specific procedures and requirements for unaccompanied minors so it's recommended that you research well in advance before booking a flight for the unaccompanied minor. The process usually involves completing forms online or with the airline, providing identification for both the child and the designated adult meeting them at the arrival airport, and potentially booking meet-and-greet services for an additional fee.

What if my child has a medical condition?

If your child has a recent illness or has ongoing medical conditions, you should consult with your doctor before flying to help keep your child safe. The doctor will be able to advise on any precautions or necessary medications that will help maintain a safe and comfortable flight for your child.

As mentioned earlier, earache and ear discomfort are common on flights for young children. You can discuss ear-popping techniques or medication options with your doctor if your child is already prone to earaches. Children with asthma or other respiratory conditions should consult with a doctor to make sure they have their inhaler or other needed medication accessible during the flight. Don't forget to be mindful of flying with a child who has a contagious illness as this could put other passengers at risk.

Flying long-haul with kids?

Conquering a long-haul flight with your kids can feel like an expedition, but with some preparation and these handy tips, you can transform it into an adventure for the whole family. Read our guide on tackling long-haul flights with children for more information.

Trusted globally

Rated Excellent on Trustpilot

We’re super proud of our Trustpilot rating, but don’t just take it from us. See why millions of others love booking their flights through Alternative Airlines

Child safety on flights FAQs

How do I keep my child safe during takeoff and landing?

You can keep your child safe during takeoff and landing by using proper FAA-approved child safety restraints or harnesses on the seat. These are different from car seats and are specifically designed for aeroplane use.

Always check with the airline you're flying with about their specific requirements. For older children, you just need to ensure that their seatbelt is fastened at all times during takeoff and landing.

If your child experiences ear discomfort, encourage sucking on a pacifier, bottle or sippy cup - this will help them swallow and relieve ear pressure.

You can also explain to your child what to expect during takeoff and landing, including the sounds and sensations, allowing them to prepare themselves. It's important that you also remain calm during takeoff and landing as your child will pick up on your behaviour. If you're anxious, they'll be anxious too.

Can my child fly alone?

This depends on the airline's policy. Airlines usually allow children between 5 and 12 years old to fly alone with an unaccompanied minor service. This service provides supervision for your child on their journey, from check-in to meeting the person picking them up at the other side.

Find out more about booking unaccompanied minor flights here at Alternative Airlines.

Should I book seats in advance?

Yes! If you want to keep a close eye on your child and ensure their safety on the flight, it's a good idea to book your seats in advance. You can book seats next to each other and all in the same row.

This will make it easier to monitor your child, provide comfort and reassurance where necessary and help them through takeoff/landing if they get anxious or scared.

Many airlines will try their best to seat families together however this isn't always guaranteed, especially on full flights.

You should also consider the type of seat that you're booking. Aim for window seats for your child wherever possible as this will help them feel more secure.

The only downside to booking seats in advance is it can be pricy. You can keep your travel budget under control by using our flexible Fly Now, Pay Later payment plans at checkout, including Afterpay, Klarna and Affirm. These let you spread the cost of your flight tickets over time - a great way to conquer expensive tickets where you've had to pay extra for seat selection!

Can I bring a car seat on the plane?

Of course! It's actually recommended by both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to bring a car seat onboard for all babies and young children.

The car seat must be FAA-approved for aeroplane use. There should be a sticker on the car seat to display whether it's FAA-approved or not.

You can easily use the aeroplane seatbelt to install the car seat (not the car seat's base). We suggest practising the installation at home beforehand so that you're ready to install it easily on the plane. The car seat shouldn't be too wide to fit comfortably in a standard aeroplane seat (generally under 16 inches wide).

A car seat will count as one of your carry-on allowances and may require a special car seat travel bag.

Can I fly while pregnant?

In general, flying during pregnancy is safe for both you and your baby, especially during the second trimester (between 14 and 28 weeks). However, it's always best to consult with your doctor before flying, especially if you have any health concerns or complications with your pregnancy.

Find out more about flying while pregnant here.