Traveling With Toddlers: 13 Expert Safety Tips

Whether by plane, car or a quick trip to grandma’s, traveling with toddlers can be a handful. However, traveling with your one or two-year-old can also be magical. Everything is new to them and you’ll see they appreciate the little things a lot more. 

With that said, safety should be top of mind before you embark on your journey. That’s why we interviewed Laura Coleman, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Nationally Registered Paramedic and mom of two, to give us her top safety tips for traveling with a toddler this year. 

1. Talk To Other Parents 

Sometimes the best advice is from those around you. Talk to other parents about their recent experiences and what they wished they had or had done differently when they traveled with their little one. Did they run into any problems? This is a great time to pick their brains about what did and didn’t work on their trips. 

2. Educate Your Toddler on the Area 

Before your trip, find books or videos about traveling and what you may see or do on the trip. Not only will this get them excited about your travel plans, but it will also familiarize them with the area so they don’t get lost. During the trip, point out those things to reinforce what they learned. 

3. Bring a Safe Car Seat 

Car seat safety should be a top priority when traveling. Here are Laura’s top car seat safety tips when traveling by car, plane or train. 

  • If you're road-tripping make sure your car seat is used and installed properly in your vehicle. 
  • When flying, your child is safer riding in their car seat due to turbulence. Riding in a car seat can also give them a sense of normalcy. Make sure that the seat is FAA approved for use on an airplane and verify your airline’s policies prior to arriving at the airport. 
  • If traveling by train, most passenger trains do not have seat belts at all. So make sure your car seat is secure and will work safely on the train. 
  • If taking a taxi or rideshare to your destination, make sure you know what the state car seat laws are. Most taxis are exempt from using car seats while rideshares require you to bring your own car seat. 

4. Plan Around Vaccinations 

If you’re getting vaccinations before traveling, make sure you have at least a week of cushion time. You do not want to add the fussiness and low-grade fever from a vaccination to the list of things to deal with on your trip.

5. Pack Extras 

When packing for your trip, pack extras for your toddler and even for you. Plan on delays and assume the worst. You never know if your little one will have an accident on the plane or will lose their favorite toy on your journey. If your child wears a diaper, use an overnight diaper or double-up diapers to avoid any accidents.

6. Keep Their Routine as Normal as Possible 

Toddlers typically thrive under routines because it gives them a sense of security. Try to keep their routine as normal as possible–this includes meals and naps during your trip. If you’re staying in a different time zone, then transition gradually to the new time. 

7. Take a Photo of Your Child Before Heading Out 

One big safety tip Laura recommended is to take a photo of your child at the start of every day on your trip. Not only will this serve as memories to look back on, but it will also be resourceful in the off chance you and your child get separated. You’ll have documentation of what they are wearing to make finding them a lot easier. 

8. Check as Much Luggage as You Can

If you're flying, check as much luggage as you can. That way you have fewer items to worry about carrying around (or losing) in the airport. 

9. Bring Exciting Toys 

Oftentimes surprising your toddler with a new toy or having their own backpack of toys once they are settled in on a plane, train or car will keep them occupied for a longer time. Look to bring interactive travel toys that will keep them busy for hours. 

10. Prepare for Air Pressure on Flights 

Air pressure changes can affect your toddler and cause them to be restless or in pain. If you're traveling with a toddler on a plane, make sure to have pressure snacks or a pacifier to give them for take-off and landing. If you have connecting flights, try to schedule longer layovers between flights to allow time to recover. 

11. Take Advantage of Pre-boarding 

During boarding, take advantage of pre-boarding so you can get your child settled in before the masses enter. This will allow them more time to get comfortable in their seat and settle in with a nice toy or book. 

12. Schedule Your Flight Strategically 

Earlier flights often have fewer delays, but later or overnight flights fit into the sleep schedule of your toddler. Either way, plan on downtime when you arrive in case a quick nap is needed for you and your child. 

13. Childproof Your Surroundings 

Remember to always check your surroundings. At your rental or hotel, make sure to childproof everything. If traveling with other parties, make sure to childproof their rooms as well. Oftentimes friends and family members may overlook safety measures because they are not used to having a toddler around. 

How To Travel with a Toddler: FAQs

a toddler in a travel backpack on a camping trip

For more expert advice on traveling with your little one, Laura dives into some common questions below. 

What Is the Best Age To Travel With a Toddler?

The best age to travel with a toddler will depend on your toddler and whether you think they are ready for travel. Each toddler is different as is every trip, but it’s important to remember that toddlers are active and have short attention spans. Either plan around their downtimes or plan to find ways to keep them active. The more you travel with them, the more routine it will become. 

What Do I Need When Traveling With a Toddler? 

When traveling with your one or two-year-old, make sure to pack the below items: 

Is Traveling Stressful for Toddlers? 

Traveling can be stressful for toddlers when they do not understand what is going on and are out of their normal routine. To combat this, try to keep their routine as normal as possible and explain to them what is going on clearly. 

Is It Worth Traveling With a Toddler? 

Yes, it is absolutely worth traveling with a toddler. You’ll create special memories for you to reminisce on for years to come. 

Remember that children often mimic the emotions of those around them. No one expects them to be perfect angels while traveling and no one expects you to be a perfect travel parent. Take a deep breath and find the fun in traveling. 

To make your trip easier, make sure you’re prepared with the right travel gear. From strollers and car seats to tents and toys for your next camping trip, GoodBuy Gear is your one-stop-shop for all the baby and kid gear you need at a discounted price, so you can focus on the more important things in life–like making lifelong memories with your little ones. 


Laura Coleman

 Laura Coleman is a retired firefighter and paramedic. She has worked in injury prevention, fire, emergency medical, law enforcement and CPR instructor in addition to being a Child Passenger Safety Technician Instructor. She has been married for the last 20 years and has 17 and 13-year-old daughters. Her certifications include NREMT-P Nationally Registered Paramedic, Child passenger safety technician - instructor, American Heart Association BLS Provider instructor and Fire and Life Safety Educator.

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