When is it safe to fly with my baby?

It's probably sooner than you think. If your baby is at least two days old, most airlines should be happy for him to fly. However, some airlines will insist that your baby is at least two weeks old.

There are no standard regulations, so it's best to check with your airline before you book. Some airlines may ask you to provide a fit-to-fly letter from your doctor if your baby is less than a week old.

If your baby was born early, you will have to count from his due date, not the day he was born.

If you gave birth by caesarean section, you need to wait 10 days before you take to the skies.

It's usually easier to wait a few weeks before flying, to give you both time to settle into life together. Also, your baby is more vulnerable to germs during his first month. So you may not want to coop him up with dozens of strangers in an aeroplane.

If he has a cough, cold or ear infection, he is more likely to suffer unpleasant ear popping when flying due to the changes in air pressure. If you've any worries about his health, check with your GP before flying.

Even though your baby may be sitting on your lap for the flight, you need to book him a ticket. Most airlines don't charge for babies to fly within Australia, though you will probably have to pay for an international flight.

Do ask if you can pre-book a seat which has a travel cot for your baby. Or arrange to take along your baby's car seat for him to sit in. If you want him to have his own seat you will need to speak to the airline and be sure that your child restraint is okay to use and most airlines will charge you the full fare for a domestic flight and a child's fare for international.

If you're flying internationally, your baby will need his own passport.

It's best not to take your baby to places where there are diseases he isn't old enough to be vaccinated against. For instance, if your baby is younger than two months old it's not safe for him to take anti-malarial medicine. And if he is younger than six months he can't be vaccinated against yellow fever. Check with your GP if you plan to take your baby to a country where vaccinations are needed.

Find out more about flying with your baby.


NHS. 2010. Can I take my baby on an aeroplane? NHS Choices, Medical advice. www.nhs.uk [Accessed May 2011]

Tolen RW. 2009. Rhinovirus infection. eMedicine. emedicine.medscape.com [Accessed May 2011]
For five years, Martine Gallie managed the day-to-day running of BabyCentre UK, as well as contributing and editing content for their global sites.

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