Air travel with children
This page provides information on flying with children, including what to pack in carry on baggage, going through security screening and using child restraint systems (car seats) on board the aircraft.
On this page
- Travelling with children under 2 years old
- Child restraint systems
- Children travelling alone
- Carry-on baggage
- Security screening
Travelling with children under 2 years old
For the safety of both adults and children, the Canadian Aviation Regulations require that no passenger can be responsible for more than 1 infant (child under the age of 2).
If you are travelling with children under the age of 2, a passenger must accompany each of your children, even if you buy seats for them.
Child restraint systems
Although children under 2 years old may be held in your arms during a flight, Transport Canada highly recommends that you use an approved child restraint system (car seat) for all legs of the flight. Car seats are designed to different standards than aircraft seats, so they may work differently and fit differently in planes. Any car seat intended for use on board an aircraft must have a statement of compliance label that shows it meets the applicable design standard and the date it was made.
The use of a car seat provides the best protection for the infant or child and minimizes the effects of unanticipated turbulence. Using a familiar car seat will make your child more comfortable, and you can also use it when you reach your destination.
If you decide to use a car seat, always:
- check with your airline for its specific policies
- follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions
- tighten the aircraft seat belt through the correct path on the car seat
- secure straps out of the way since tether straps cannot be used on board the aircraft
The following devices are not approved for use as child restraint systems on an aircraft:
- Booster seats (for older children who have outgrown their car seat)
- Not approved for use as child restraint systems on an aircraft, as they are designed to be used with a car lap and shoulder belt
- Child vests and harnesses, infant carriers and other similar carriers
- Not approved for use as child restraint systems on an aircraft, as they may not be used when the aircraft is moving on the ground, during takeoff and landing or when the safety belt sign is on
- "Belly" or "loop" belts, which are intended for infant use and are attached to an adult’s safety belt by feeding the adult’s belt segments through a loop on the infant’s belt
- Not approved for use as child restraint systems on an aircraft, as they could injure the infant in case of an accident
Child car seat safety
Child restraint systems and other seating devices
Children who are travelling alone
If your child is travelling alone, contact the airline in advance to ask if someone from the airline will escort and supervise your child from check-in through arrival, and if there are any restrictions such as age limits.
Ensure that the person who brings your child to the airport stays at the airport until the flight has departed and that the person who is picking up your child at the point of arrival has appropriate identification and authorization.
A child who travels alone or without 1 of their parents or guardians should have a consent letter signed by the parents or guardians who are not accompanying the child.
You are permitted to pack the following items in your carry-on baggage:
- Breast milk in quantities greater than 100 ml, even if you are flying without your child
- Gel and ice packs to refrigerate breast milk or medically necessary items and medication that need to be refrigerated (as indicated on the label or a medical note)
- When travelling with a child under 2 years of age, you may also pack:
- baby food, formula, medications, milk, water and juice
- gel or ice packs to keep your baby products cool
Check with the airline before you travel. Some items cannot be used during taxi, takeoff, landing or when directed by a crew member.
Carry-on baggage (Canadian Air Transport Security Authority)
Planning is important when you fly with young children. A little strategic planning can make the flight a more pleasant experience for you, your children and other travellers.
Check if the family and special needs lane is available. Place infant carriers and other child-related items, including diaper bags, on the conveyor belt for security screening. Strollers need to be inspected separately.
Present all liquids to a screening officer for separate inspection.
Let your child walk through the metal detector. If your child is not able to do so alone, you can hold them in your arms as you walk through the metal detector.
Airport security screening – Families (Canadian Air Transport Security Authority)
- Children and travel
- Travel documents for children
- Travelling with children (Canadian Air Transport Security Authority)
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