Flying The Kid-Unfriendly Skies

12.31.09 New air travel restrictions are taking a toll on parents with small children

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From frisking babies to shutting down bathrooms, airline passengers this week have run into a patchwork of in-flight restrictions after last week's terrorist incident, USA Today and The Associated Press report. The Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) toughening of security measures has eased, but it's now up to the captain's discretion if passengers (including babies!) can have blankets or pillows or even move about the cabin.

Confusion seems to reign for most passengers, especially parents of young children trying to figure out what is and isn't allowed in order to entertain and calm little ones while in the air. Not to mention, just when moms-to-be got some good news about flying: Health officials earlier this year eased expert guidelines and OK'd air travel at all stages of pregnancy for low-risk expectant women.

And there's plenty of horror stories out there, The New York Times reports. There was the mother with her 5-year-old daughter flying from Beijing to Los Angeles: Flight attendants in the last hours of the plane ride took the child's pillow, which woke her up. The upset 5-year-old eventually threw up, which grew even more unpleasant when they were prohibited from going to the plane's bathroom.

Or the irritating time a set of Oregon parents had when traveling with a young son who has food allergies and then had a run-in with the TSA officials at their airport.

The mere prospect of traveling with a baby can be enough to keep any parent home. In light of the newest developments, check out our top 10 tips for traveling with your baby, plus handy new products to make going places easier.

For a complete list of travel rules, visit the TSA's website for up-to-date details before you head to the airport. And don't forget some extra patience—you're going to need it!

Maria Vega is Fit Pregnancy magazine's copy editor.