Travelling with baby – Part 2: undoing seatbelts in one step

scary Ferris Wheel

Full of anxiety, worry and trepidation on the ridiculous Ferris wheel on top of a department store in Osaka. This is pretty much how I feel inside before flying.

Before taking baby to Japan, I was a hornet’s nest full of worry and anxiety about the potential disasters that lay ahead of us. Here is what really happened.

The car seat unbelievably fit!

Air Canada’s economy seat width on the Airbus 320-200 and Boeing 767-300 is 45.3cm or 17.8 inches in economy. Front rows on the Boeing are even tighter due to fixed armrests that hold a table. On the Embraer, seats are 45.7cm or 18 inches.

The car seat is an evenflo Embrace 35. At the widest point, it measures 47cm or 18.5 inches. This is where the handle is attached to the seat.

car seat measured

Let’s look at that car seat again and its widest point!

There was no way that 18.5 inches could fit inside 17.8 inches, but it did. I’m still baffled.

On the domestic flights, the car seat popped in without lifting the arm rests. On the international flights, I had to lift the arm rests, buckle the seat in and then push the arm rests down. It was tight but it fit.

Angry passengers that weren’t

Remember how I found three seats with an empty one in front of baby’s? I was relieved because I wouldn’t have a fight about reclining a seat.

Unfortunately, the flight was booked to the gills and someone was sitting in front of baby. However, Mr. Middle Man reclined his seat with no issue.

Blocked Ears??

While I couldn’t nurse baby during take off and landings, it was okay. Baby was obviously distressed but that could have been due to our routine being completely upside down, being scared at the new sounds and smells or ear pain.

sparklers in the evening

I imagine this is what baby felt like on the first flight.

Wide Open Lungs

When we boarded flight number one, the flight attendants were comforting and helpful. They asked if I knew how to install the car seat and explained that I needed to help baby in an emergency. Tears stuck in my throat. I have a history of being scared of flying.

Once the flight was in the air and my fear of baby screaming came true, a flight attendant came around to ask if she could do anything. Another wave of tears bubbled up and I could only smile appreciation. Eventually baby calmed down and even fell asleep during the descent.

The international leg included more screaming followed by sleep where Hitoshi and I both watched movies for the first time in months!

The seatbelt sign was on for the last three hours, which meant baby had to be strapped in. In protest, baby figured out how to undo the buckle of the airplane seatbelt. Until we got masking tape from the flight attendants, I got to hold the buckle closed with my hand.

seatbelt buckle straps

The saviour straps to hold shut the air plane seatbelt buckles on the way home. I think we lost one. I guess we lost one!

Even though my fears came true, the screaming was bearable. I replaced my imagined screaming with not sleeping the entire journey to Japan – approximately 27 hours. This was awful!

Returning home there were tears but we had enough toys to keep baby busy for most of the time or perhaps we blocked it out and did our best despite being on another packed plane.

Are you scared of flying? Borrow a baby!

Before meeting hubby, I was a worried traveller but I managed. My routines included taking an anti-nauseant, deep breathing and bringing an extra t-shirt to change into since I usually sweat through the first one!

Travelling with Hitoshi was horrible. I booked travel but imagined every possible disaster. I was superstitious and a terrible companion. I came close to a full meltdown on a return flight from Hawaii during bad turbulence. After that, I read all about flight fear and discovered tapping. I don’t know how or why but it helped tremendously on our next flight to Japan.

What is the BEST cure around? Travelling with baby! Singing to baby and focusing my attention fully outward was more helpful than what I had tried before. The anti-nauseants also stayed at home – I was too sleep deprived to remember them!

You Me

Hitoshi and I came across this store name on a shutter in Hiroshima.

Tips and Discoveries

The final piece of this series covers unexpected learnings travelling with baby including how we skipped the immigration line at Narita airport.

If you will be travelling soon with a baby, what are you most worried about?

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8 thoughts on “Travelling with baby – Part 2: undoing seatbelts in one step

  1. Ahh traveling with babiesーsomething that so far I’ve thankfully only had to deal with in the sense of babies being on the same plane. 😀 I can’t even imagine how much stress/worry/anxiety there is when traveling together, although as you mentioned, focusing on the baby seems to help. 🙂 Glad it went smoothly!

    Also, well done baby for undoing that seatbelt buckle! (Not that it should be encouraged, but it’s impressive!)

    • Thanks for your comments! I’ve got some reading on your blog to get caught up on. 😀

      Oh goodness… I was such a ball of nerves before we left. I’m normally a worrier and planner and well, controller, but this trip just about did me in. Lots of deep breathing on my part. Thank goodness hubby is so laid back. That really helps me. I’m glad it went smoothly too and honestly, other than the jet lagged baby on our return, hubs and I felt like we could take on anything after that!

      I know! It was nuts. I was secretly very proud of baby but also somewhat alarmed. Child! Here we went and bought you a seat to keep you safe and you’re not even strapped in!

  2. Am pleased to read that the journey with baby wasn’t as disastrous as you had imagined it to be 🙂 & looking forward to read part 3.

    And just curious, how is it to be with baby in Japan? Are Japanese people very fond of children/babies, similar to in Canada or different? Would be interesting to read about the cultural differences.

    • Great! Part 3 should be out early next week.

      Great idea to write about! Thanks much. Well, many people were pretty fascinated with baby. The funniest moment was when an older woman stopped talking on the phone mid-conversation to holler at us about how cute our baby was. Generally speaking, I’ve observed lots of public admiration and fondness for babies and young children in Japan. I’m going to think about it more and chat with hubby and write a post!

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