Aviation

STUDY: Majority of Aussie parents believe infants should not fly

New data reveals that Australian parents believe children under one year of age are too young to fly.

Sixty per cent of Aussie parents believe under-ones are too young to go on domestic flights with their parents, while 45 per cent think under-fives are too young to go on international flight holidays.

The findings come from a survey of an independent, nationally representative panel of 1,133 Australian parents who travel, commissioned by travel insurance specialist InsureandGo.

The survey asked parents: “When thinking about a child’s comfort and wellbeing, at what age should children be before they can go on a domestic or international flight holiday with their parents?”

Woman traveling with her baby in plane

It reveals 70 per cent of respondents believe its unsuitable for babies under six months to travel on domestic flights, closely followed by 60 per cent of respondents who believe under-1s cannot travel comfortably on domestic flights.

 By the time children were five years of age, only a quarter (25 per cent) of parents think it is not suitable for them to fly domestically.

The study also showed that older parents are more cautious about young children travelling. More than one in four (27 per cent) parents aged 45-64 think kids should be five years or older before they can go on a domestic flight, compared with just 11 per cent of parents under 44 who believe this.

Just over three-quarters (76 per cent) of parents believe international flights will not do well for the comfort and wellbeing of children under one, and 45 per cent think the same for those under five years of age. A very cautious 14 per cent of parents think children should be over 12 to go on an international flight holiday.

Woman with little girl travelling by plane

Here are InsureandGo’s six tips for parents to keep their kids comfortable and entertained on flights:

Encourage natural sleep. Getting a natural night’s sleep on flights can be a challenge, but bringing your child’s favourite bedtime toy or reading them a story can help. Try to discourage screen time during normal sleeping hours and limit your child’s screen time overall. For example, one movie for an international flight will keep them entertained and suggest activities such as colouring books once the movie is over.

Consider booking overnight flights. Depending on your holiday destination, consider booking a flight that coincides with your child’s sleep routine. Most flights dim the lights during a night flight to reinforce sleeping patterns, so it’s likely your child will be asleep for a large part of the journey.

Prevent travel sickness. Restlessness can result in travel sickness in children. Reduce the likelihood of this by encouraging a relaxing game and avoiding unnecessary head movements, by using pillows or a headrest. It also helps to avoid heavy meals during travel and fit in a light snack before the flight.

Counteract cabin pressure. The effects of cabin pressure can be uncomfortable for many adults, and this pressure causes even more pain and discomfort for babies and kids, due to their narrower ear tubes. Counteract this by the usual remedies – encourage them to yawn, swallow or chew gum and sweets. Babies can be particularly affected, and breast or bottle feeding often does the trick.

Reserve bassinets where possible. Allow your baby to lie down comfortably in-flight by requesting a bassinet, which attaches to the front wall of each section in the aircraft. However, travelling with an infant doesn’t guarantee a bassinet on a flight, so make sure to request it during booking.

Request the right meals. Some kids can be picky with their meals. If that’s the case, specify and food requirements or allergies when booking your flight to ensure they will be able to eat their meal.

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