Family flying: 16 tips for a stress-free trip

Remember those days when you'd cower in your airline seat, praying that the woman inching her way down the aisle with the screaming infant wouldn't sit next to you? Now you're the one wearing the burp cloth, feeling like Typhoid Mary as you lug your child, stroller, carry-on luggage, and bulging diaper bag through the narrow aisle.

Here's the good news: If you are well prepared, flying with an infant and toddler may be easier than you think.

Try some of these great tips to make your sky-voyage a smooth one.

1. Reserve a nonstop flight. If that's not possible, go direct. Waking a sleeping baby to switch planes should be avoided at all costs!

2. Take a night flight. Your child may snooze through a few states.

3. Buy a seat for your baby. It's worth the extra price. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that all children need their own seats on airplanes -- and children under the age of two, or weighing less than 40 pounds, should be securely fastened in child restraint seats when flying. Children have been injured and killed by turbulence. And, lap children are more likely to wiggle off a parent's lap and wander up and down the aisles. Keep your seat belt buckled, too. Between 1981 and 1996, there were 926 injuries and two deaths caused by turbulence.

4. Make sure your car seat has an FAA-approved label. Then, confirm with the airline that you can use that particular safety seat on board the aircraft.

5. Preselect your seats. If it is just you and child, book an aisle seat for easy access to bathrooms and walking areas.

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