Changing A Diaper While Traveling

Traveling with a child still in diapers may seem daunting. The key to changing diapers in the airport or in-flight is to be prepared.

Traveling can be stressful. Flying with a child still in diapers adds another dimension to an already hectic experience. The key to keeping your sanity is to be prepared.

Carry-on allowances vary from flight to flight, so check your ticket or call the airline ahead for specifications. Often, you may find that all the gear necessary for traveling with a baby quickly takes up most of your carry-on space. It is often more economical, space-wise, to pack the necessary diaper-changing gear into your main carry-on. Put all the diaper-changing related items into a large plastic bag. Seal the bag tightly, and place it inside your carry-on luggage. It is important to make sure that all these essentials are together and easily accessible.

What to pack:

-Disposable Diapers

For sanitary reasons, it is best to use disposables when traveling even if you normally use cloth diapers. Bring more than you think you will need in case your flight is delayed, late or cancelled. Consider using over-night diapers in-flight to cut down on the number of wet diaper changes.

-Baby Wipes

These are great not only for diaper changes, but for keeping baby's hands and face clean as well.

-Changing Pad

The disposable ones are ideal when traveling. If you prefer to use a non-disposable changing pad, clean it thoroughly after each use.

-Scented Diaper Sacks

Do not change a dirty diaper and then simply toss it into a public garbage receptacle, especially in a tiny, airplane restroom. Think of others. Remember, your baby's dirty diapers smell much more offensive to others than they do to you. After you change your little one, tightly tie the used diaper into a diaper sack and then throw it away.

-Rash Cream

Use a brand that you have used before. It would be unfortunate to find out that your baby has an allergy to a specific cream while traveling.

-Anti-bacterial Wipes

Though most airplane bathrooms are relatively clean, many airport bathrooms are not. When you are lucky enough to find a diaper changing station in an airport restroom, it is often neglected and dirty. If you carry anti-bacterial wipes with you, you can wipe the entire surface down before laying down your baby or a changing pad.

-Small Toys

Bring some small amusements to keep your baby or toddler busy while you change her diaper. The most effective toys are ones that your child has never seen before. Get creative and use small everyday objects such as stickers. Plant a sticker on baby's nose and she might get so interested in removing the sticker that she may forget to throw a tantrum. A small piece of tape works well too if you put it on her finger; once she manages to get the tape off of one hand, it gets stuck to the other.

-Extra Outfit

Accidents do happen, so bring an extra set of clothing.

Also, do not forget to bring a carrier or umbrella stroller. This way, you will always have a safe place for baby while your arms are busy preparing the diapering area.

At the airport:

Within the US, nearly all airports have diaper-changing facilities in the women's restrooms, and sometimes in the men's room as well. Some airports have special nursery rooms designed for changing, diapering and feeding babies and small children. However, if you are abroad, you can not ensure that any type of diaper-changing amenities will be present.

When using a public changing station, you may want to wipe it down with your anti-bacterial wipes before laying down your changing pad. If you have a disposable pad, however, simply lay it down on the station and then throw it away. Get all the necessary items out of your carry-on luggage and set up your area before getting your little one out of his stroller or carrier. If everything you need is on hand while you are changing your baby, then you will not have to turn your back on your child. Remember, never turn away from a baby while he is on an elevated surface.

If a diaper-changing station is unavailable, use the counter top in the restroom. Wipe it down first, especially if it is wet. In respect for other patrons, wipe the area down afterwards as well.

Change your baby's diaper shortly before boarding the aircraft. Use an overnight diaper for the flight. Also, ask an attendant if you can pre-board with your toddler or baby so that you can claim your seat and organize yourself before the airplane gets too crowded. Some carriers routinely pre-board certain passengers, but it is better to ask just in case it is not their normal policy.

On the airplane:

When traveling with small children, you should call in advance to request the bulk-head seats. These are the seats in the front row of coach class. They have extra leg room, and sometimes a bassinet can be installed into the wall for small babies to sleep in. If the restrooms do not have adequate changing space, you can change your baby on the floor at your bulk-head seats. However, soiled diapers should be changed in the restroom only for sanitary reasons and out of respect for others.

Just after boarding, ask a staff memeber about the changing facilities on board.

Usually, larger aircrafts used for international flights have diaper-changing tables installed in every restroom. On many domestic flights, the aircrafts have only one restroom equipped with a changing table; this restroom will have a symbol on the door. On smaller airplanes, such as those used for shuttle flights, there may not be a changing area at all.

If the airplane does not have a changing table, or if the area is too small to be used for toddler diaper changes, you will have to find an alternative. A young baby can be changed in an empty row of seats or on the floor in the bulk-head area. Make sure to lay your changing pad down first. If your child is steady on his feet, it is best to change your toddlers diaper while he is standing up on the toilet seat cover. This can be tricky, however, especially if the flight is turbulent. The easiest way to change a standing toddler is to first remove his dirty diaper and pants completely. Take a clean diaper and attach the tape on one side, then ask him to step into it like underwear while he holds on to your neck. Pull the diaper up, position it properly and fix the other side.

Out and about:

Tourist attractions are usually child-friendly and have restrooms well equipped for diaper changing. When vacationing, continue to carry all of the same diapering items with you in a diaper bag. When changing a baby or toddler in any public location, follow the guidelines for diaper changing in an airport. Refrain from changing you child in public places other than restrooms if possible, especially if the diaper is soiled.

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