Flying with a young family in GA


I have a couple of questions about flying with a young family. First off, my wife and I have two kids; they are 4 and 3 months old. We fly a Cessna Turbo 182RG. It is a great airplane and will accommodate my little family nicely for day trips or short weekend trips. My two questions are:

  1. Are there any guidelines on how old a baby should be before flying in a non-pressurized aircraft? Has anyone flown in an airplane with a 3 month old?

  2. Does anyone have any experience or preference regarding small children in the front seat? When we travel in the plane, it would be best to have my wife with the baby in the back seat and the 4 year old up front with me. Has anyone done that before or have any recommendations regarding placing a small child in the front? (besides the obvious keeping his hands to himself and not touching anything?) The W&B are all fine, just don’t know if that has been practical for anyone.

  3. Do you know of any blogs or articles written about flying with small children?

Thanks for your help in advance for any feedback or suggestions that you may have.


I am sure there are guidelines, not that I have read them. We did two trips this summer with babies that were less than a month old with no problems. We are pressurized but still got high enough to get a 6000’ cabin altitude. Keep the rate of climb/decent as low as possible and make sure the kids don’t have a cold would be the main keys.

Not me but on topic: … f=1&t=8621 … =34&t=8948

John in Saudi


Hi there,
I received this post via a coworker here at Cessna, so I wanted to give you an answer in case you still needed one.
First, this is a great link. It should answer all of your questions, plus some more information that may be helpful.

Some extra points:

  1. As far as hearing protection for babies, what I find works best is a head sweatband. If you put the sweatband around the baby’s head to where it’s across the forehead and covering the ears, it stays on and seems to reduce noise very well. No baby has ever objected that I’ve seen. If you want to be a little more careful, put cotton balls on the child’s ears and put the sweatband over them.
  2. There is no problem putting a child in the front seat. I personally would honestly encourage it. It gives them a chance to be interactive with flying and they are less likely to be sick that way. I was flying in the front seat from time to time since I was 2.

I hope this helps!


It makes one wonder what some people do with their kids. I would like to see you flying with cotton wool in your ears and sweat bands over your head at 90+db and not with the latest Bose ANR headsets and see how your hearing is after 60minutes in the plane.
My wife and I are both doctors. We fly with our children and our little baby, but with proper Zulu ANR headsets that we support to seat nicely on the baby’s head. You just have to support them initially; the babies fall asleep pretty quickly after take off and don’t remove them. Does anyone here think their baby deserves any less?
Don’t fly higher than 6000-8000ft and maintain a slow climb and descend rate; give the baby a milk bottle when change altitude if the baby cries. No need for oxygen unless your baby has a medical condition in which case you should not fly with the baby anyway


thanks for such informative information…


Thank you all for the feedback and ideas. We just completed our first family trip 2 weeks ago. We flew to Palomar, CA to attend the Miramar Airshow. My 4 year old has his own aviation headset and we used infant earplugs for the baby. We look forward to many more family trips. Maybe Disneyland around Thanksgiving.


Thank you all for the comments. Since my original post on the subject, we have taken many flights as a family. We just returned from a flight to U42 over Labor Day weekend. We had a great time. My 5 year old wears a headset about 50% of the time, mostly because he doesn’t like to wear much of anything on his head. My 16 mo old likes to wear an older David Clark that I have, even though it is too big for her she keeps it on. We have tried children earplugs for her in the past; however, this is the best option that we have come up with so far.

On both legs of the trip we encountered weather that we had to dodge (looking forward to finishing up my IFR by December). On the way up we had to climb briefly to 17,000 to get over a storm and on the way back we leveled off at 15,000. All that we had on board were cannulas. This is the first time that we had to use the O2 as a family. Next time I will make sure that I have a pair of children’s O2 masks, neither of the kids were fans of the cannulas. They did not like wearing the O2, luckily, my wife is a RN and was able to monitor them for their safety.

I hope this info helps any other family flying with young kids.