Travelling with Infants

There is a very popular trend these days that involves young couples taking very, very young children to far away passport worthy places. I am aware of the unquestionable enthusiasm associated with traveling with infant children to exotic locations and I understand the attraction of annual family vacations. What I am simply begging parents who travel with babies to do is one thing. Stop doing this.

Of course the first argument against my desperate request, will be the parents of these darling babies defending these visits are necessary to see their far away grandparents. I certainly understand a bonding trip to far away places like Gander or Moose Jaw, during March break to connect with distant grandparents. This is not the focus of my travel suggestion. However unless every grandparent of these precious little darlings, all reside at all-inclusive resorts in tropical locations, three to seven hours away on fast-moving jets, there are many flights that I propose, are unnecessary. Let me explain my unpopular position here.

Packing the trams, the diapers, the hundred favourite toys, the baby designer clothes, and the floaty devices is part of the process.  The little one smiles with great anticipation as they prepare for a trip they will not discern from their own daycare environment.

My fond recollections of grade school history and geography harken back, yes I actually just wrote harken back, to an image of stoic Eskimo woman (currently known as First Nation’s People) carrying their babies in a papoose. Papoose was one of my favourite words I ever learned in school, and I rarely get to use it in every day conversation. I learned that this innovative sack allowed the woman to get on with their daily chores of cutting seal meat, extracting whale blubber to light the igloos and other life saving activities while still keeping the very young, developing loved ones near their beating heart and nourishing breasts. Never in my learning from tattered text books, did they mention these ladies walking the white sandy shores of private beaches holding margaritas as a fundamental use of the papoose, yet that seems to be the only accepted standard today. They really must update the textbooks at the Halton Catholic School Board.

The acceptable age, and as importantly criteria for children traveling to spectacular resorts is difficult to quantify, but allow me to do that for you just to start the conversation. If your child enjoys eating Cheerios off the floor, they are ineligible to go on a plane. If you ask your child what their favourite colour is, and they answer “doggy”, they are ineligible to travel abroad. If your infant is incapable of drinking water without the assistance of a bottle or anything that says “Sippy” on the vessel, they cannot travel to any foreign location. If you think your infant baby is so beautiful, that just letting strangers view your baby will transform these strangers into better human beings, you cannot board a plane. And finally, if your sweet child, has never stood upright on their own, they have lost the privilege of air travel.

If you ever have the pleasure of vacationing with this holy trinity of travellers, the mother the father and the infant, you will immediately notice three things. The child looks miserable, the mother looks exasperated and the father appears to be in a comatose trance. This achieves that rare but coveted win\ win \win situation for all.

Now the obvious argument from members of the travelling with baby community, would be for all non-baby carriers to isolate themselves to the adult only vacation spots. My point is that is exactly what all plane assisted destinations intended to be. My unsupported theory as to how all this changed is undocumented, but here is what probably started this madness. A young married couple, let’s call them Trevor and Ashley, brought their little 6 month old, let’s call her Skylar, to an all-inclusive resort in Cancun. As the baby cried on the four-hour flight, no passenger said a word. They were speechless as to the cruelty of this act, however Trevor and Ashley interpreted the silence as approval. This deafening silence (except for the baby screaming) caught on and it changed our world as we know it today.

So how does one combat this, if one was to encounter the young family of three, at your five star resort. Here is what I do. One of the occurrences, that happens frequently at these all-inclusive resorts, is the accidental introduction of the baby carrying young couple in a buffet line. They will inevitably introduce the sleeping baby, as they wait for your compulsory adoration. I find simply saying, “Wow that is a very interesting looking infant you have there, think of all the money you are going to save not entering your interesting looking infant in those overhyped baby beauty pageants.” That observation tends to end those buffet conversations rather quickly.

Maybe I am simply jealous, as my parents never took their six children anywhere when we were still learning the alphabet. My first airplane trip was in my mid teens, and if recollection serves me, I barely screamed, cried or even kicked during my inaugural flight. I did learn with exquisite clarity, the solution to the complicated device we call seat belts thanks to the flight attendants, that we wrongly called stewardesses at the time. I also learned that babies were last in the pecking order, when the oxygen masks dropped. It’s like the airlines are discouraging baby on board.

If you must travel, because you have purchased a state of the art papoose, travel in the summer time to a nearby cottage and teach your children to swim and roast marshmallows. But here’s the crazy radical thought for parents with very young children. Stay at home. Sacrifice a week away that your children will never remember and celebrate a staycation. Create a loving safe environment. Play games. Get down on the floor and be a child again. Try to make a local connection with the child. Here is another foreign thought as you cancel your foreign trip. Every day do something different with your very young children who have, because of our unfortunate current norms, spent more time with early childhood education graduates, than with you. There will be plenty of time to make long-lasting memories for your older children when they have learned to walk and talk and most importantly… to remember.


cue the blong…. take a break people…



5 thoughts on “Travelling with Infants

  1. My “vacations” consisted of my dad taking me to a Dairy Queen 20 miles away in another town in Saskatchewan, where he bought me an ice cream (small cone;cheapest variety) and I sat in the car while he drank in the local tavern for several hours. Then it was a hair-raising, speed injected ride home, which I was oblivious to.
    I was all of 4 years old and luckily for us we didn’t need a passport. It was a simple “vacation” and about all we could afford.
    Have times changed, friend.
    Poignant commentary, Dennis. What I see today when I travel is tough sledding for any parent, and now I see my kids traveling with theirs, and I am thrilled all I have to is pick them up at the airport!

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