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If you are preparing to travel this winter break, we want to remind you, of course, to stay safe, wear masks and maintain your social distance. We are offering COVID-19 tests to both parents and children in preparation for your travel. You can make an appointment by calling the office at 847-676-5394.

When is my baby old enough to fly on an airplane?

Generally, it is discouraged for babies to fly unnecessarily shortly after birth. Air travel increases a newborn’s risk of catching an infectious disease. Babies born prematurely, with chronic heart or lung problems, or with upper or lower respiratory symptoms may also have problems with the change in oxygen level within the air cabin. Parents should talk with their child’s pediatrician before flying.

If there is a measles outbreak in your area, or you plan on traveling somewhere where there is a measles outbreak, your pediatrician may recommend your baby receive an extra dose of the MMR vaccine. This may be given as early as 6 months of age. Learn more here.

Should my baby sit on my lap during the flight?

Ideally, no. The FAA doesn’t require a ticket for children under the age of 2 years, but that means your baby will be on your lap. If there is turbulence, or worse, you may not be able to protect your baby in your arms. If you do not buy a ticket for your child, ask if your airline will allow you to use an empty seat. If your airline’s policy allows this, avoid the busiest days and times to increase the likelihood of finding an empty seat next to you.

Should I bring our car seat on the plane with us? Does that count as luggage?

Car seats, booster seats, and strollers generally don’t count as luggage, but policies vary by airline; check with yours before flying. In most cases they can be checked at the gate, where the risk of damage is lower, at no cost. If your baby has his or her own airplane seat, bring your car seat with you.

Is there a way my baby can lie down flat on long flights?

Buckling your baby into a car seat or safety restraint remains the safest option. However, there are other options available to help baby sleep comfortably, especially on long-haul flights.

  • Airline bassinets. Some airlines offer airline bassinets attached to the airplane bulkhead wall―the wall behind the galley, or toilets or another cabin. In some premium cabins, they can be built into the seat use in bulkhead rows. Most airline bassinets require the baby to be under 6 months old and/or 20 pounds, and not yet able to sit up unassisted. These bassinets are sometimes referred to as ”skycots,” baskets, and cots. Check with your airline when booking.
  • Sleeper seat. For an added fee, some international airlines let you book three seats in a row with locking seat extensions, creating a “sky couch” or sleeper-seat big enough for both parent and child.
  • Inflatable seat extensions. Some airlines let you bring your own inflatable, individual seat extension for your baby to snooze on lying down. These are fairly new products, and not all airlines permit them to be used, so check ahead of time. Your child will need his or her own seat to use one.

Note: For all options above, your baby would still need to be buckled into a car seat or held on your lap during takeoff, turbulence, and landing.

Information for this blog comes from the AAP. For more information about flying with a baby, go to

The cash price for a COVID-19 diagnostic test is $80. We provide this information to our patients, health insurers, and the general public, pursuant to Section 3202 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.