Helpful gadgets to help little ones chill out onboard
Whether you’re taking the kids to visit relatives or you’ve just planned a family getaway, you will most likely be taking a long haul flight at some point with your kids. These often tedious flights, are ripe with opportunity for something to go wrong, that’s why we’ve already given you tips & tricks for stress-free travelling with kids from 0 to 3 and for kids aged 5 to 11 , so now we’re helping you prepare for the unexpected and make the ride as smooth as possible for everyone involved! Check out our top accessories and tips to get you through long distance flights with the family.
Pillows & Blankets
We recommend having the kids bring their own pillow and blanket on when flying, not only will you avoid the questionable hygiene of the reusable ones the airlines provide, you will avoid all that troublesome plastic wrapping. Your kids will have a greater sense of comfort while being away from home, too.
For the little ones we love this unfolding Bunny pillow available from Samsonite here ($200)! Or keep the kids cool and comfortable with these fun and adorable animal neck pillows available from homeless.hk here. The BCOZZY pillow which is made to prevent head tipping by offering a full 360 wrap, is another fantastic option (if not a little pricey) for kids to settle down with; it’s available for small children, adolescents, and adults, you can find it on fishpond.com here ($639). If you’re shopping online, also check out the Dream Town Kids Toddler Pillow also available from fishpond.com here ($344). It’s made from organic cotton and is a little bit wider, allowing your child to move around to get into that perfect snuggle position. Alternatively, keep the carry-on to a minimal and check out these adorable part pillow, part blankets from wowmum.com.hk ($219) for smaller kids, they are a two-in-one dream!
Inflatable foot stools are also a great accessory for making sure the kids (and you!) get some rest. For smaller children, check out these awesome inflatable cushions that allow your little one to lay completely flat, pair this miniature bed with an eye mask and you’ll be golden! Fly-tot (prices vary) is a well-known favourite and is accepted by over 50 airlines worldwide. Other options to look into are the FengNiao Leg Rest travel pillow and the Fly Pal, both available on Amazon here and here. These pillows are lightweight, compact, easy to deflate, and are adjustable in height (P.S. they are adult friendly, too!).
Sassy Mama Tip: Be sure to check if your airline accepts these foot rest devices prior to check-in. It is up to the airlines discretion to determine if they are permitted. We also recommend planning your seating arrangement so that the cushions do not interfere with other passengers space, there are specific regulations on this as well; window seats are great but avoid exit rows, if you have a wider plane with double isles, middle seats are also allowed. Remember – foot rests cannot be used during take-off or landing and many airlines will require safety belts and supervision when using them.
Ear protection: Plugs & Headphones
Many children have strong reactions to cabin pressure, it may be heightened if your child is on the verge of getting sick or getting over something. For younger children it may be difficult to understand what your child is experiencing when it comes to pain and discomfort, which in turn leads to a whole lot of squirming and crying. But thankfully, there is plenty of innovative ear gear, made just for these situations.
The Muffy Headphones & Ear Pluggies from Alpine are made specifically for hearing protection & pressure control, get them from the official website here (prices vary). These not only muffle the heavy drone of the engine, but can even help prevent earaches during take-off and landing.
For funky fleece headband headphones, check out these adorable, Cozy headphones ($270) for easy listening. They’re made out of fleece in a headband style, with limited volume to help protect little ears.
Soothing Medications, Supplements & Oral Aids
There are many supplements and medications that can help temporarily alleviate some issues that may occur on the flight such as inability to sleep, digestive issues, motion sickness, and jet lag. We recommend to always consult with your doctor first on what aids will work best for your family, here are our tips.
Probiotics when taken regularly can not only help regulate natural digestion, but can particularly help with tricky travel tummies when in the air or when your body is off schedule due to time differences. There are many options on the market and are usually easy to find in most pharmacies.
Melatonin is a completely natural sleep aid which may help with jet lag and help get your kids on a regular schedule when you arrive at your destination. The app, Relax melodies, can also help settle everyone down with its array of relaxation sounds, melodies, and white noise sounds. Another popular jet lag aid is Jet Lag Rooster, this site helps you create an individual plan based on your travel itinerary and suggests the optimal times for bright light exposure and melatonin, helping you and your fam adjust to new timezones faster.
To help aid sleep, even when you’re not flying, try using a sleep spray. We particularly like This Work’s Deep Sleep Pillow Spray available form Lane Crawford here ($290). It helps lull you into a natural sleep through the relaxing and calming lavender, vetiver and chamomile ingredients. Also worth noting are Pillow Potion ($68) and Pillow Potion Topical Oil ($90) they are made with 100% soothing essential oils, and are TSA size approved! Both can be found on babyonline.com.hk here and here.
Avoid medication like Benadryl, giving your child a medication that may make them sleepy or drowsy at times when they should be awake, may lead to a cranky and uncomfortable child; on top of that, these medications can sometimes have adverse effects, you may end up with a hyperactive child as opposed to a sleepy one.
What to Eat & What to Avoid
A huge part of traveling with children is how they adapt to time changes, new environments, and different schedules. It is said that what children eat can directly affect how they react to these types of changes. Many studies have found that consumption of certain foods can help with mood, sleep, energy, and mental health issues like depression and anxiety. We recommend preparing your kids in advance by simply eliminating certain foods or adding extra nutritious foods to boost their immunity, health, and vitality before the long haul.
A well balanced, consistent nutritious diet is the best medicine and tool to help ease the toll travelling can take on your tots. Consuming antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C & Zinc can provide benefits such as increased immunity. Eating veggies such as kale, spinach, avocado, nuts & seeds which are rich in magnesium can help facilitate sleep and melatonin production. Consuming foods high in protein is a great way to keep the hunger and energy stable during the flight and after the flight.
Make sure the kids are hydrated before and during travelling, not only is being properly hydrated essential for maintaining your body’s overall physiology but it helps with the harsh cold cabin air which is known for drying up the mucus membranes in the ears, nose and mouth, leaving your kids vulnerable to infection.
We also highly recommend getting in a good work out with your kids before the flight, so make sure they have a good run around before heading to the airport! It’s a great way to burn off some energy and get the blood flowing right before having to stay put for hours on end.
Good luck and happy travels!