10 Safety tips for children traveling alone

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It is a little known fact, but did you know that kids can fly alone? Not all airlines allow it, but most airlines do.

It is a little known fact, but did you know that kids can fly alone? Not all airlines allow it, but most airlines do.

According to AirSafe.com, most airlines have a minimum age for their unaccompanied child service, typically five, and a maximum age, typically 12.

Some parents might balk at the idea of sending their child to fly alone, but a lot of parents are surprisingly okay with it, especially if they trust that their children can take care of themselves.

Either way, there are important things to remember when you decide to let your children go on a plane ride alone. AirSafe.com offers ten of them:

1. Consider the child’s maturity.

Without the company of a guardian, a child will be left to his or own devices, and it’s important that that child is mature enough to handle any situation that may arise and that they be able to make sound decisions on their own.

2. Coordinate with whoever is picking up the child.

“Make sure that whoever is picking up the child knows all the relevant details of the child's trip and is able to contact either you or the airline to confirm the arrival time of the flight,” says AirSafe.com. “The person picking up the child should also have identification that exactly matches the information that you supplied the airline.”

3. Tell your child what to expect during the flight.

Walk a child through the things that the will likely encounter during the trip, such as how to find his seat and what to ask the flight attendants should they need anything. This will make the whole experience easy for them.

 4. Discuss appropriate behavior.

Because your child will be in the company of strangers, it’s better that they know how they should behave inside the cabin. They should also know when a passenger is being rude to them or acting in an inappropriate way.

5. Request appropriate seating.

“Request to have your child seated in a row without any other passengers, or with at least one empty seat between the child and the next passenger,” says AirSafe.

6. Review airline policies.

Each airline has their own rules and regulations when it comes to unaccompanied children and how they accommodate them. Make sure you review them carefully before sending your child off.

7. Take extra precautions for connecting flights.

“If the child has to change planes, make sure that the airline has an adequate process for supervising the child when traveling between gates or while in waiting area.”

8. Spend extra time at the airport.

This is for those times when an airline makes last minute changes. Be there when it happened so you can help come up with solutions and provide your child assistance.

9. Identify lead flight attendant.

If your child is in a bigger aircraft, make sure that at least one flight attendant knows that there is an unaccompanied child there.

10. Escort the child to the seat.

If it’s possible, you should personally see your child to his or her seat.

“If there is anything about the seating situations or about nearby passengers that do not meet with your approval, contact the lead flight attendant or a gate agent to help deal with the situation.”

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