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Traveling with kids
Ensure that the passport, visa and relevant travel documents are in order. The parent whose passport bears the childrens names must accompany children travelling, and any visa issued in a parents passport must clearly cover the specified children.

Arrange to have all necessary inoculations well in advance of the departure date. If the child is currently on medication, the medicines should accompany it or its parent, on board the aircraft. The doctors prescription or his certificate explaining the treatment will be of great help at the time of negotiating border controls at the port of arrival and for acquiring a local, equivalent drug.

A baby may suffer from an acute cold or ear trouble, which sometimes may get worse in unfamiliar surroundings. Do consult the doctor about the feasibility of travelling in such a condition. Babies under a year old generally bear the stress of air travel.

Please find out whether the departure / foreign travel tax applies to children in the country to be visited. Check with the airline whether bassinets and nursing rooms for infants are available at the transit airports. Reach the airport early - children take time to settle down in airports because of the excitement of travel and the noisy crowded atmosphere.

Most airlines, in India too, call passengers with infants to board the airline first. Such calls are rarely made through the public announcement system and it helps to be near the boarding gate to hear the announcement.

Special childrens meals and baby food are available in the airline. The parent can prepare her own baby milk and pap in the galley on board or have them made up by a flight attendant. Special food has to be ordered at the time of booking seats. It is advisable to inform the carrier about the childs special dietary requirements - e.g., without eggs, vegetarian or non-milk products.

It is advisable to check whether the airline provides, in an emergency, on board the aircraft - often at a charge - baby travel kits which include panty diapers, a bib, table mats, cotton balls/buds, a washcloth, antiseptic towels and change lotion.

Some airlines also make available milk in limited quantity, baby bottles, brushes, cereals and milk powders. If the baby prefers a particular brand, it is worth carrying that along.

Bassinets are available in the aircraft on a first -come basis and, here too, it is useful to indicate the requirement at the time of making reservations.

If there is no such baby cot available or the child is too large, it should be held securely on the lap during takeoff, landing and during turbulence. The child should never be held beneath the fastened seat belt. Children above the age of two years must occupy their own seat with fastened belts.

A baby may cry during takeoff and landing due to the brief popping in its ears as cabin pressure adjusts to altitude. This is normal and it helps to give the baby the bottle or if the child is older, a sweet to suck on. A cotton ball in the ears is also a good idea.

Babies diapers should preferably be changed in the specified toilets, which are equipped with special disposable chutes for diapers. Diapers should not be flushed out through the aircraft toilets. Many airlines recommend the use of these toilets for breastfeeding, as there is no other area, which can afford privacy to the nursing mother.

Small children should be encouraged to read a small book or cuddle up with their favourite bedtime toy, particularly on a long flight. For safetys sake, the child should be kept seated at all times possible.

Reading, games or toys - which are provided in the aircraft and the in-flight entertainment for children, will keep them busy. If it is part of home routine, do change the little one into his pyjamas and settle him in the lap or the seat. The more normal his routine is, the more quickly he will sleep.

Driving down with kids? Start a long drive after a good nights sleep and a decent breakfast. If you start too early, you might throw off the kids sleep schedules.
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