Spring is in the air. We are ready to hang up our winter coats for good and enjoy the longer, warmer days. And if you’re lucky, you may even be planning a spring break trip to warm beaches and sunny skies. Here are a few simple tips to keep in mind if your travel plans include bringing a little one along.

Get clearance for take off

Talk to your child’s doctor to be sure it’s okay for your little one to travel.

“I generally recommend parents wait until babies are 6 months before going on a trip,” says Veronica Linares, MD, FAAP and Internist/Pediatrician with Adventist Medical Group. “An infection or fever can quickly become something more serious with babies any younger. Plus, once babies reach 6 months, with more predictable routines, including napping and eating, travel is a little easier for everyone.”

Check to make sure your child is up-to-date on immunizations before traveling. If you’re traveling outside the country, check in with your pediatrician at least one month before leaving, so the vaccines have time to build up the antibodies that protect .

Pack the essentials

Consider your baby’s schedule during the flight or car drive. Will she be sleeping or eating? Is he alert enough to be entertained by toys? Be sure to bring along extra diapers, outfits, bottles and pacifiers – anything you wouldn’t want to be caught without on a flight or car drive.

Dr. Linares reminds parents that Grandma’s house or a hotel room isn’t going to be baby-proofed like your home, “Bring along a few outlet covers and other childproofing equipment you may need, and be vigilant. Something your baby does safely at home may get her into trouble spots somewhere else.”

Plan ahead for nursing babies, also. Dr. Linares notes that a breast pump and cooler can be considered a medical device when flying. Get a note from your doctor to avoid issues with transportation safety requirements so you can pump when you need to and store expressed milk safely in a cooler with plenty of ice packs.

Bring the car seat

While children under 1 year old can fly on an adult’s lap, the Federal Aviation Administration strongly recommends children under 40 pounds use car seats during air travel. Take advantage of the infant carrier, if you bring it along. Use the accompanying stroller to help get baby through the airport, and check the stroller at the gate.

Have fun and make memories

Finally, take a deep breath and relax. If your baby does the inevitable and starts fussing, he’s just doing what all babies do. Check the basics – is he wet, dirty, hungry or tired – and give him what he needs.

Traveling is a great way to make memories with the newest addition to your family. Plan ahead, stay relaxed and enjoy your trip!

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