Tips for Traveling with Children

When traveling with children, you will see the world through their awestruck eyes. Keep in mind that you will be traveling at your children's pace, not your own. Here are some essential tips for a safe and successful trip:

  • All children require -a valid Canadian passport and supporting identification, such as a birth certificate-or citizenship card. Cheek--with the nearest embassy or    ate--off each destination country regarding additional entry conditions and documentation (if required), including divorce papers, custody court orders or a death certificate (if one parent is deceased).
  • It is strongly recommended that children traveling alone or with one parent carry a consent letter for each and every trip abroad. It is advisable to have the consent letter certified, stamped or sealed by an official who has the authority to administer an oath or solemn declaration so that the validity of the letter will not be questioned. See for a sample consent letter.
  • Seek advice from a lawyer if a custody dispute might develop while the child is abroad. Custody arrangements in Canada may not be recognized in some countries. For details, see our publication International Child Abductions: A Manual for Parents.
  • Keep some form of identification in your child's pocket in case you are separated. Carry recent photographs of the child for emergency identification purposes.
  • Some airlines will escort and supervise an unaccompanied child from check-in through arrival. Note that airlines require a parent or guardian to stay at the airport until the flight has departed. The person greeting the child at the point of arrival must have appropriate identification and authorization.
  • Infants should sit in an approved child safety seat when traveling by air. A bottle, pacifier, or breastfeeding will help make the child more comfortable and equalize air pressure.
  • Bring an adequate supply of baby products (keeping in mind new airline carry-on restrictions) as well as vital medications and a doctor's note detailing their generic names and purposes. Consult with a pediatrician on how best to protect your child's health while traveling.
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