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Fly with 2 kids under 2, or have grandma with heart disease fly instead? (Long haul)

Fly with 2 kids under 2, or have grandma with heart disease fly instead? (Long haul)

Old Feb 9, 18, 6:18 pm
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Fly with 2 kids under 2, or have grandma with heart disease fly instead? (Long haul)

Okay, I am honestly not sure how this works. Grandma really wants to see her great-grandkids, but she lives halfway across the world. She has congenital heart disease or something like that (not sure of the exact english translation of the condition, since she is not from the US, so I think it is congenital heart disease). She thinks she can't fly because of it, but I don't think she talked to doctors about flying. Can people with heart disease fly?
She has flown before to the US, some odd years back.
Or, the other option is for me to take my 2 kids under 2 (toddler and baby) and fly there.
The total trip consists of two 3-hour flights, and one 12 hour flight, with about 4 hours in between each flight (layovers). So it's like this: 3 hour flight, 4 hour layover, 12 hour flight, 4 hour layover, 3 hour flight. My toddler has developmental delays and isn't fully walking yet, don't know yet when he will start fully walking. He just crawls and walks with support. So I might possibly have to lug around 2 non walking kids if he doesn't walk by then. I can't even imagine how I'd do this.

So far, if I take my kids out to the mall for example, I have a double stroller, and it's a pretty large stroller (babytrend double stroller). It's thin enough to fit through doorways, but it's really long.
So, if theoretically I were to go, I'd need to take the double stroller, two car seats, and a ton of baby food and changes of clothes. I only have two hands. We're not even considering having a lap baby, both kids would have seats, and the 12 hour flight would obviously have to be scheduled for overnight, so that they sleep during it. Once my baby gets a little older, he will start crawling and being active, and I already can't keep my toddler still, he wants to crawl everywhere. No way can he sit through 12 hours during daytime. Only overnight. Plus I don't know how to transfer the stroller in between all these flights? Surely, that huge thing doesn't go on the airplane carry on, right? I mean, it's huge! It barely fits in the trunk of my sedan.

And plus the time zone change? Holy cow. How will my kids handle it? They will scream. If we only go for a couple of weeks, I'm just afraid my kids will be psychologically freaking out. Time change, then another time change going home? And what if they can't take the flight too well? I personally get nauseous a lot of the time when there's turbulence, and during landing. What if they get nauseous and start throwing up? And then they'll be psychologically traumatized. What if they will be traumatized by the turbulence and just the whole experience in general? Once my toddler experiences something negative, he remembers it very well, and he FREAKS out if he ever does it again. Such as, one time, when I was bathing him, some water got into his mouth and he inhaled it and started coughing and screaming. Ever since then, I can't keep him still in a bath, or keep him from screaming-- every bath is a nightmare with an extremely kicking and squirming toddler. What if he gets traumatized by air travel? How will I ever handle this? Am I over-reacting about all this?

I mean, if it were just a short flight, or at least just ONE flight... but nope, 3 flights, and one long one. And a time change.

Is it really that unsafe to fly with heart disease?
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Old Feb 9, 18, 9:22 pm
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Originally Posted by streammoon View Post
Okay, I am honestly not sure how this works. Grandma really wants to see her great-grandkids, but she lives halfway across the world. She has congenital heart disease or something like that (not sure of the exact english translation of the condition, since she is not from the US, so I think it is congenital heart disease). She thinks she can't fly because of it, but I don't think she talked to doctors about flying. Can people with heart disease fly?
I suspect you mean congestive heart failure, something often found in older folks. Congenital means present from birth, and while that might be the case for Grandma, its less likely if she didn't have heart disease issues until recently.

It sounds like a challenging trip, no matter who makes it. Personally I'd do with the kids before I'd ask Grandma to make the trip. This article CHFpatients.com - Heart Failure FAQ - flying with congestive heart failure is a bit dated, but goes over some of the issues. In short, it depends on Grandma's condition, treatment regimen, and energy level.

Originally Posted by streammoon View Post
Is it really that unsafe to fly with heart disease?
The only person who should answer that question is Grandma's doctor.
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Old Feb 10, 18, 6:28 pm
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If you do decide to make the trip, take a little carryon with lots of books, new toys (quiet ones) crayons, snacks, etc.

The atroller would be gate checked. Car seat backpacks are your friend.
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Old Feb 19, 18, 11:32 pm
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It would be helpful to know from where and to where you're flying. It might be possible for you to divide the trip up and stay overnight (or longer) part of the way to your destination. This might help with jet lag a bit. Kids adjust to time changes remarkably well, in my experience, though. Longer stays abroad are easier all around. So if you can stay longer than a week, it will give all of you time to adjust and enjoy yourselves. Going east is always easier than going west. With regard to motion sickness, from what I understand, babies don't have inner ears that are as developed as an adult's, so they don't tend to get motion sick as easily. I am told that the inner ear develops more once a child is walking. But really, on an international flight, the plane flies at such a high altitude that I believe turbulence are less common -- with the exception of ascent and descent. Just bring some treats and make it fun. Maybe a few small, new toys for your toddler.
The Melissa and Doug WaterWow coloring books The Melissa and Doug WaterWow coloring books
are fun for them and not messy.

The biggest challenge will be getting onboard with two kids needing to be carried and two car seats. Challenging logistics. You may need to ask a flight attendant for help with this. They are not obligated to assist you. If they did anything, it would probably be to help you get your car seats down the aisle. Be at the gate early to get your gate check tag for the stroller and to ask about preboarding (where you board after elite travelers, to give you more time to get settled).

Would your youngest be in an infant style car seat or a convertible car seat? If still in the infant seat, you might be able to do it like this: Put the toddler in an ergo-style carrier on your back. Put a small backpack on your front. Carry the infant in the infant car seat. You may have to left the baby up above the tops of the seats to get the car seat through, so start weight lifting now. If the flight attendant helped you carry the second car seat onto the plane, you're golden. If your infant is no longer in an infant car seat, consider getting two Cosco Scenera car seats. These are the lightest weight seats you can find, and they nest together, one in the other, like spoons. You can wrap a bungie cord around them to keep them secure. We have two boys, and this is how we rolled.

Maybe consider getting a smaller double stroller, or just wearing one child on you in a carrier and using a single stroller. You can hang the car seats from the stroller handlebars. Keep in mind that American Airlines does not allow double strollers to be gate-checked. Other airlines have other policies, so check their web sites.

As for the layovers, check the airports you're flying into to see what types of options they have for young children. There is often a play area where kids can get some wiggles out. It might be a great place for your toddler to move around. Some airports even have children's museums attached to them. You might also consider getting a day pass to an elite lounge. You'll need to do your research and find out what lounges are in what airports and which you could access. It may be $50 or $70, but IMO, it would be worth it. Most lounges have kids' rooms, with toys and fun stuff for young kids (research ahead to make sure the lounges in the airports you're going to have this). When flying international, they usually have food and drinks available, and there is often shower facilities available for you to use... although with two babies probably not an option.

You'll need to check your luggage. Probably best if you can limit it to one piece. Customs will be a bit of a nightmare. Best thing I can think of is to wear the toddler and to keep the infant in the infant car seat, on top of all the luggage on the luggage cart, if it's at all stable. If not, maybe your toddler can sit on top of your luggage, and you can wear your infant. Some luggage carts have a seat for children, like grocery carts. It just depends on the airport.

Also, everyone will need a passport, of course.

Another thing I can recommend...
This book was a favorite of my boys. This book was a favorite of my boys.
It might be a good way of introducing the idea of flying on an airplane to your kids. They're young, but they still may understand some of it. Mister Rogers has some episodes about flying on an airplane (you can find episodes on Amazon Video), and I think there are some Daniel Tiger episodes about flying (Amazon Video, pbskids). If you're going to China, by any chance, there's also an episode of Ni Hao Kai Lan about flying to China (Amazon Video).

Good luck!
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