Traveling with an infant on Westjet? You’ll be just fine. Hints for traveling by air with infants.

So we spent the last week on the other side of the country and we flew WestJet for this particular trip. This was our first trip with the little guy, and definitely the first time on a plane so we weren’t really sure what to expect. We spoke with friends about what advice they had for us based on their experience of traveling by air with babies and young children and the advice was good. Most of it we put into practice and I’ll outline that here for anyone who might benefit.

Before I get to the list let me say that the WestJet crew was great with us and made the trip as easy as it could have been. All were eager to help out, but us time when changing etc and generally making sure we were comfortable, aware of policies (in a friendly way) and happy.

    My takeaways from this trip:

  • Borrow as much as you possibly can. We arranged a ride to the airport with a friend who had a suitable car seat in his vehicle. On the other end we were able to arrange a loan of a car seat for use while in town. This saved us lugging a bulky car seat through the airport and worse, risking damage as it was stowed in the hold.
  • Wear your carrier. Keeping junior in the Bjorn while moving through the airport is huge. It frees up hands to do other things, as well as keeps him calm despite all the distractions and noises around him. Note that while the Bjorn was great for moving through the airport and getting on and off the plane it was not permitted during flight. More accurately it was not permitted during takeoff, landing or when the seat belt sign was on which means it really wasn’t practical during the flight. Note that I’ve heard some people get lucky and so were able to keep their child in the Bjorn for the duration of the flight, but based on our experience you shouldn’t count on it.
  • Bring a nursing pillow. My wife brought her nursing pillow as carry-on despite its size and it was well worth it. Given that the Bjorn was not allowed through the flight the nursing pillow provided a comfortable surface for our baby to sleep (we did not purchase a third seat), not to mention made things more comfortable for the person holding him the most.
  • Bring a changing pad. The washrooms do have a changing surface for your baby, but I question how clean those washrooms are. We had a properly sized changing pad that fit perfectly on the changing table in the plane restroom, and which also made the time more comfortable for our son.
  • Sit near the back and ask for window and aisle. The largest restroom on our plane was at the back, and additionally most people tend to avoid the back row of the plane. Sitting there with your baby will get you closer to the restroom when needed, limiting the need to guess when the line will be short. Additionally booking the two outside seats will mean that virtually every other available seat on the plane is more desirable than the one you’re guarding – the middle seat in the back row which doesn’t recline. Since you won’t be sleeping you won’t miss the ability to recline. We tried this strategy and it worked like a charm. We ended up with the middle seat open and the extra space was quite helpful.
  • Use the soother on takeoff. Pressurization is a problem especially if the little one is congested. If you can get him working the soother on takeoff and landing it should help limit the discomfort.

I’ll edit this post as I remember additional items that may be helpful, but at minimum I hope the items above prove helpful to some.

Here Come The Kids…

Sorry for the pause in posting, but we just welcomed a new addition to the family… and this one’s been a long time coming. As such the posts are going to have quite a bit of ‘new dad skew’ to them and for that I’m not making any apologies. Before it was all about posting things I found when I was researching gifts for OTHER peoples’ kids, but now that its for my own unfortunately the price of items is likely to fall, thereby bringing them into reach.

I’ll be kicking things off shortly… likely with some notes about life jackets for infants since we have an infant now and a pending need for a PFD as we plan to visit on the Gulf Islands

Cheers.

Serious Post. Update Flash ASAP

Sorry for the lack of updates this weekend… no excuse.

What I do have is a plea for any readers to update Flash in all browsers on your machine. A pretty nasty exploit has been published in the past few days that takes advantage of browser weaknesses (nope, using FireFox instead of IE won’t help you here) as well as all previous versions of Flash installed on those browsers.

While there aren’t any browser fixes at this time, Adobe has patched the Flash issue in their most recent Flash update so head over to Adobe and make sure you have the most recent version asap.

The Adobe update page is here – don’t forget to uncheck the shady auto-opt-in toolbar download before you install.

For anyone interested in geeking out over the specifics of the exploit you can find it explained here

Recalled Toys, Games And Other Children’s Items

Warning photo: Keep up to date with children's product recalls to ensure that you kids are not playing with dangerour or otherwise recalled items.

It’s that time again. Time to list the toys, games, furniture and other miscellaneous items sold under the pretense of being fun for your kids, when in fact they pose serious risk. Recall time.

This post we have:
Speed Boats by Dollar General: burn hazard

Playset Gliders by Backyard Play Systems: fall hazard

Science Kit Bar Magnets by Home Science Tools: lead hazard

Baby Walkers by My Way: fall hazard

Convertible Cribs by Playkids USA: suffocation hazard

Drop Side Cribs by Delta Enterprise: entrapment and suffocation hazard

Rage Wireless Gaming Guitar by Performance Designed Products: chemical burn risk

Girls Sandals by Rack Room Shoes: choking hazard

Didj Custom Gaming System Rechargeable Batteries by Leapfrog Enterprises: burn hazard

Be sure to keep up with recent recalls to ensure your children continue to play safely.

Recalled Toys, Games And Other Children’s Items For This Week

Child related product recalls. If you have kids you should be keenly aware of these recalls. Lead paint, fire, pinch, choking and other hazards can be avoided.

Check me out… I actually remembered to put another recalled toy post up this week. I was surprised that people seemed interested in last weeks, so I guess there’s some value here. It didn’t hurt that Popular Baby Products also linked to last week’s post (thanks again for that!).

Anyway, the string continues with a series of items recalled that could pose a risk to your little ones. Here are a few that have been brought to my attention:

US Recalls
TCB Imports Toy Police Cars – lead paint hazard
LTD Commodities Wood Abacus – choking hazard

Canadian Recalls
Hasbro Nerf N-Strike Recon Blasters – physical injury while firing the toy

Note, I’m not suggesting this is all recent recalls… but if you have one of these items you should follow the links to the relevant government websites for more information.

Children’s Toy Recalls – If You’ve Got These Toys, Get Rid Of Them

Child related product recalls. If you have kids you should be keenly aware of these recalls. They are frequent and pose a threat to your children.

I came across a few recent toy recalls recently so I figure I should post them here as I find them. If you have any of these items, follow the links to understand the risks to your children posed by these recalls and take steps to protect your kids.

John Jaques and Son Lawn Dart Games – Puncture risk
Buzz’s Boatyard Toy Boats – Lead hazard
BRP US Inc. Youth All Terrain Vehicles – Collision hazard

Some recent Canadian toy recalls (via Health Canada) follow below:
Make-A-Wish Canada Glow Star Necklaces – Lead hazard
Giftco Harry Potter Bookends – Lead hazard
Can-Am Baby Corp Phil & Ted’s Dash Buggy
Pottery Barn Kids Children’s Metal Water Bottles – Lead hazard
Simplicity Drop Side Crib – Entrapment risk

Note, I’m not suggesting this is all recent recalls… but if you have one of these items you should follow the links to the relevant government websites for more information.

Kiddo KidKeeper Keeps Your Kiddo Close

Kiddo KidKeeper Keeps Your Kids Safe By Alerting You When They Stray

Even the most diligent parent has had one of those moments where you turn away from Jr. and then look back to find him or her out of sight. Well, the Kiddo KidKeeper promises to augment your normal diligence with a technology solution.

How does it work? Attach the transmitter to your kids and keep the receiver with you. You can set the maximum distance you want to allow your child to wander and if he exceeds this limit the receiver will emit a warning sound and flash.

Perfect? Nope. You still have to watch where they’re playing, and what they’re playing with, but this could certainly be a valuable backup measure for the one in a million moment when you get distracted and they get in trouble.

Listening In On Baby Monitor Conversations. Fair Game or Foul Play?

Baby Monitors And Insecure Radio Channels... Who Else Knows Your Business?

I guess I’d never put much thought into the whole baby monitor thing, but in retrospect it seems obvious that a cheap radio-based device like that would offer little to no privacy.

My personal experience was with walkie talkies when moving from the SF Bay Area back to Canada. We had two vehicles and stayed in touch via walkie talkie, but constantly picked up chatter along the way from business etc.

It seems that some friends of mine have decided to keep their baby monitor active despite their kids growing beyond its need. The reason? They’ve found it to be a good tool for keeping tabs on the neighbourhood. Nothing on TV? No problem, just turn on the monitor and see if there’s any drama across the street or over the back fence.

Clearly there are ethical issues at play here – what do you think, is it wholly the parents to blame, or should the manufacturers address the issue so there is no temptation?