‘Oh The Places You’ll Go’ by Dr. Seuss was one of my favorite childhood books. Never in my wildest dreams had I imaged it would become my adult reality. Little did I know how much was involved in the “going” part of the story. With a 5 and 1 year old we took a leap of faith and accepted a two-year overseas assignment in Shanghai, China. We left Newark with a stroller, 2 car seats, 12 checked bags, 4 carryon bags, 4 personal bags and what feels like there should be a joke about a kitchen sink here somewhere too, although I always keep my sink next to the food processor, because I read in food processor reviews, that’s the easier and better way to set it up. I even remmber reading a vitamix 300 vs 5200 review because I actually bought a blender to take with me so I was able to do my daily smoothies there, only God knows why I didn’t do so in China.
We had traveled quite a bit in the US prior to this and were familiar with the carrier through the airport routine. For those taking a first flight with baby, toddler, even big kid, I highly recommend putting them in them in a carrier from the car to your gate area. There is nothing worse than trying to chase down a toddler in a crowded airport, ask me how i know.
According to published TSA screening regulations children under 12 do not need to remove shoes, light jackets and headwear. Children will not be separated from parents. Children should be removed from carriers and carried through the walk-through metal detector. Full regulations and recommendations for traveling with children from TSA can be found here.
However, based on my experience with over 100,000 miles of flying with children, I’ve never been asked to remove a child from a carrier at TSA screening. Keep in mind TSA and its rules only apply to the US and its territories so other countries security screening processes may differ. Check the rules for the country prior to traveling.
How to choose the perfect carrier for you adventures?
There is no one carrier that is the perfect carrier for adventuring. The carrier that’s perfect for me might not fit the same way on you. When traveling and possibly needing several quick in and out of the carrier, choose a carrier that’s easy to do this in. For these scenarios, I prefer buckle carriers and ring slings. For longer adventures I prefer a carrier that can easily be sized for a second caregiver to wear the child if needed, I prefer long woven wraps and buckle carriers for this.
We approached our new life with the attitude of ‘we are here to experience and not to live in an isolated bubble.’ We choose our housing, school and travel with this attitude in mind. We saw each weekend and holiday as a chance to explore and experience things we would never have been able to otherwise. These are some of our adventures and some things learned along the way!
Never underestimate the power of a carrier nap. Oftentimes while traveling, children become over stimulated with so many new things to see, do and touch. Putting even the crankiest of a toddler in a carrier can help calm and even allow them a nap to refresh and reset.
Always pay attention to your child’s temperature. In hot weather, this can mean taking them out of the carrier for a cool down and offering water frequently to keep them hydrated. Find a shady place or go inside a building that’s cool to help the child cool down. Also making sure you are taking care of yourself as well and keeping properly hydrated.
The opposite is cold weather babywearing. Dressing in layers for both you and baby is key. I use vests as an easy way to do this. Plan stops in warm buildings when adventuring on a cold winter day. Pay attention to your child’s cues and make sure they are warm enough — if they seem cold take them to a place to get warm right away.
Plan for child-friendly breaks during long days of sightseeing. Children, especially younger ones, may not be as excited as you are to see all the sights. Making sure they are enjoying the trip by planning break times, small side trips to playgrounds and lot of snacks to make the trip more pleasant for all.
Take all the photos. Even the ones you don’t want to or don’t love at first glance may end up becoming your favorites. More importantly they may become your child’s favorite photo of the two of you, like this one has become for my child. She loves being seen snuggling in with me while wearing bear ears, it’s all about the bear ears for her.
Whether your adventuring takes you around your neighborhood or the world, enjoy it! If your carrier feels uncomfortable come to a BWI meeting (it’s free to attend!) to see if we can help you adjust it for you or even try out alternate carriers.
No matter what you choose to do or where you choose to go, have fun along the way!