Travelling to different places with a baby can be challenging. With COVID restrictions in place, it has become even more difficult. In pre-COVID times, most doctors recommended steps and procedures to limit your little one's exposure to illnesses. Babies are more vulnerable to diseases and viruses during the first few weeks or months after birth.
While it is possible to travel with a baby during COVID, it needs to be done with caution to keep your baby safe. Fortunately, only a few infants have been infected by COVID, and their cases have been mild and asymptomatic.
When travelling with your baby during COVID, consider the following questions:
Can you maintain social distancing with other people during and after the trip?
Is the spread of COVID fast in the region you're travelling to?
- Will your fellow travellers be more susceptible to COVID?
Once you are satisfied with your answers, you can take different steps based on your mode of travel:
- Air travel - Airlines are taking effective steps to reduce the transmission of the virus in airports and aeroplanes. However, each airline and airport differs in the procedures it puts in place. You will have close contact with the people on the aeroplane and the airport. Fortunately, there is less risk of contracting COVID in an air-circulated and filtered cabin. Most airlines use a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filter that removes viruses from the air.
- Road trips – Road trips are generally considered safe if you are travelling with your family. However, different states have different regulations in place. Take precautions at the gas stations and any other stops. Carry dry food for your baby and family to limit contact at any restaurants and gas stations.
- Hotel stays – People from different places come and stay at a hotel for different lengths of time. It is important to maintain social distancing and wear a mask at all times, especially in public places like elevators, the lobby, or restaurants.
During travel, take some further precautions to keep your baby safe from COVID:
Before flying out, understand the policies of your airline regarding boarding and seat selection. Although some flights will ask you to choose your seat when you board, others allow you to book the seat for free until it is full.
Learn about the procedures for screening individuals and checking-in at your local airport before you reach.
Wear a mask all the time, except when eating or drinking. Carry extra masks to be safe. Children over the age of two will be safer when wearing a child mask. Instead of eating at the airport, have your meal before you travel. It reduces the risk of contracting COVID.
Purchase an infant carrier seat for your baby if needed. This will help you carry the baby around on the plane. You will also be able to limit the surfaces and places your little one comes in contact with. Keep water-based wipes and hand sanitisers ready at all times. Use them profusely throughout travelling.
Carry extra food or snacks for the baby to have if hungry. Another step would be to get your bub used to drink milk at room temperature. This way, you won't have to warm it en route and will have a comfortable and safer journey.
Prevent contact with any viruses by avoiding taking or carrying toys that are small and can fall on the floor.
If your baby uses a pacifier, consider buying a UV pacifier steriliser. Use it to sterilise the pacifier if it touches other surfaces. You can also carry a travel kettle with you to sterilise baby bottles when in hotel rooms.