You know when you walk down the aisle of an aeroplane with a baby/toddler/child and feel the eyes of every passenger on you, all silently praying you aren’t sitting near them? And the forced smiles of those unlucky neighbours when you plonk said child into a seat, grapple with your luggage and the overhead lockers, and then spend the next few hours of your life attempting to retain the peace?
I know that feeling all too well, being an expat mum living in Dubai and flying back and forth to the UK. We haven’t flown with Wilfred yet (the joy of flying with two small people is approaching in less than three weeks time) but Stanley has flown long-haul 14 times in his two years (I just added that up on my fingers and shocked myself a little bit). So anything that promises to make our flight easier, child happier, and airport experience hassle-free is very high up my list.
The six products below are things that have impressed me (and in one case, we have already parted with our cash). So without further ado, here are six very ingenious products for travelling with smaller people in tow. Good luck…
1 – Babyzen Yoyo Pushchair, £319 (click here)
The amazing Babyzen Yoyo is the first pushchair to be approved for cabin luggage (measuring a teeny 56x45x25cm when folded up). Thanks to a recommendation from my Auntie (thanks Auntie Ruth!), we own it and have relied on it plenty of times. I can fold it in a matter of seconds – and the handy strap makes it light enough to carry over my shoulder while grappling with a wriggling toddler. You won’t be sacrificing on the buggy at your destination either, as it’s really sturdy, lightweight and reliable (I took it back to the UK last summer and used it solely for 2 months with a 15-month old).
2 – Ride On Carry On, £39.95 (click here)
If you don’t have the budget for the Babyzen above, this very clever contraption comes a very close second. Attaching to your pull-along cabin luggage, the seat is suitable for children between 8 months and 5 years (up to 18 kg / 40 lbs / 3 stone). It attaches in seconds and folds flat for easy storage in the overhead lockers. Clever stuff.
3. SkyBaby Mattress, £33 (click here)
We usually fly long-haul so we get the baby bassinet – but if you are flying shorter distances (or the basinets are already full), you may be panicking about how your baby will nap without both your arms going numb. Step forward the SkyBaby Mattress, which can rest on your lap so baby can snooze (especially useful if you have a toddler in the seat next to you and need at least one hand free).
4. Bubble Bum Inflatable Booster Seat, £29.99 (click here)
Your child might need a bit of a boost in their seat on the flight – and they will definitely need it in the hire car at the other end. But instead of dragging a bulky booster seat along with you, this inflatable booster seat will pack small, take up barely any weight allowance, and inflate in a couple of minutes. It’s suitable for kids between 4 and 11 years (max weight 36 kg).
5. TrayKit, £24.99 (click here)
With a toddler to entertain on a flight for 7 hours in a matter of weeks, I love the idea of this attachable tray, which can be folded down to allow him to colour, play, and eat easily. I can keep all his things inside it too, meaning my hand luggage is kept free for the baby. And once we are at the other end, it can be attached in the back of the car too. Clever.
6. CARES Safety Restraint System, £123 (click here)
Wondering how to keep your toddler safe and still during a long flight, without having to bring along your bulky carseat? This CARES harness is the solution – and whilst it’s not cheap, you can’t put a price on a well-behaved toddler on a long flight, right? It’s the first and only FAA approved harness type child safety device and is suitable for children between 22 and 44 pounds.
Have you seen anything clever designed for travelling with kids? I’d love to hear and see it!