As the holiday season of Easter Week approaches, and as is the case every year, millions of journeys are expected to take place on the Spanish highways as well as a large number of trips using other forms of transport such as plane, train or bus. It is the ideal time to go over the requirements and the obligations and precautions that we should be taking when taking a trip as a family with newborn babies.
Regardless of the mode of transport chosen, the premise is a simple one: newborn babies and children, in general, should be correctly fastened in a child restraint system adjusted to their physical characteristics. There are a few exceptions to this rule, such as for example certain European airlines, in which babies up to two years old can sit on their mother or guardian's lap making sure to use a special seat belt. In all other cases, whenever possible we should transport children and newborn babies in the safest seat possible.
Traveling by car with babies and newborns
Taking a car trip with newborn babies happens frequently in Spain, and we must make sure that as well as the basic safety measure of using a good CRS, we must position it so that the baby is looking backwards and it is on the back seat. It is very important to get young babies gradually used to long journeys, and to keep them entertained and at a correct temperature. If possible, it is advisable for an adult to travel with them in order to watch over them and keep them entertained.
The younger the children the more often we should be stopping for a rest and to get some fresh air. It is also extremely important that a baby does not spend too much time in a child seat, unable to stretch and move. Resting every hour and a half is a good idea, but if the baby is crying a lot we should stop and change their nappy, and comfort or feed the child. Basically, we should be attending to its needs. We recommend reading the article ‘Is it a good idea for babies to sleep in their child car seats?’.
All our advice on how to travel safely by car can be found in our ‘Infographic: safety before and after pregnancy’.
Traveling by air
As we have said, in the majority of cases the parents of children under 2 years old are not obliged to use a specific CRS, but they must travel with the child on their lap, with a special seat belt. Children over the age of 2 must indeed use a CRS, as outlined in the article “On planes children also can (and should) use child restraint systems”. Moreover, we should make sure that the trip is as smooth as possible both for the children and for the rest of the passengers. Owing to the dry atmosphere on a plane it is important to drink frequently in order not to get dehydrated, and the same applies for babies.
Traveling by train or coach
There is a distinct lack of regulation when it comes to buses and trains. To begin with, we understand a bus to mean an intercity coach bus and not the urban transport services. In these cases, children under three years old are not mentioned in the Regulation, and therefore companies are not obliged to equip their fleets with adequate restraint systems.
We would again point out that however cautious and careful the mother or father carrying their child may be, if there is a crash or sudden sharp movements for any reason, the parent may be unable to hold on to the child in their arms which could be a risk for the child if he/she falls out of their parent’s arms.
As far as train journeys are concerned, there is no corresponding regulation, nor do they have seat belts on board meaning it is not possible to use a child restraint system, although it is possible to use travel child restraint systems if they have fastening straps which can wrap around the back of the seat.
Please find information on how to travel with older children in the following infographic: Use of child car seats on different modes of transport.