Anything that will help you keep your toddler happy on a long flight is a must-have. When your tot loves nothing more than juice, bringing some with you ensures you have a surefire way to stop an airport meltdown before it begins. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will allow you to bring juice through security, but you might find an alternative easier.
For most liquids, gels and aerosols transported in a carry-on, the TSA requires containers be smaller than 3.4 ounces and that all containers fit into a 1-quart plastic bag. However, an exception exists for liquids such as formula, breast milk, and -- lucky for you -- juice for a small child. The TSA recommends that you only bring enough juice to last you until you reach your destination, and you can expect that your juice will be screened carefully. Security agents should never ask that your child drink the juice in front of them, but they might want to inspect the juice by hand.
Going Through Security
Juice, whether packaged in pouches, boxes or reusable water bottles, needs to be packaged separately from your other carry-on items, says the TSA. Place any juice containers in a sealed clear plastic bag. (You're also allowed to freeze the juice and take it through security while frozen or partially frozen, and the TSA will also allow you to store ice packs with the juice.) When you arrive at the security screening checkpoint, take the bag out and ask an agent if you should send it through security in its own bin or have it personally inspected. Though you should get through with no problem, you could also find yourself flying on a day when security is especially high, or agents could find some issue with your juice and toss it. For this reason, don't package your tot's beverage in a pricey bottle that you'd miss if it were confiscated.
When your carry-on bags are stuffed with diapers, extra clothes, his favorite blanket and enough toys to occupy him all day, adding your toddler's juice to the mix will only add extra weight. So while you're allowed to bring juice onto a plane, consider whether you really need to. You may prefer to order him a cup during the beverage service; bring a sippy cup you don't mind tossing and ask the flight attendant to pour the juice into it to prevent spills. If juice is essential, you might also opt to buy it after you get through security. As an even lower-sugar alternative, pack a reusable water bottle and some all-natural water-flavoring packets. Fill up the bottle at a water fountain near your gate or empty purchased water into your reusable bottle and add the flavoring for a no- or low-calorie sweet drink for your toddler.
On the Plane
You've done the final airport diaper change and corralled your toddler into his plane seat. Hold off on giving him his juice bottle until takeoff begins. Sucking on a bottle or straw will help prevent the ear pain that comes with changes in altitude, says KidsHealth.org. Take his juice away after takeoff and distract him with real fruit or a new toy. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that toddlers drink a maximum of 6 ounces of juice per day, so rationing his intake means he'll have enough left to drink during the plane's landing. Since brushing a toddler's teeth in a plane bathroom is a task that's bound to end in tears, encourage him to drink water after he's finished with his juice. It will wash away some of the sugar sticking to his teeth.