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Effective Strategies for Helping Your Child Sleep on an Airplane

March 07, 2023 5 min read

Going on a holiday is a big adventure for your little one, full of new experiences. It’s normal for children to get a little nervous or overwhelmed when going away – especially on an aeroplane.

Getting a good rest on the plane is key to making the most of your holiday, both for you and for the kids.  The trouble is that it’s tricky to pull off – which is why we’ve come up with practical strategies to help your toddler or baby sleep on a plane.

From preparing and packing for the trip to handy tricks that lull little ones to sleep when you’re high up in the sky, this guide is a must-read for all parents wanting their journey to go as smoothly as possible. Try these tips out on your next holiday, and feel free to share them with other parents!

How to Make a Toddler Airplane Bed

We’re going to give you tips on how to create a sleep-friendly environment and how to make a toddler airplane bed that will help your little one to get a good sleep during the flight.

But first things first – it’s also important to prepare your child for the flight so they know what to expect.

Preparing for the trip

Investing a little time into thinking about how to soothe your little one while they take their first few flights pays off.  The more prepared you are, the less stress you’ll need to deal with – and the more energy you’ll have to hit the ground running once you arrive!

Choosing a seat

Taking a little time to choose your seat before you book flights is well worth your while, and can help you get the most out of your flight, too.

If you’re travelling with babies, the seats in the beginning aisles (usually called bulkhead seat, in aisle 1) are often the best option. There, baby bassinets can be set up so that newborns and not-quite toddlers can peacefully slumber away during the flight. You also have plenty of room to place necessary items and baby carriers, in which they can comfortably snooze away until you land.

If the whole family is travelling together, it’s a good idea to book out the middle row, where you can raise the seat arms to create a stretch of space. There, little ones can lie down and nap just as they would in a bed, with parents on either side.

Strategies for Airplane Sleeping

It pays to learn a few sleep strategies for putting toddlers and babies to bed on and off the plane. With the help of science, we have decoded a few of the mysteries of sleep, and use them to get more out of our day.

Get rid of excess energy

When energy runs low, slumber sets in! A great way to get rid of excess energy is to give your kids plenty of stimulation, both before and during your flight, so that they can easily slip into slumberland while they’re up in the air.

If the airport you’re going to has a play area, do your best to get there a little earlier and let the little ones run around while you wait to board. Be sure to pack stimulating toys and activities for the flight itself – whether that’s colouring-in books, Lego, a favourite toy, or just a simple pen and paper that they can doodle with.

Being in the bulk-head seat is a definite advantage for this strategy, as it offers plenty of room to play. Consider calling up your flight agent and booking the spot before someone else gets in. It might cost a little extra, but it’s well worth your while.

View morning sunlights

Science tells us that the body has an internal clock, with its own special timing. The key to unlocking it is by getting morning sunlight into the eyes. Safely, of course – never look at anything that’s too bright!

With just a 10-minute dose of morning sunlight, your little one’s body clock will naturally begin to unwind later in the day, bringing on a sound sleep. For adults, that tends to happen around 16 hours from the morning viewing; but as we all know, kids need naps. It only works when you’re out in the open – not through a window. Try it out and see what happens.

How to soothe ear-popping

We’ve all experienced the painful sensation of ear-popping from high altitudes. Toddlers and babies often start crying as planes gain altitude, and have a hard time sleeping because of the pain.

A great way to soothe them is to gently rub on the ears, or apply light pressure just under the ear. If your child is old enough to chew gum, this can also help – as does yawning. As it happens, yawning is contagious – so if you start, they might just catch on and get those ears popping back to normal!

How to Help Baby Sleep on a Plane

Life is that much easier with specially designed products to help you and your family get from A to B as painlessly as possible.

Aside from providing a huge range of luggage at low prices, we also stock a huge array of travel accessories that are designed to make your journey as comfortable and stress-free as can be – and there are plenty of children’s options to choose from. Here are a few of our most popular picks – top-sellers for good reason!

Eye masks

It’s well known that light has a direct relationship to wakefulness and drowsiness. The best rest comes from pitch-black environments, which are easily created using well-designed eye masks like those in our collection. Slip them onto your bub and watch what happens.


If your toddler is a light sleeper, you’ll want to create an environment where there’s as little noise as possible. The only real way to do that in the air is with earplugs, which allow them to be sealed off from a world of noise and easily go off to sleep.

Travel pillows

travel pillow is a must-have for those times when it’s just not possible to stretch out and fully relax. Our range has plenty of options available, allowing toddlers to get comfortable and slumber soundly while they’re in the air.

Use Plane Pal to Create a Toddler Airplane Bed

After struggling to lull her children to sleep on long trips, a Gold Coast mum came up with a brilliant solution. Plane Pal is an inflatable pillow that fits perfectly between a child’s seat and the seat in front, creating extra space for toddlers to lie down and nap away the hours.

The clever invention is designed to fit a range of seats; from the window to the middle of the middle row, to the bulk-head (first aisle) position. Easy to roll up and inflate on board, this product offers true value – and Love Luggage is proud to stock it.!

Arrive at your destination well rested

No matter which part of the world you’re visiting, it’s possible to travel with kids in tow and arrive well-rested on the other side. With these strategies and handy products on your radar, you’re well-equipped to create a comfortable peaceful environment, with a toddler bed for the plane to snooze away the hours and allow you to get some shut-eye, too.

Be sure to browse our collection of travel accessories and stock up for your next trip – you won’t believe what a difference they can make until you put them to good use! For all other enquiries, get in touch with our team at Love Luggage today.