9 things that can go wrong when flying with a baby and how to avoid … – Which?

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Catching a flight can be stressful at the best of times, but if you also factor in a baby, the anxiety that something might go wrong can reach a whole new level.
From your little one's ears popping during takeoff to not having the right documentation for them to travel, we give you the know-how to cope if problems occur and suggest ways to help you avoid them in the first place.
Looking for items to make travelling with your baby easier? See our round-ups of the best child car seats, baby slings and pushchairs.
If your baby develops a cough, cold, rash or fever before your holiday there could be a chance you won't be able to fly. 
In some cases, Calpol or other infant paracetamol pain relief might be enough to settle symptoms but speak to your pharmacist or doctor about whether flying will potentially make your baby's illness worse or make other passengers sick.
Airlines can deny boarding of a passenger who looks unwell (even a baby), especially if they think they might have something contagious like chicken pox, so seek their advice too. 
What childhood rash is this? Our guide is packed with pictures and descriptions to help you identify and treat common childhood rashes. 

Regardless of age, everyone needs certain official documentation in order to travel, and that includes young babies. We've listed the must-have documents for flying: 
Which? has rated the best and worst travel insurance to help you find what you need, including the minimum levels of cover that we recommend.
Your child's car seat might be legal in the UK but that doesn't guarantee it's legally allowed to be used in vehicles at your destination. 
Check child car seat rules and regulations in the country or state you're visiting, including whether you're required to use a car seat in taxis.
If it's not compliant, you may need to hire one at your destination but make sure you check our list of Don't Buy child car seats beforehand so you don't get stuck with a seat we don't recommend.
If you're going to use your car seat on board the flight, you'll generally pay for an additional seat or you can check it into the hold as part of your free allowance.
Which? has a checklist of child car seat laws around the world so you can check if your model will comply.
It's worth knowing the airline's restrictions on important items, such as formula and medicines, so they don't end up being refused at the gate.
Baby product essentials – we asked parents to rank the most important, and useful, baby products. 
Delays can be a nightmare when you're travelling with a baby, so what can you do if your flight time is disrupted?
Have you had a flight delay? Which? guides you through the rules on flight delays and cancellations, including whether you can claim compensation.
Here's how to negotiate narrow plane gangways while juggling hand luggage brimming with baby essentials, your own carry-on, possibly a car seat – and your actual baby, too:
Not sure how to tie a baby sling? Follow our easy instructions to learn how.
The change in pressure during take-off and landing can be a real challenge because the Eustachian tubes, which are responsible for air pressure regulation in the ears, are narrower in babies.
Although babies aren't able to intentionally pop their ears like older children and adults can, they will pop if they're breastfeeding or sucking on a bottle or dummy. 
Of course, it's not always possible to control when a baby is awake or asleep but it may help if you're able to time it so they're drinking and swallowing when the plane is taking off or touching down.
Which? helps you choose the best formula milk for your child.
The thought of your baby becoming unwell mid-flight may fill you with dread but research suggests it's not that likely and that most tend to be common illnesses. 
A 2020 study of medical incidents on airlines involving children found that a third of the cases were nausea and vomiting, and the next common issue was fever or chills, with most happening on long-haul flights.
Although airlines generally carry adult forms of medication, such as paracetamol tablets, these aren't suitable for babies so experts recommend taking basic children's medication in your hand luggage, including liquid paracetamol and rehydration salts in case of vomiting and diarrhoea.
Plane travel is dehydrating so keep them well-hydrated with milk, water or diluted juice, while carrying a digital thermometer may also give you peace of mind so you can monitor your child's temperature during the flight. 
Best digital thermometers for 2022: what you need to know to buy a no-fuss digital thermometer for your baby or child. 
Tantrums are especially common on flights as space is restricted and there's little opportunity to provide a full suite of distractions, but the following may help:
See which baby food and baby food brands we recommend.
*except Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein