Thursday, August 28, 2008

Airlines child lap policy

Like many other moms, I was under the misconception that if flying with a child on your lap were considered unsafe then the airlines just would not allow it. Was I wrong. It took a close call with my daughter before I realized how wrong I was all along.

Like all women, I enjoy a good bargain and being able to avoid having to purchase a plane ticket for a child under two and save several hundred dollars only added to the excitement of traveling with a small child. My son and I took over half a dozen plane trips together all without incident and had a great time traveling around the U.S. when he was a baby. Six years later when my daughter Anna was born and we took our first flight together, we were in for a little surprise.

We were traveling from Duluth/Chicago/Phoenix. We had made it into Chicago and had about a two hour layover there for our connecting flight to Phoenix, when major thunderstorms began passing through the central U.S. Our flight was continually delayed as the afternoon went on and we did our best to stay entertained at the airport while staying close to our gate in case our flight should start to board. The delays lasted into the evening hours and at about 8:00 p.m. both my children (Aaron, then 7 and Anna, 7 months) fell asleep on my lap. They had only been sleeping for about 15-30 minutes when the started to board the flight. I hated to wake up both children and have them very crabby so I just say in my chair waiting until the last call to board.

As they got down to the last group of passengers they made an announcement that they had overbooked and were offering ticket exchange for giving up your seat. Since the kids were sleeping so soundly and had missed their naps, I was in the perfect position to give up our seats and take the "bump". With a lap child traveling and two free ticket vouchers I was as good as traveling free ! And little did I know that I had may a decision that would likely have ended up disasterous had we boarded that plane.

About an hour later another flight to Phoenix was on its way the children were starting to stir from their uncomfortable sleeping positions, so we boarded the next plane and we were off. There were still some small storms and turbulence on the flight and so the plane attempted to route around them as best as it could and still maintain some sort of time schedule (for me we were arriving about 10 hours late anyway). I had Anna on my lap the entire time and things were proceeding normally, when the captain announced some turbulence ahead. As we all buckled in, I wrapped my arms around Anna's tummy and held on to my wrists. It didn't take long before we hit a small bump and I was taken by complete surprise when that little bump took all my strength to keep her close to me. Her bottom lifted off my lap a good six inches and I was absolutely shocked at the force it took for me to keep her from hitting the roof! Luckily for us we had only that one small pocket of turbulence that we hit.

When we arrived in Phoenix, I learned that the original flight we had been booked on had hit a terrible storm and the jostling of the passengers caused 10 people to hospitalized. There is no doubt in my mind that Anna would have been one of them had we gotten on that flight. I was so thankful for the change in events that put us on a different plane, and have never again flown with a child in my lap.

For more information about how the airlines started allowing lap children and other people's stories, read Anya Clowers book "Jet with Kids".

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Airline seat assignments

Traveling as a family can be challenging, but even more so if you all arrive at the airport, survive the check in procedure and the bag search, only to find out you are not all seated together. Don't assume because you are flying as a family that you will be all seated near each other.

If you are buying your tickets from a travel agent make sure they do your seat assignments for you. If you purchase your tickets on-line or directly from the airport and they do not do the assignments at the time of buying the tickets, make sure you log into the airline website and do your seat assignments well in advance.

At the website SeatGuru you can find out the details about the aircraft you are flying on, including the seat width, legroom, and so forth. This site also contains contact information for the airlines.

According to the book Jet With Kids, by Anya Clowers, "There are only a certain number of seats that reservation and travel agents are able to book. The rest are blocked out for airport assignment on the day of departure or for online check-in 24 hours prior to the flight. However, unless you are booking at the last minute, it is usually possible for you to get something reserved, and seat selection can make a huge difference in your flight."

One myth is that if you are traveling with a small child the bulkhead seats are the best place to sit. This is not true. According the Clowers, "The added legroom gives a child the feeling of open space and the illusion that they can roam around. If you take the middle seat of another row and your child is in the window seat next to you, this area creates a "box" for your child to play in. They can play with the window shade, on the tray table, look out the window, and generally feel more secure since it is somewhat of a private area."

Plus all of your luggage will be in the overhead compartment as there is no storage under the seat. The tray tables are located in the armrest and can easily pinch fingers. So you may wish to reconsider this seating area.

I used the bulkhead seat once when traveling with my son and it really did not work out as he ended up out of his seat and playing on the floor, eventually falling asleep on the floor, which was not a very safe alternative when I look back on the situation. Being in tighter quarters and kept buckled into a seat is really the safest place for any child.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


Are you looking for that perfect emergency baby/toddler outfit? Well look no more. BabySpareWear is the perfect kit for you and we have them at JetSetBabies .

Each kit includes a pre-packed spare tee and play pant inside a hip and fun, zip-up travel case. In style, hip, and the most practical idea we have come across in a while! “Baby Spare Wear” - This is exactly what your little guy or gal needs, a spare outfit for all those "emergency" times!

babysparewear, inc. has the modern solution to the essential spare outfit for baby and toddler. We call it functional fashion: cozy cotton separates packed in ready-to-go travel kits. It's everything you need for those pint-sized "fashion emergencies."

babysparewear™ is the designated spare outfit for baby. The idea is simple yet sophisticated. It's the stylish evolution of the "emergency" spare outfit. Each kit is pre-packed in a chic travel case and designed to simplify on-the-go leaks and spills. babysparewear looks smart on baby—and even smarter on mom.

Several celebs are fans and users of Baby Sparewear. Christina Aguilera and Nicole Richie have the chic black 3-piece set. Jennifer Lopez & Marc Anthony have the same Fashion Fix kits in the Cordura Chic sky blue as well as the blush pink heart for their twins. Salma Hayek is also well prepared for jet setting with a pink and fuchia kit for little Valentina.

Keep a spare everywhere! In the baby bag, in the car, or at the sitter's, babysparewear prepares mom for the inevitable.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Beach time with baby

When traveling with your baby you need to keep in mind that your travels will be different now. More low-keyed so don't over schedule your days. Baby will need to eat and nap on schedule so plan accordingly. A great trip to take with babies and toddlers and even older kids, is a beach vacation. There is still plenty of beach time left in the year so plan your trip now.

A beach vacation can be a pleasure for every family member. It's a perfect mix of relaxation and enjoyment. The ocean is calming, the air invigorating, and everyone on the trip will be guaranteed a good night's sleep after a day at the beach.

When traveling to the beach make sure you have lounge chairs, a nice sturdy chair if you are nursing your baby and need to sit up, blankets or a Neat Sheet, plenty of towels, sunscreen (remember to reapply throughout the day), wide brimmed hats and sunglasses, sand pails, shovels, sieves, a pail with a cover for catching interesting beach wildlife (but make sure you return all creatures back to their natural habitat at the end of the day), swimming suits, plus a sweatshirt in case the weather turns, life jackets, and plenty of food and fresh water to keep well hydrated in the sun. Make sure you have enough baby supplies such as diapers, wipes, food, and formula, to last for your day at the beach. Also, bring along something to dispose of the used diapers - never leave a dirty diaper on the beach or in or near the water! If baby will be napping there, make sure you bring along a covered pack 'n play or portable tent so baby can sleep out of the sun.

There are many great beaches in the U.S.

California: If you are planning a trip to California, San Diego has some of the state's most pristine sandy beaches, with wide open shores. Try Coronado or Mission Bay for the best bets with families. Plus San Diego has lots of other family activities to engage in. Further North is Dana Point located in Orange County near San Juan has a Festival of Whales every March and is worth the trip. Mother's Beach is close to Venice Beach but is a tranquil and peaceful beach even on busy days. Monterey, 40 miles south of San Francisco is a family fun beach town. There are trails, a beautiful rocky shoreline, and views of the mountains. Families can rent kayaks, watch the seals, or visit the aquarium. Stinson Beach, near the Golden Gate bridge is 3 1/2 miles of sand for great swimming, surfing, and sunbathing.

Texas: South Padre Island is the best know Texas beach with 30 miles of beautiful beaches. This is a great family destination but make sure you time your trip around college spring break times.

Florida: With the entire state surrounded by ocean, there is sure to be plenty of great beaches. Two of the best beaches, Fort Myers Beach and the beach at Naples have been voted best family beaches and are known for their recreational opportunities and powdery sands. Vero Beach has miles of beach plus woodland pathways, turtle quests, surfing, kayaking and unique shopping. Crescent Beach offers miles of uncrowded beaches, dolphins swimming along the coast and other surprises. If you are planning a beach vacation to Florida with your children you must check out this website for the best information: Family Travel Files. When you get to their website click on Beaches and Florida. This site has very detailed information and is a great resource.