Taking Baby to Canada Tips
It’s home to everything from snowy mountains to icy glaciers, but before you pull on your winter boots and start hiking through the Canadian wilderness, there are some things that you should know about traveling to the Great White North with your infant.
Taking a baby to Canada will require preparation. You’ll need to consider things like passports, jet lag, colds, clothing and dry skin. You can’t just hop on a plane and go.
If you want to cross every “t” and dot every “i” when headed to Canada with a little bundle of joy, here are just a few travel tips.
1. Check the Weather Report
Despite the stereotypes, Canada isn’t always cold. In fact, if you’re traveling in the spring or summer, you can enjoy moderate temperatures ranging from 60°F – 80°F. You’ll regret packing all of those fleece onesies when the sun is cheerfully shining in the sky!
On the other hand, if you’ll be taking your baby to Canada in the winter, you’ll definitely want to skip the swimsuits. Temperatures can dip as low as 10°F – 20°F in the big cities, and they’re even worse in remote locations with lots of bluffs and mountain passes. Subzero climates are completely common.
Packing the right clothes is essential for keeping your baby warm during a Canadian winter. Consider the following:
- Long sleeves
- Footie pajamas
- Soft hats
- Jackets and coats
This isn’t a full list, of course, but it can be a beginner’s checklist for taking your baby to Canada. Supplement it with other clothing as necessary.
2. Protect Their Skin
Babies have such delicate skin that you’ll need to be cautious of its exposure to hot and cold. A snowy vacation can leave your child’s skin just as raw, chapped and painful as a sunburn after a beach getaway.
Dehydration is the most common enemy. The wind and the lack of humidity in the air can give your baby a “scaly” feeling that means their skin is lacking moisture. You should also be on the lookout for cold-weather rashes that can result in redness, inflammation and hives.
Long story short, if you’re taking your baby to Canada in the dead of winter, make sure that you’re applying plenty of moisturizer to their skin. There are baby-safe brands without scents or chemicals to irritate them, and they’ll lock in hydration and keep your infant soft and smooth.
3. Be Prepared for Jet Lag
No one likes jet lag, but it’s the toughest on young infants. When they’re used to a routine sleep schedule, any little disruption can feel earth-shattering. Extended travel fatigue is pretty much apocalyptic.
The good news is that you can minimize the effects of jet lag when you’re taking your baby to Canada. You might not be able to completely prevent it, especially if there’s a huge difference in time zones, but you can soothe some of the crankiness of your poor little traveler.
To reduce baby jet lag, try the following tips:
- Control their exposure to light. Use blankets, shades and portable sun covers to help them maintain their sleep schedule regardless of what the sun is doing.
- Stick to their routine as much as possible. If they always have a bath before bed, make sure that you’re doing it in the hotel just like you would at home. Babies know their routine. They know what’s supposed to happen when it’s bedtime.
- Mind their meals and playtimes. For example, don’t get them excited in late afternoon when you know that you’ll be putting them to bed two hours early to adjust to a new time zone.
4. Learn How to Pack Like a Pro
To get those adorable pictures of your nine-month-old in a beanie and puffy jacket, you’ll first need to fit all of your winter gear into your luggage. This can result in big airline fees if you’re not careful!
There are a few packing tips that can help you stuff all of those thick fabrics and padded layers into your suitcase. The first is something called the “rolling” method. Used by airline hostesses, it involves rolling your clothes instead of folding them, and it can save you tons of space in small compartments.
Another option is to take advantage of your carry-on space. If your airline allows things like car seats and diaper bags at no additional charge, fit as many gloves, socks, toys, bottles and wipes into their crevices as you can. It’s okay to cheat a little when you’re taking a baby to Canada!
5. Consider Babywear
Babywear is a great way to share body heat with your little one when you’re traipsing around Canada. Instead of piling blankets into a stroller, you can just secure your child to your chest in a sling or carrier. It’ll keep them warm, and it’ll allow you to have constant eyes on them in case they start fussing or freezing.
Another benefit of babywear is that you’ll be taking your baby to Canada without a huge amount of luggage. You can leave the strollers, walkers, bassinets and car seats at home. In addition to saving money, you’ll also be less stressed with fewer belongings to transport and track.
Just make sure that your child can breathe when they’re snuggled close to your body in babywear. Keep their airways clear. You should also pay special attention to their extremities; when they’re dangling from a wrap, their hands and feet won’t get the same kind of contact as their chest and head.
6. Gather Your Documents
Did you know that babies require documentation for international travel just like adults? Before you cross the Canadian border, make sure that you have all of the necessary paperwork in hand. This will save you a lot of stress when you reach a customs checkpoint.
Here are the essentials:
- Identification. A passport is the quickest and easiest way to get your children through security, but minors don’t technically need them as long as they’re accompanying an adult. They will, however, need a certified copy of their birth certificate.
- Custody agreements. If you’re divorced and taking a baby to Canada by yourself, you might be asked to produce a custody agreement or some kind of written consent from your ex.
- NEXUS card. NEXUS is a joint arrangement between the U.S. and Canada that allows pre-screened visitors to speed up the customs process. If you meet the criteria for a NEXUS card, you can fast-forward through the hullabaloo and get your baby across the border before nap time is over.
If you have any questions or concerns about the legal side of taking your baby to Canada, don’t hesitate to reach out to the U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs or the Canada Border Services Agency.
7. Beware of Germs
It’s actually a myth that cold weather makes you sick. The wind doesn’t have any more germs in it on a December day as opposed to an August day.
The reason that you’re more susceptible to illnesses in cold weather is because your immune system can be more compromised during frigid seasons, so your body has less strength to fight off sniffles than it normally would. You’re also more exposed to viruses and contagions when you’re constantly sharing indoor spaces with other people who are avoiding the cold.
To prevent any sicknesses when you’re taking your baby to Canada, keep them warm, fed, clean and well-rested to make sure that their immune systems are always at full charge. Don’t let strangers on the plane coo over them and touch them.
Watch yourself as well, especially if you’re breastfeeding. While you can’t transmit any colds or flus to your baby through breast milk, there are certain medications that can pose a risk.
8. Bring the Right Toys
Toys are a great distraction for your baby when you’re trying to enjoy a restaurant or art gallery. Once you leave their heated rooms, however, you might find that some of your child’s favorite things aren’t adapted for the cold.
For example, plastic toys can take in a lot of chill and become uncomfortable for tiny, sensitive hands to hold. Small toys can get dropped and lost in a snowbank. White toys can get muddied very quickly when slush and dirty ice is everywhere.
When taking a baby to Canada, make sure that their toys will be appropriate for the season. Think about soft, warm things to cuddle instead of cheap plastic trinkets that will turn into icicles. Not only will this keep your child more comfortable, but it’ll also allow you to enjoy quiet vacation time when your little one is occupied.
These are just a few tips for taking your baby to Canada. It can be a wonderful destination for both parents and children, but if you want to avoid travel stresses and cold-weather setbacks, you’ll need to take some precautions in advance. Good luck! Happy travels!