public transport with baby
Safety

Top information for using public transport with baby

Getting out and about with your baby is very important, particularly in the early days. So for those without a car, all it takes is some planning and preparation, to make using public transport with your baby an extremely convenient and inexpensive mode of transportation. Planning is particularly important – there is a lot to negotiate with as you will be leaving the house with your baby, the pram, your nappy bag, your handbag. Check bus and train timetables before you head out so you’re not in a mad rush or waiting around to long.

Public transport with baby – staying safe

Until three months, newborns need to lie flat in a pram to support and protect their backs. When they are older, you could get a light pram that’s easy to fold for ease of lifting up and down steps. Do not leave the house without the all important nappy bag with all the essentials (see page 158 for a definitive list). Baby wearing is ideal for using public transport. With your baby in a sling you can go practically everywhere. They allow you to keep your baby close, while giving you free use of both hands to carry bags or buggies onto your bus or train. Babywearing Ireland (babywearingireland.ie) recommends that parents follow the TICKS rule for safe baby wearing.

  • T – tight
  • I – in view at all times
  • C – close enough to kiss
  • K – keep chin off the chest
  • S – supported back

The most important considerations are correct leg position, sufficient back support, and stabilisation of the head.

Trains

Travelling by train with a pram can be relatively straightforward. Be aware, however, that platform heights vary and there can be a substantial step up to the train from the platform, or a gap between the train and the platform. All manned stations in Ireland have a portable ramp on hand. Check irishrail.ie for details of wheelchair access (and hence pram access) at your required stations.

If you decide to leave your child in the pram during the journey, remember to put the brakes on and keep one hand on the pram at all times. Always exit the train backwards if there is a big gap between the train and the platform. Some babies find the motion of a train soothing, however do take a favourite toy, a blanket and a storybook to help keep your baby entertained.

Buses

Many buses are designed for wheelchair access so they can be the handiest way to get around with a pram. Always check if the bus company you are travelling on provides wheelchair access. On smaller buses, you may be asked to collapse your pram to carry it on board and, unless you’ve got a spare pair of hands, that can be quite tricky while you’re holding your baby and everything else. Strangers are your friends in these situations; don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Planes

If you have a newborn, you need to check with the airline to see from how many days old they allow babies to fly. Some airlines may request a doctor’s note to say both mum and baby are fit for travel. Generally, if your child is under two years old they will sit in your lap and share your seat. Even if your baby is sitting in your lap they will still need a ticket. To help prevent your baby’s ears popping during take-off and landing, try to time it so that you can breastfeed during these periods.

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ASK JESSICA

Q. I’m would like to start an exercise programme that will benefit my emotional health as much as my physical health, but I don’t know which type of class would be best. Should I consider choosing from yoga, pilates, tai chi, or could you recommend a class, please?

A It’s great that you have decided to get into exercise. The benefits to you are going to be great. You’ll sleep better, have more energy, better skin, reduced stressed, not to mention all the amazing physical benefits of your clothes fitting better, and looking healthy, trim and toned! My advice to you would be to try them all. Even if some don’t offer pay-as-you-go sessions, if you get in touch directly with the instructor, they will almost always let you try it out first to see if it’s for you. All of the above things that you mentioned are great for mental health, so it really will be a personal preference as to which you go for. On top of the classes you mention, all forms of exercise will give you great mental rewards so consider the not so obvious interval training sessions, bootcamp, and circuits too, as you will also feel on top of the world after a class like that.

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ASK LOUISE

Q My son is 18 months old and has just started saying his first words. It is an extremely exciting time in our house and my husband and I are eager to encourage his speaking as much possible. What advice would you give us on how we can foster this without bombarding and confusing him?

AThere is nothing better than hearing your baby begin to talk. All the hard work you have put in over the last two years is coming back tenfold.
Toddlers will vary significantly with ability and speed of which they talk however a guide would be about 50 words by 2 years of age. The most important thing to watch for is that your baby/toddler is cooing and babbling and begins to string sounds together like “Mama/Dada” They should have a wide range of speech sounds and like to imitate you and things they hear.
There are many ways that you can promote Speech and Language development at home:
1. Slowing down your own speech and taking time over conversations with your little one. Every day is a new experience when you are 18 months, nappy changes, bath time, baking a cake brings endless opportunity for you to interact and offer new words for them to hear and repeat. Make eye contact, smile and use exaggerated tones to keep things interesting and fun for your tot.
2. Review the toys that you have on offer to your tot and ensure that they give plenty of open ended play opportunities. Role play is a wonderful way to allow children to take the lead. Kitchens with lots of plates, cups and pots. Fill the pots with dry pasta and allow your child to cook and serve you. Playdoh, painting, gardening and sandpits are also great for allowing your child to take the lead and babble about what they are doing. Read plenty of books together and point and allow them time to answer any questions that you ask.
3. Limit screen time. Overuse of televisions and iPads do not give your child opportunity to interact in a two way manner.
4. Ask your child lots of open ended questions “What’s that?” “Where are we?” Point at things they know the answer to for boosting confidence (Car/ Car, etc.) When they don’t know the answer, explain it to them. Limit baby talk and speak clearly with good pronunciation, remember you are the teacher and they will copy you.
If you are concerned about your child’s speech and language development, be sure to speak with your GP or developmental Health Nurse. They are very skilled at understanding the difference between speech delays and spotting something that may require professional attention.
Enjoy watching their little brains absorb the world around them and listen to what they have to say. It won’t be too long before they won’t stop talking to you, asking “Why Mummy/ Daddy?” every 5 minutes….