Last week I heard from a mother preparing to fly with SAS from theUnited States to Eastern Europe with her FOUR children, ages 6, 5, 4 and 11 months (cross your fingers for smooth flights and connections for these fearless family travelers!). As you can imagine, she was shocked as she called to confirm her flights, only to find out that the airline would not allow her to use their bassinet for her baby because she is 2 months past their age limit for using bassinets, which for SAS is 9 months.
Although the particular bassinet used in the aircraft is rated to 24 lbs., the agent—and manager stood firm by their policy and refused to reserve a bassinet for the lap infant. She’s not the first parent to get caught off guard by an unexpected age limit for airplane bassinets (a.k.a. sky cot). Here are a few reasons to be aware of if you have overseas travel with an infant in mind:
- The shapes and sizes of the bassinets themselves can vary a great deal between airlines, and even between different aircraft models operated by the same airline.
- More often than the weight of the child, it’s the length of the baby that is more of an issue regarding the size of a particular bassinet.
- Additionally, many airlines put their feet down when it becomes more likely a baby will be able to pull up or climb and topple over the side of the bassinet.
If you plan to take advantage of an airline’s bassinet for an upcoming flight with your baby, you should make sure you choose an airline that will accommodate your infant at the time of travel. And remember bassinets are generally available on a first-come first served basis, to those who are seated in the proper locations on the aircraft. (Much, much more on that in Travels with Baby, including the possible drawbacks of being ont the busy, bulkhead row with baby .)
Here are just a few of the different ways airlines specify their bassinet policies:
- SAS – Bassinets for infants 9 months and younger. Click here for m0re information about flying with infants on SAS /
- Air Canada– Bassinets for infants who cannot yet sit upright and weigh less than 25 lbs or 12 kgs (specific age not stated). Click here for more information on flying with infants on AirCanada
- Lufthansa – Bassinets (cots) for infants up to 14 kg and 83 cm (32 inches) in length. Click here for more information on flying with infants on Lufthansa
- KLM – Bassinets (carrycots) for infants no longer than 65 cm (25 inches) and weighing no more than 10 kg (22 lbs) on day of travel. Click here for more information on flying with infants on KLM
- Virgin Atlantic – bassinets (cots) for babies up to 1 year as long as they fit the bassinet, which varies in size between aircraft and classes of service. Follow this link for details. Click here for more information on flying with infants on Virgin-Atlantic
- American Airlines – bassinets on 777 aircraft and some 767 aircraft for children under 2 years and weighing less than 35 lbs. (15.8 kg). I don’t know about you, but I’d like to see a sky cot that seats a 23-month-old! (Perhaps it’s like British Airways’?) Click here for more information about flying with infants on American Airlines
And remember, British Airways not only provides infant bassinets (sky cots) for babies, but also offers a limited number of the Britax toddler seats that can be mounted on the bulkhead for children under 2 years. Click here to see it and read about our experience flying with this toddler seat.
Have you flown with an airplane bassinet? Share your experience and wisdom below!
This is hysterical! I just made my Huggies “Hula-Baby” with a photo of my little guy and had to share. It’s free on the Huggies Facebook page and for every video created Huggies will help diaper a baby in need for one day.
If you missed the REAL photo of my guy sporting the new Huggies Hawaiian diaper in Kauai, you can see it here and find out more about the Every Little Bottom campaign benefiting the National Diaper Bank Network and Food Banks Canada.
If you have a chance, I hope you’ll make a Hula Baby, too!
Previous post: Kauai’s best beach for babies and toddlers
While Kauai is blessed with a number of kid-friendly beaches (Anini, Kalapaki, Ke’e, Baby Beach, and Lydgate to name a few), there is one little beach that’s the best hands-down for letting babies enjoy the ocean.
Poipu Beach Park, located just across the street from Brennecke’s restaurant and beach deli, offers a sandy little nook built into the side of a small cove, where lava boulders reach out to block the already minimized waves coming in over coral reef. While it should be noted that swimming or snorkeling out in the center of the larger cove can have its hazards and it is always wise to check with the life guard in attendance before doing so, this portion to the east side is more like a saltwater wading pool which, at low tide, has virtually no waves (yes, that’s my little guy lying down on his stomach in it).
During low tide, the water can be so calm in the “baby zone” here that you may see babies bobbing in their float boats while parents sit waist-deep in the water visiting beside them. It’s one of the few places you may be comfortable enough to actually open a book while your toddler toddles in and out of the water beside you. With golden sand spread like a velvet blanket beneath the shallow water, there is no need for water socks or shoes in this sheltered nook.
As the tide comes in, small fish flush through the large rocks to the delight of curious parents and children. We saw crabs scuttle over the rocks as well, and one of my children even spotted a small striped eel hiding deep in a rocky nook. Tide conditions can vary throughout the month and the year, however, and they tend to be strongest along Kaua’s south shore in the summer months, so always approach new beaches with caution and common sense, especially with kids.
Poipu Beach Park also has restrooms with a family-size changing stall and bench that can be used for diaper changes, plus outdoor showers, and this playground:
Better still, you’ll find carry-out deli sandwiches made to order, cold drinks, and shave ice right across the street at Brennecke’s Beach Deli (on the ground level of the blue restaurant building). Grab your lunch or shave ice and stroll on over to enjoy them right on the sand or at a covered and shady picnic table.
If you are staying elsewhere on Kauai and would like to make a day trip south, exploring the island, Poipu Beach Park is an excellent place to stop for lunch or a cold treat (or both!) and enjoy some great family beach time with all the facilities you may need.
Do you have a favorite beach on Kauai? Do you plan to visit this gem on your trip?
Sometimes you can search all day in vain for a little local color. Other times, you may find it parked smack dab in the middle of a parking lot. Here, at the Aloha Juice Bar (on wheels!), we found a veritable rainbow of refreshment options–mango-banana-pineapple smoothies and then some–just what you need after hiking back to the car with kids and kit along the hot sand beach at Tunnels. Watch for it on your left as you drive east through Hanalei.
And if you haven’t yet seen my little guy sporting the Huggies Hawaiian diaper, benefitting the National Diaper Bank Network, don’t miss Dressed cute for a cause in Kauai.
Dressed cute for a cause in Kauai
Just last week while exploring Kauai’s most kid-friendly beaches, my hubby and I had to marvel how well this pop-up sun tent has traveled and served our family (we’ve actually brought it to Thailand and Mexico, among other places)—and how we’d definitely recommend bringing one to any family visiting Kauai with young children.
Sure, expecting your toddler to spend his entire beach time playing in a UV-protective tent is unrealistic at best. But the 10 minutes he may play “sand hotel” in there are just the beginning.
On this last trip alone, our tent:
- Helped keep sand and sun off of snack bags, backpack and camera case as we snorkeled and frolicked in its front yard.
- Sheltered our entire family of 5 (cozy!) when the winds picked up and we shivered in our wet bathing suits.
- Gave a rain-proof place to stash our things (those snacks, camera) during occasional tropical cloudbursts during an otherwise glorious afternoon at Ke’e Beach.
- Served as a convenient changing cabana for even for my husband of 6 feet (no, not while standing).
- Gave shade to my over-sunned shoulders and back while my legs stuck out begging for more.
In the past, it’s also served as a shaded and private retreat for breastfeeding at the beach, and a kid or two has managed a nap in there, as well as said husband of 6 feet, with his legs stuck out begging for sun, naturally. Want a convenient place to change baby right on the beach—without getting the sun or sand in his eyes? It’s ideal.
Buying tips for your sun tent: There are a variety of pop-up sun tents available like this (click here to browse several pop up sun tents on the market), but ours has been just the right size to swivel-fold into a disc of only 1-2 inches thick to stick in the bottom of the suitcase without adding much weight. Your best bets will include a window or two for ventilation when desired and sand pockets to help keep it grounded in a gust—I don’t recommend relying on stakes in the sand and with small kids at play. Besides, they love helping to fill the sand pockets as you set up.
Note: The sun umbrella shown above made a great covered porch for our tent up until the breeze picked up. After chasing it a few times and not finding a good way to anchor it in sand I gave up on it.
Find more tips for planning beach vacations with small children in Chapter 2 of Travels with Baby, and find practical advice on having fun in (spite of) the sun with young children in Chapter 7.
Have you used a pop up sun tent on vacation? Think one might make the difference in your upcoming travels?
Previous post: Dressed cute for a cause in Kauai
Related: Great products and gear for travel
As some of you know, I’ve been busy exploring the gorgeous “garden island” of Kauai with my family—much to share—but there’s more to the story than that!
I am also honored to be the spokesperson this season for a fantastic charitable program called Every Little Bottom, through which Huggies Kimberly-Clark will donate millions of diapers to families in need across the US and in Canada.
This week begins the launch of the new limited-edition Huggies Hawaiian Diapers and wipes (that’s one of the two tiki prints on my little guy above), and I hope you’ll be watching for them at your store because…
Not only will these vacation-ready diapers simplify your tot’s summer wardrobe (just add sun hat and sun block), EVERY PACKAGE OF HAWAIIAN DIAPERS SOLD will help diaper the baby of a family in need for a day!
I hope that through raising awareness we can help Huggies Every Little Bottom reach the goal of providing 20 million diapers to the National Diaper Bank Network this year, and an extra 2.5 million diapers to Food Banks Canada.
Since diapers are not covered by WIC or food stamps, you can imagine how important—and helpful—a program like this can be to struggling families.
If you or anyone you know will be buying diapers or wipes soon, PLEASE let them know about this easy way to help families in need. Even easier, Huggies Hawaiian diapers are already available online with free shipping!
And hey, if your little one outgrows her current diapers before you can blink (it happens), you can also check this directory for a diaper bank near you where you can donate the unused diapers.
Want an easy way to help spread the word? Use the sharing links below—and mahalo!
In case you haven’t heard the buzz, it’s “Screen-Free Week,” and I have to say that, while I’m not above using videos to help keep kids entertained during travel, so far we’ve managed to keep it to a minimum–and I like it that way. But guess what? This screen-free week we’re setting out on a 5+ hour flight!
No, I’m not taking a vow to do the entire flight screen-free. The one time I find screens most helpful is on airplanes, where it’s not so easy to keep little ones entertained looking out the window and even I shy away from bellowing out those “easy songs to sing” I recommend for road trips.
Truth is, going screen-free on airplanes these days is hardly an option. There’s often a screen implanted in front of every single passenger on the airplane, and you’ll likely be instructed to stare at it at least during the flight safety instruction. Fortunately, children’s programming is available on these flights, though not all of it is great.
Nevertheless, 5+ hours straight of TV is too much sitting still and staring for any child. So here are some of our screen-free favorites for passing time in the airport and on the airplane, which help young kids use their hands and imaginations in constructive and travel-friendly ways.
1. Tangrams. These usually wooden tiles are available in so many sizes, shapes, and colors, with sets suitable from children 3 years old and up. While there are many kits or box sets available in travel-friendly sizes (Melissa & Doug pattern blocks shown here), my kids have most enjoyed having a baggie full of the pieces and a booklet of animals to make. They follow the patterns as well as create their own imaginary scenes, sometimes laying the design flat (like this fox) and other times stacking them for a 3-D effect. Click here to see some of the tangram puzzle sets available.
2. Wikki Stix. If you haven’t yet added Wikki Stix (or similar product) to your travel toolbox, these can be a great activity with no mess or clean up required (just don’t let that cute Wikki Man melt into the dashboard of your rental car, ahem). They are bendable, reusable, and can be used to make simple flat designs, or rolled and wrapped to make 3-dimensional objects. Most sets include idea cards that show simple ways to make a design. This activity set is ideal for travel with a small board, set of wikki stix, and all pack into a travel pouch. Recommended for children 3 years and older. Click here to see more Wikki Stix sets.
3. Travel Doodle Pro (Tag Along). If you missed my ode to the travel-size Doodle Pro earlier this year, you can click here to read in detail (and rhyme) how it’s helped our family, saved my sanity, and yes, inspired poetry. Just imagine what it might do for your family! As you can see, it’s handy for even the youngest scribblers and is always ready for more. Click here to see the line-up of travel-size Doodle Pro drawing boards.
4. Log cabin art with coffee stir sticks.
This one is free, reusable, compostable, and so much fun that you’ll have a hard time not building one on your own tray table. Don’t forget to swipe a handful of complimentary wooden stir sticks from the airport cafe before your flight (with plenty of extras for yourself). See more in your copy of Take-Along Travels with Baby or in this post.
5. Crayola No-Mess Watercolors. I first recommended these in this post, where you can read more about these brilliant paints. For best results, don’t let your child use them at home or until well into your flight, when the freedom to paint feels most unexpected–and appreciated! Pack along a spiral drawing pad or just use airline-issue napkins. Click here to see more Crayola No-Mess products you may like for travel.
Want more screen-free alternatives to help keep your kids busy during travel? There are dozens of tips, ideas, and inspiration in Take-Along Travels with Baby.
Wish us good luck on our next flight, and here’s wishing you the best on yours!
Previous Post: Photo Fave: Tree of Life at Arenal Lodge, Costa Rica
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