Travelling with infants and children
To help make travelling with infants and children pleasant and safe, we recommend you make yourself aware of the additional safety considerations that may be required in regards to the seating of infants and children on board an aircraft.
Here are our top tips.
Planning is key
- Planning ahead is essential.
- Keep handy any supplies you will need to take care of any normal or special needs for the child.
- Assume the worst: every seat will be allocated, the toilets will not have changing tables, the airline will not have any suitable food, you will be delayed for several hours, and any checked luggage will be lost.
- Carrying all the child's essentials is important, especially if your child is on a special diet or on medication.
- Bring along 1-2 favorite books and 1-2 new books
- Have a movie player and movies on hand just in case the airline doesn't supply or the on-board entertainment is unavailable.
- Grab a set of child friendly headphones.
- Supervise your child at all times - an aircraft environment may present specific hazards to your child. Be aware that when walking about the aircraft with your child, hot drinks and food, silverware, and other hazards are within their reach.
- Don’t put your child on the floor during flight. This is dangerous due to the risk of unanticipated turbulence and in general is not permitted on Australian airlines. This also includes placing the child on a seat or floor to change a child’s nappy. Baby change tables are supplied in selected restrooms on some aircraft for your convenience and safety.
- Confirm with any foreign operator what rules and standards they have. The same Australian standards may not apply for the carriage of infants and children on airlines from other countries.
- Take note of the safety briefing. Make sure you are aware of emergency equipment or procedures that would apply to your child.
- Leave baggage behind in the event of an evacuation. Taking any baggage will slow you and your child down in the event of an evacuation and could result in harm to yourself or others. Ask for help. If travelling alone with children, ask fellow passengers to assist you and your child off the aircraft.
- Know where to find lifejackets. If a lifejacket for an infant is provided, ensure you are familiar with the location and use of the life jacket. Cabin crew are required to brief you either individually or by general announcement in relation to the infant lifejacket with supplementary information provided on the safety information card located in the seat pocket. Ask if you’re not sure. Identify medical conditions. If your child has a medical condition that may become an issue during the flight, make a cabin crew and/or ground staff member aware before you fly.
- Infants are allowed to sit on a parents lap and be secured by a supplementary loop belt. This belt will be supplied before flight by crew along with instructions for use.
- Under Australian rules, an infant is a passenger who has not reached their third birthday. However, some airlines define an infant as a passenger under two years old. Any passengers over the required age (however defined by the airline) must occupy a seat.
- Infants and children must be secured in an approved child restraint system throughout the flight. This will help to protect the infant or child during unexpected turbulence.
- Check with your airline to ensure the restraint system (for example a car seat) is approved for use by that airline.
- Child booster seats cannot be used on an airline as they are only allowed to be used in seats with a shoulder harness. As a guide, once a child has outgrown their full harness child restraint, it is safe for them to use the aircraft seat and lap belt.
- Bassinets mounted on a bulkhead cannot be used during take-off and landing. Bassinets are stowed at this time so as not to interfere with an evacuation.
- Any commercially available product may be subject to airline approval. We recommend you check with your airline before travelling.
- It is recommended that small children be seated at the window. They could get hurt if their arms get bumped by a passing person or serving cart. Ideally, two responsible adults should sit one on either side of a small child. Alternatively, the child can be seated on a row with a window on one side and a responsible adult on the other.